WatchPayer currently offers the safest possible transaction for selling your luxury watch online. One of the many things that separate WatchPayer from the rest of the pack is that they send your money before you send them your watch. They are able to do this by using a 3rd party escrow service to completely alleviate any worries one may have when selling their watch online. Superior security plus exceptional customer service are what earned WatchPayer the #1 place on my list. In addition, they were able to get me a better purchase offer for my watch than any of the others I have received.
2Crown & Caliber
Crown & Caliber boasts an expert team of watchmakers, technicians, and jewelry refinishers, the site walks you step-by-step through its watch-selling process, offering you a fair price offer for your timepiece based on real sales and listings in the second-hand watch market. Fill out a quick online form describing your watch. Within 3-5 business days you will be sent a free quote. If you choose to sell, you then submit your watch via UPS using the pre-insured UPS labels that are emailed to you. Upon arrival, certified watchmakers go over every detail of your watch. If everything checks out, your payment is confirmed and sent by check or in-store credit.
Bob's Watches specializes in Rolex although they deal with various brands. Bob's Watches will evaluate wristwatches in any condition, working or not. To sell your timepiece, request a free quote by calling (800) 494-3708 for a phone appraisal or fill out the online form to receive an estimate. If you agree to the quote, ship your watch via FedEx using the pre-paid, insured shipping label is emailed to you. If everything matches up with the description you submitted after your watch is inspected and appraised by an in-house Rolex expert. you will receive a call to confirm the price, along with payment options that include payment by check or wire transfer.
Chronext is a global online platform for buying and selling luxury watches. Chronext conducts business with over 1,800 retailers, brands, and consumers on a daily basis. With their expert watchmakers and authentication process, you can rest assured that you have all the security you need to sell them your luxury timepiece and receive fair value.
WatchBox has a private service center that will service your watch to a 'like new' condition, maximizing its value. To sell your used watch via WatchBox, fill out the online form to describe your timepiece (the more info and photos you include, the more accurate the market valuation will be). If you agree to their quote, you will be sent a pre-paid shipping label including insurance, or you can arrange for face-to-face collection. Once received, your watch will undergo a thorough authenticity/condition inspection. If everything is in order, you will receive payment as agreed.
Torneau has been in the watch business for over 100 years. It is currently one of the biggest buyers of used watches in the US. In order to sell your watch to Tourneau you'll need to fill out their online form and get an estimate for them. The second step is to send them your watch so they can give you a specific purchase offer. If you choose to accept their purchase offer they will send you a check for that amount.
Chrono 24 is the leading peer to peer marketplaces for luxury watches, you can sell your pre-owned watches globally knowing that over 350,000 potential buyers/watch enthusiasts check the site daily. To sell your watch, you'll need to create an ad. To create an ad, use the online form to describe your watch in detail, attaching up to 4 pictures of the watch for sale. Then you enter your personal information and pay the ad fee (4.5% of the listing price for your watch). The company offers a money-back guarantee which ensures that if your watch does not sell within 6 months, Chrono24 will fully reimburse you the ad fee.
The Ultimate Guide to Selling Your Watch
How to Sell Your Watch in 2023
Whether you’ve had your luxury watch for years or you’ve just come across it and are hoping to turn a profit, selling a watch on the pre-owned market may seem a bit overwhelming at first. As part of a niche market, luxury watches come with their own particular details and nuances that you need to understand before you are ready to sell one.
Step 1: Access Paperwork and Packaging
Before you do anything else, you need to know what you’re working with when you are going to sell your watch. Now is the time to find every item you may have kept from the moment you began ownership. Many people keep everything in the original box and that’s perfect. Not only does the box itself add to the value of the watch but everything that may have been contained in it, including paperwork and any accessories that would complete the set, can increase the value.
1. The Box
Although it may seem silly, the value of a collectible watch is much greater when the original packaging is with it. At this point, if you have inherited your grandma’s penchant for saving everything, then it could very much be to your benefit.
Any paperwork noting the history of your luxury watch would be useful in the sales process. This might include a warranty card, service records, original brochures, receipts and a certificate of authenticity/origin. The more pieces of documentation you have, the more valuable the watch could be.
