A Comprehensive Guide to Selling Your Pre-Owned Luxury Watch

by Andy Jones on Dec 19, 2023

A Comprehensive Guide to Selling Your Pre-Owned Luxury Watch

Everything you should know before selling your pre-owned watch. Discover essential tips and insights for a successful transaction.

If you're looking to downsize your watch collection, part ways with an unworn timepiece, or determine the value of an inherited piece, there are important steps to take before selling your watch. With the growing secondary market for pre-owned luxury watches, you have numerous options for selling your used watch. Discover how to sell your watch effectively and explore the expanding market for pre-owned timepieces.

Selling a secondhand watch can be both exciting and overwhelming due to the multitude of options available. To assist you in this process, we have created a comprehensive guide for selling pre-owned luxury watches. This guide will provide valuable insights and tips to ensure a smooth and successful selling experience. Explore our expert advice now!

Gather Your Watch, Papers, Packaging, And Other Accessories To Complete the Set

Pre-owned watches

Before selling your pre-owned watch, it's important to gather all the accompanying items. These include the original box, packaging, receipts, authenticity guarantee, warranty card, and service records. Selling your watch as a complete set can streamline the selling process and make it smoother. Ensure a hassle-free experience by including all these items with your watch.

Having the original documentation and packaging not only provides assurance to potential buyers about the authenticity of your product, but it can also significantly increase its selling value. Including the accompanying boxes, papers, and additional accessories like bracelet links, straps, hanging tags, cleaning clothes, pusher pins, setting styluses, etc., allows you to offer a complete set, maximizing your potential earnings. Selling your used timepiece with these items can result in a higher selling price, typically ranging from 15% to 25%. Don't miss out on the opportunity to enhance your selling potential and attract more buyers by offering the complete package.

Selling a pre-owned luxury watch without boxes and papers? No problem! While having a full set may fetch a higher price, not having them won't stop you. If you're unsure about the whereabouts of the box and papers, it's worth taking the time to search. Don't miss out on potential value! Find out how to sell your watch today.

Certain leading watch brands provide services that include issuing an "Extract from the Archives," a "Certificate of Authentication," or other relevant documentation for a small fee. It is advisable to explore this option, especially for valuable timepieces. Notable watch brands offering these services include:

  • A. Lange & Söhne
  • Audemars Piguet
  • Breguet
  • IWC
  • Jaeger-LeCoultre
  • Longines
  • Omega
  • Patek Philippe
  • Piaget
  • Ulysse Nardin
  • Vacheron Constantin
  • Zenith

Find Out Your Watch’s Model, Serial, and Other Important ID Numbers

Before selling your pre-owned watch, it's crucial to have the basic information such as the make and model. Examples of popular watch models include the Rolex Submariner, Omega Speedmaster, Patek Philippe Calatrava, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, Cartier Tank Solo, Breitling Navitimer, and more. Additionally, there are other important identification numbers that you should be aware of. Ensure that you have all the necessary details to maximize your watch selling experience.

The watch's model or reference number is crucial. If you're selling a pre-owned Rolex Submariner, it's essential to know the specific model/reference number. Over the past six decades, numerous editions have been produced, so understanding your watch's model/reference number is vital for potential buyers.

Knowing the serial number of your watch is important as it is unique to each timepiece. By cross-referencing the serial number with production/serial code charts available online, you can estimate the production date. Some brands provide official databases, while watch enthusiasts compile other databases. Discover more about watch serial numbers and their significance in determining production dates.

Where Can I Find My Watch’s Model/Reference and Serial Numbers?

To easily identify a watch, check the official paperwork for its identification numbers. If you don't have the paperwork, you can find the model and serial numbers on different locations of the watch, depending on the brand. Discovering these numbers is essential for watch enthusiasts and collectors.

Here is a comprehensive guide to locating ID numbers on popular watch brands. However, please note that while this applies to most watches made by the brand, it may not be applicable to older vintage timepieces. Find out more about finding ID numbers and ensuring authenticity of your watch.

Audemars Piguet: Audemars Piguet watches possess two distinct numbers that contribute to their uniqueness. The first number is engraved on the mainplate of the movement inside the watch. To reveal it, one must remove the caseback. On the exterior of the caseback, an alphanumeric serial number is engraved. The watch's reference number can be found on the accompanying paperwork. Explore the world of Audemars Piguet watches and discover their exceptional craftsmanship and individuality.

BreitlingThe Breitling watch model/reference number, typically starting with a letter, is engraved on the outer surface of the caseback. The caseback also features the serial number, consisting only of digits. Explore the comprehensive collection of Breitling watches to find the perfect timepiece for you.

