5 Tips for Selling Your Watch

Whether you’re new to watch collecting or a seasoned watch collector, you will get to a point where you want to curate or downsize your collection. This usually means selling one of your timepieces in order to keep just the ones that you truly like, or make way for a new watch.
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Selling your watch can be a daunting task, especially if it’s the first time you’re doing it. Here are 5 helpful tips to get you started on the right path.
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Breitling Navitimer
pictured: Breitling Navitimer World GMT Steel Blue Dial Watch
1. Research for a reputable dealer to sell your watch to.
There are several platforms you can use to sell your watch: auctions, online marketplaces like eBay and Craigslist, and posting on online watch forums. Out of all your options, however, the best one is to choose a reputable pre-owned watch dealer.
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Here’s why:

  • Auctions are best for watches that are considered holy grail or particularly unique. It would not make sense to auction off a widely available watch because there will be no competition.
  • eBay may seem like an easier way to sell your watch, but they pose many disadvantages. First is that many buyers will refuse to buy on these platforms, unless you have built a solid reputation on them. Second is that there are fees and commissions that can cut into your profits.
  • Forums and online marketplaces like Craigslist pose security risks, as most of the transactions here are done in cash, and you would often have to meet the seller in person.
  • Local Jewelers are often the worst place to go, as their focus is jewelry, and watches are only ancillary products to them. They will not have the experience to know the market value of your watch and therefore not give you the best possible price.

Meanwhile, a reputable pre-owned watch dealer would have:

  • An experienced team of master watchmakers who are constantly analyzing the market to accurately price your watch.
  • Built a solid reputation and loyal customer base, which you can verify through reviews and testimonials.
  • secure and efficient platform for buying and selling watches. This means that apart from their website, they also have a brick and mortar location, and have been around for many years.

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Tudor Heritage Chrono
pictured: Tudor Heritage Chrono Blue Stainless Steel Mens Watch
2. Gather the necessary documents and information.
The more information and documentation you have for your watch, the easier it will be to sell it, and the more likely you’ll be able to get the best price for it. Moreover, a seller who is knowledgeable at the point of sale will not be able to be taken advantage of.
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Below are the information and documents you need about your watch:
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  • Box and documentation – these are indications of the authenticity of your watch; and while it’s possible to sell your watch without these, they have a substantial impact on the final price of your watch.
  • Service or warranty papers, sales receipts – these are additional proof of authenticity and they also serve as a record of repairs, cleaning, and parts replacements that were done to the watch.
  • Original parts – while you may have chosen not to use these, having all-original parts of the watch is important to many buyers.
  • Model name, model number, and serial number – you can find all items on your original paperwork, warranty card or watch appraisal. For Rolex watches, you can find these on the watch as well: the model name on the dial, the model number between the case lugs at 12 o’clock, and the serial number between the lugs at 6 o’clock.
  • Condition of the watch – are there dents, scratches, or scuffs on the watch? Does the bracelet have stretch?
For a more comprehensive checklist per brand, here’s SwissWatchExpo’s Seller’s Guide.
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Patek Philippe Calatrava
pictured: Patek Philippe Calatrava White Gold
3.  Get a quote.
A reliable pre-owned watch dealer will have a form you can fill out to submit information and photos of your watch. They will use the details you provided to give you a quote, often for free.
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This initial quote is usually a range: the minimum and maximum they will pay, which will still depend on their inspection of your watch.
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4. Send your watch for inspection – but choose a dealer who will cover shipping and insurance.
It’s great if you can bring your watch to the dealer’s showroom. But if that’s not possible, it’s important for your watch to remain safe while in transit. A reliable watch dealer will cover the cost of shipping and insurance, both when you send them the watch for inspection and when sending back the watch (should you decide not to accept their offer).
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5. Find out how you will get paid, if you accept their offer.
This may be very obvious, but it’s crucial to know how exactly you’ll receive money for your watch. Most dealers will send you an overnight check so you can get your payment within 24 hours.
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Finally, do confirm that you are indeed selling your watch to them and not getting into a consignment deal.

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