If you don’t have the original certificate or other paperwork that came with the watch, you may be able to order a certificate of authentication from the manufacturer. Some watchmakers, such as Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Omega, offer the opportunity for access to their archives for a fee (typically $100-150).
For a particularly valuable watch with missing paperwork, it may be especially wise to make use of this service. Although this paperwork does not act as a replacement for the original certificates and cannot completely vouch for authenticity, it is better to have this than nothing at all. Note that Rolex does not provide this type of service for its watches.
3. Service Record
Your watch should have a paper trail of service that allows potential owners to know what types of changes the watch has gone through. When a watch is serviced, the jeweler may have made slight changes to it, such as replacing bezels or reapplying luminescence on the dial. Any type of new replacement parts can lower the market value because collectors like watches in their original condition—even if it seems a bit less attractive to the naked eye. Your service record should have documentation of all of these factors that will impact the watch’s value. If you don’t have a copy of your service record but have always taken it to the same watch shop, contact them to see if they can give you a copy of their records.
Gather any accessories that may be pertinent to your watch. This may include any extra links for sizing, as well as pusher pins, cleaning cloths, hang tags, straps, setting styluses or anything else that may have come in the original packaging.
Of course, if you have a pre-owned watch that does not have any paperwork, accessories or the box, you can certainly still sell it on its own. It is just important to remember that a complete set will bring a higher price than the watch would on its own.
If you think you might have the box and papers somewhere but you just can’t put your hands on it, you should know that it is probably worth waiting to sell the watch until you can perform a thorough search. Having a complete set can increase the selling price of a watch by 15-25% compared to selling the watch alone.
Step 2: Collect Identification Numbers
In order to sell your pre-owned luxury watch in any official capacity, you’ll need to know the make and model as well as some other identifying numbers. The make indicates the manufacturer (i.e. Rolex or Omega), and the model indicates the type or design (i.e. Daytona or Speedmaster).
Even if you already know the general name of your watch, you’ll need more specific information that narrows down your watch’s identity. This includes the watch Reference Number, giving specific information about exactly which type of watch you have, as well as indicating what the material the watch is made of. The term “reference number” may also be referred to as the model number or the style number, depending on the manufacturer.
Unique to each particular piece, the serial number for a luxury watch identifies the exact watch you have, similar to the VIN on an automobile. This serial number might also provide insight into the general era or year when the watch was made. These dating systems can be a bit rudimentary as some brands don’t offer official charts or databases, but many watch enthusiasts have compiled information to help with this identification process specific to each manufacturer.
It is important to note that the complete serial number from your watch should never be shared until the final sale is complete. Just share a few of the first digits in order to keep your watch’s identity safe from counterfeiters.
Where to Find Identification Numbers
Of course, if you have the original paperwork from your luxury watch, then the reference number and serial number will be located on the certificate of authenticity.
If you don’t have the paperwork, then some watches include the information on the actual watch. Depending on the particular watch make and model, you might need some help from a jeweler in order to access the information. This is because the back of your watch may need to be opened up in order to find the numbers you need.
While each watch manufacturer is slightly different, following are some general guidelines on how to access the identifying numbers you need directly from your watch.
The model number for your Audemars Piguet can only be found listed on the original paperwork. Two other numbers, however, can help to indicate the watch’s authenticity. One number is engraved on the outside of the case back, while the other is found on the movement inside the watch—this means the case back will need to be removed to find it.
Typically starting with a letter, the Breitling model number is engraved on the outside of the case back, making it easy to find. The serial number should also be engraved on the case back, but includes only numerals without any letters.
Unfortunately, certain “W” Cartier reference numbers are only located on the paperwork and cannot be found on the watches themselves. However, the case back exterior should contain a 4-digit code that identifies the collection that the case belongs to. The serial number of each watch should also be found on the exterior of the case back.
For the full reference number on a Chopard, you’ll need to have the paperwork. But you should be able to find a 4-digit code on the exterior of the case back which indicates the collection. On the exterior of the case back, the serial number should also be easily locatable.