Cartier: Cartier watch casebacks showcase a distinctive four-digit code engraved on the exterior, signifying the case style or collection. The Cartier reference/model number, often referred to as the "W" number, can be found in the accompanying documentation, while the serial number is also etched on the caseback. Discover the world of Cartier casebacks and delve into their unique codes, references, and serial numbers for a comprehensive understanding.

Chopard: Chopard casebacks feature a unique four-digit code engraved on the exterior, providing valuable information about the case style or collection. The complete Chopard reference/model number can be found on the accompanying paperwork. Additionally, the serial number is typically engraved on the outer surface of the caseback. Explore the world of Chopard casebacks to discover exceptional craftsmanship and timeless elegance.

Jaeger-LeCoultre: The caseback of a Jaeger-LeCoultre watch features several engraved numbers, including a distinct reference number (XXX.X.XX). It's important to note that this reference number is different from the JLC "Q" code reference number found on the paperwork. The serial number, on the other hand, can be located either on the exterior or interior of the caseback, depending on the year of production. Explore the fascinating world of Jaeger-LeCoultre watches and discover the significance of these numbers.

Omega: The Omega model or reference number can be found engraved on the interior of the caseback. To view it, the caseback needs to be removed. On the other hand, the serial number is typically engraved on the exterior of the caseback. Explore the Omega model or reference number inside the caseback and the serial number on the outside.

Panerai: Panerai watches feature various engravings on the caseback, including serial numbers, case styles, and production numbers. However, it's important to note that the PAM codes, which can be found on the paperwork, are not engraved on the caseback. Explore the exquisite world of Panerai timepieces and discover the unique details that make them truly exceptional.

Patek PhilippeThe Patek Philippe model and reference number, along with the case number, are engraved on the inside of the caseback. Similarly, the movement number is engraved on the movement itself. To access this information, the caseback needs to be removed. Explore the Patek Philippe model and reference numbers, along with the movement number, by removing the caseback.

Rolex: The Rolex model and reference number can be found engraved on the case, specifically between the lugs at the 12 o'clock position. To view it, you'll need to remove the bracelet. On the opposite side, between the lugs at the 6 o'clock position, you'll find the serial number. However, for Rolex watches manufactured after 2005, the serial number is engraved on the rehaut, which is the space between the dial and the crystal, also at the 6 o'clock position. Learn more about Rolex model and serial numbers on our website for detailed information and valuable insights.

TAG Heuer: The TAG Heuer watch model/reference number (typically beginning with a letter) and the serial number are engraved on the outer surface of the caseback. Discover these essential details for your TAG Heuer timepiece.

When it comes to protecting your watch from counterfeiting, it's crucial to only share the first few digits of the serial number. Counterfeiters often search for genuine serial numbers to replicate their fake watches. If disassembling the watch is necessary to view the reference and/or serial numbers, we strongly advise seeking assistance from a skilled watchmaker. Safeguard your timepiece and ensure its authenticity.

Conduct Some Detailed Research About Your Watch Including History, Market Value, and Demand

Now that you have all the essential information about your watch (brand, model, reference number), it's time to dive deeper with some online research. Depending on the popularity of your specific pre-owned watch, you can discover its intriguing history, including its manufacturing date and availability in the market. Explore if it's a sought-after model in the secondary market. Get ready to unravel the fascinating story behind your watch!

How Much is My Watch Worth?

When selling your watch, it's crucial to research its specifics to get an idea of its value. Look for similar watch models listed for sale to estimate its current market value. Keep in mind that each pre-owned luxury watch is unique in terms of condition, service history, and origin, which can significantly affect the final sale price. Explore our guide to understand how to price your watch accurately and maximize its value in the market.

When selling your watch, it's important to understand that the selling prices may not reflect the amount you'll ultimately receive. Factors like margins, fees, shipping costs, and more should be taken into consideration. While you might come across a similar used Rolex Submariner listed for $10,000, it's unlikely that you'll receive the full $10,000 when selling your own.

Understand How Condition, Repairs And/Or Aftermarket Components Can Impact Your Watch’s Sell Price

When determining the value of your watch, apart from the brand and model, its condition plays a crucial role. Is the watch in good working condition? Are there any visible damages like scratches on the crystal or dents on the case? Has the bezel or dial faded? Is the leather band torn or the metal bracelet stretched? Ensure the movement is winding and running as specified. It's important to understand these considerations before selling your pre-owned watch. Be transparent about its condition with potential buyers, as hiding flaws will only hinder your payment.

Should I Service My Watch Before Selling It?