Hublot reference numbers and model names can typically be found engraved on the case back—around the outer edge if the back of the watch is see-through crystal. The serial number on a Hublot watch can be found engraved either on the back of the case, the shoulder, or the outer edge of the watch case.
This manufacturer’s numbers may be a bit confusing as several numbers may be engraved on the exterior of the case back. One six-digit reference number may be found here, but the JLC “Q” code can only be found on the paperwork. The serial number may be found either on the interior or the exterior of the case back, depending on the year the watch was manufactured.
Typically beginning with two letters and then moving into a series of digits and letters, Maurice LaCroix reference numbers may be found engraved on the case back. The serial number should also be engraved on the case back but may only contain digits.
While the serial number should be readily available for you to see on the exterior of the case back, the reference number on an Omega can only be found on the inside, which means you’ll need to have the watch opened in order to find it.
You can easily find the serial number, case style and production number on the exterior of the back of the case on a Paneri. However, one number you may need, the PAM code (similar to model number or reference number), are only found on the paperwork.
Requiring removal of the case back to find them, the reference number and case number are found on the interior of the case back. The movement number can also be found engraved directly onto the movement itself.
Unlike most luxury watches, Rolex engraves its numbers on the exterior of the watch, but it typically requires the removal of the bracelet in order to find them. The reference number can be found on the 12 o’clock side of the case in between the lugs.
On the opposite side, at the 6 o’clock position, you’ll find the serial number—if your watch was made prior to 2005. For models newer than this, the serial number should be found on in the space between the crystal and the dial (rehaut), still on the side of the 6 o’clock position. You’ll likely need to engage the help of a jeweler or watchmaker to avoid causing any damage to the watch while accessing these numbers.
Easily found, the TAG Heuer reference number and serial number can be located on the exterior of the case back. The reference number typically begins with a letter while the serial number should be only digits.
Step 3: Do Your Homework
Once you’ve gathered the pieces and information you need from the timepiece, you can make a general assessment of its value. In order to find out the fair market value of your luxury watch, you’ll need to perform a bit of research. You’ll aim to find out as much of the watch’s history as possible, as well as assessing its current condition.
Your Watch's Value
Educating yourself on what your watch might be worth is critical in allowing you to know what to expect in price. A short time spent on an internet search should bring you a general idea of recent sale listings for watches similar to yours. Of course, the rarer the watch, the less likely you’ll be able to find other listings like it.
While looking at the sales of similar watches online will give you a ballpark figure, you should be aware that this will not be the amount you can expect to gain from your watch. These list prices typically include shipping costs, consignment commissions, service fees or other margins that will cut into the final amount received by the seller.
Even when comparing watches of exact makes and models, no two pre-owned watches are exactly the same. Certain factors should be considered when comparing other luxury watch listings with your own:
- Condition: Scratches on the metal or crystal, cracks and other visible damage will impact the value of your watch. Is the leather on the band in good shape? Has the bracelet been stretched out? The physical condition of the watch significantly impacts its value.
- Functionality: In addition, the working condition of the watch will play a critical part. Does it keep time well? Does the watch need a new battery? Has it been serviced properly, by a certified jeweler or watch shop?
- Aftermarket Components: Anything that has been changed from the exact pieces of your original watch can potentially affect its value by detracting from its original condition.
Understanding Aftermarket Components
The closer a watch is to its original condition, the more desirable it is on the pre-owned market. So, although it might seem like a good idea to add an aftermarket diamond or customized engraving, this will likely reduce the value of your watch. Plus, once a watch has been modified, service centers authorized by the company are not likely to accept it because they can no longer vouch for its condition. Keep this in mind as you seek to determine the value of your particular watch.
Step 4: Prepare Your Watch for Sale
Once you have a good idea of its value, you’ll have just a few more tasks until you are ready to place your luxury watch for sale.
1. Decide Whether to Service Before Selling
Some people are adamant that a watch should be serviced prior to selling it, while others would rather allow the new owner to service it as they prefer. Really, this is a decision that should be made based on the particulars of the watch you are trying to sell. Because servicing a watch can be very costly, you may find that it cuts significantly into your profits—so it’s not a rule of thumb that you should always service your watch prior to selling it.
However, if the watch is not working properly, then you’ll want to get it into working order prior to the sale. Be sure to have any work done only at an authorized service center and request that the center uses only official parts for replacement.
2. Take Photos
Use a high-resolution digital camera with a zoom lens to take quality photos of your watch. You’ll want to offer photos that provide clear details of the watch from various angles. This not only allows the potential buyer to see any scratches or cracks, but also provide assurance of authenticity.
Your list of photos should include:
- Dial (front side)
- Case back
- Watch Sides
- Winding Crown
- Bracelet or Band
- Any engraved numbers (with blurred serial number)
- Documents (also with blurred serial number)
Step 5: Choose a Selling Method and Vendor
Now that you’ve gotten this far, it’s time to decide who you want to sell your watch. As the secondary luxury watch market has grown recently, your options are much greater than they were even just a few years ago.
Ideally, choose a vendor who has experience with the brand and type of watch you are selling. For instance, Rolex is a commonly known watch that most luxury dealers have experience with. However, Patek Philippe is a rare, niche brand that might require you to be more particular about which vendor you choose.
In addition, you’ll need to decide if you want to sell your watch outright, put it up for consignment, list it for auction or trade it in. Here’s a rundown on these options:
1. Sell Your Watch In-Person
Although probably the fastest way to get a turnaround on your money, the potential profit is likely the lowest when you simply sell your watch outright. To do this locally, you would take your watch into a local jewelry or watch store, pawn shop or another dealer. Brick-and-mortar shops used to be the only option for selling outright but, with the advent of the internet, these transactions are becoming less common.
2. Sell Your Watch Online
The internet has significantly increased business in the pre-owned watch market because it has provided access to buyers and sellers literally all over the world. Internet vendors may function in a variety of ways. One common form is an online retailer who will provide you with a quote to buy your watch outright and then re-sell it. This can offer you a quick sale but you’re not likely to get top dollar.
Another common way to sell your watch online is through a listing company that matches up buyers with sellers. These might be specific to the niche luxury watch market but may also cater to broader audiences. Selling tools may include seller ratings, advertising or various shipping options, and the marketplace may charge you a flat listing fee as well as a percentage of the final price. While niche websites for luxury watches may charge higher fees, they also have more potential to connect you with your target audience and are a safer place to be sure that watches are authenticated.
3. Consign Your Watch
When you sell a watch through consignment, you are essentially hiring a middle man to broker the deal for you. This can happen either in person or online. Typically, no money exchanges hands until the watch has been sold. Then, the seller receives the bulk of the selling price and the broker keeps a percentage. While this can often provide you with a bigger profit, it requires patience while you wait for the watch to sell before you can receive your money.
4. Auction Your Watch
If you’ve got a distinct or rare watch, then an auction house that is particularly familiar with luxury watches may be a way to draw in customers in this niche market. However, auctions do not provide any guarantee on what the final price might be, so there is some amount of risk involved. Plus, you’ll be responsible to pay a commission to the auction house.
5. Trade Your Watch
If you’re not looking to liquidate your assets but you just want a different watch, then a trade will often bring a high dollar amount that you can then apply toward the purchase of a new luxury watch.
As you decide on which option to choose for selling your luxury watch, you’ll want to make some comparisons of quotes, fees, return policies and other details as they pertain to each vendor option. Read customer ratings and reviews (both online or brick-and-mortar shops should have some sort of internet presence and reviews) to determine the quality and customer satisfaction for each vendor. Narrow down your choices, settle on a vendor, and you’re ready to go!
Selling your luxury watch is no small feat, but it doesn’t have to be stressful either. Your best route toward getting a fair price and making the selling experience effective is to do plenty of research ahead of time. Once you get to know the ins-and-outs of your particular watch, as well as understanding your options within the marketplace, you’ll be well-prepared to sell your luxury watch. As long as you are astute, patient, honest, and willing to ask a number of questions, you’ll be ready to sell your watch on the pre-owned market for the best possible price.