If you're considering selling a used watch, you might be wondering if it's necessary to service it beforehand. The answer depends on the specific case. Servicing a luxury watch, especially if it's vintage or highly complex, can be quite costly. Additionally, it's difficult to determine if you'll recoup that investment when selling the watch. Some buyers of pre-owned luxury watches actually prefer that you refrain from servicing it, as they would rather handle the servicing themselves. Keep these factors in mind when deciding whether to service your used watch before selling it.

When comparing prices, consider the difference between identical models in excellent condition and those in subpar condition. Also, assess the value difference against the cost of repairs to determine if it's worth servicing the watch before selling it. Explore the price variations and make an informed decision.

A Word About Official Watch Replacement Parts and Aftermarket Components

Responsible watch owners understand the importance of regular servicing for their high-end watches. By having their timepieces serviced every few years, they can ensure that their watches remain in excellent condition. During the servicing process, a skilled watchmaker will meticulously clean and polish the watch, remove any dents or scratches, lubricate the movement, replace worn-out components, and install new gaskets to maintain water resistance. This comprehensive maintenance helps to optimize the longevity and performance of the watch.

During servicing, it is common practice for authorized service centers to replace damaged dials, reapply luminescence, and swap out bezels for new ones. However, many watch collectors prefer timepieces with all original parts to maintain their value. If your watch is from the 1970s but has newer replacement parts made decades later, this can potentially affect its market value. It is important to disclose any replacement parts to potential buyers upfront to avoid any surprises in the future.

In addition, when it comes to the secondary market, watches that have not undergone aftermarket customization tend to be more sought after. While factory gems are desirable, adding aftermarket diamonds through a third party can actually decrease the value of the watch, even if it has been enhanced with more precious materials. It's also important to note that most authorized service centers will refuse to service a watch that has been modified in any way.

Take Clear and Detailed Pictures of the Watch You Want to Sell

To sell your used watch, it's crucial to capture high-quality and comprehensive images. Potential buyers rely on detailed visuals to assess the authenticity and condition of the secondhand timepiece. Don't underestimate the importance of clear pictures in boosting buyer confidence and facilitating a successful transaction.

To provide a comprehensive overview of your watch, please include pictures of the front (dial side), back (caseback), and sides. Don't forget to capture shots of the winding crown, bracelet, and buckle. If any numbers are engraved, photograph them while ensuring the serial number is partially blurred. Additionally, if you have images of the packaging and documents, please include those as well for a complete presentation.

Ensure that the pictures of your watch are well-lit, clear, and of high resolution. It is crucial to capture enticing photographs that showcase the appeal of your watch and attract potential buyers.

Where Should I Sell My Pre-Owned Watch?

In the past, selling a used watch was a challenge with limited options and disadvantages for the seller. However, in today's thriving secondary luxury watch market, more individuals are interested in buying and selling pre-owned high-end timepieces, creating better opportunities for private sellers. While some establishments have extensive experience in dealing with used watches, others are new to this niche market and may lack the necessary knowledge.

Discover the growing market for selling and buying pre-owned luxury watches, where sellers are at an advantage. Whether you're an experienced player or a newcomer, explore this niche market with confidence.

What Is The Difference Between Selling, Consigning, Auctioning, And Trading In?

Before determining the best platform to sell your watch, consider the options of selling, consigning, auctioning, or trading in. While some companies offer a single method, others provide a variety of choices. Explore the various avenues to find the optimal solution for your needs.

When it comes to selling your watch, there are a few options to consider. Selling it outright will provide the fastest payment, although the payout is typically lower. On the other hand, consigning your watch allows a company to list it for you and take a commission only after it sells. This method often results in a higher payout, although it may take longer. Another option is auctioning your watch, but it can be risky as the final sale price is uncertain, and there's a commission to pay. Lastly, trading in your watch can yield the best price, but instead of cash, you'll receive credit towards the purchase of another timepiece. Choose the option that aligns with your preferences and priorities.

Offline Options To Sell My Pre-Owned Watch

Going to brick-and-mortar establishments were traditionally the only option people had to sell their used watches. These included places like pawn shops, vintage consignment stores, jewelers, and auction houses. These days, you can still sell your watches to companies like these but they may not give you the best deal for your watch. If you insist on dealing with a person face-to-face, we would suggest calling them up first (or contacting them via their website if they have one) to find out how much they would be willing to pay for your watch before physically going there. But a word of caution, it is not uncommon to get an inflated price over the phone only to get a much lower offer when you show up with the watch in hand.  

Another option for selling is to directly sell to a private buyer in person, offline. However, there are certain challenges associated with this method, including safety and trust. It is important to consider personal protection in case the transaction doesn't go as planned.

Online Options To Sell My Pre-Owned Watch

The primary catalyst behind the surge in the secondary market for high-end timepieces is undoubtedly the Internet. Nowadays, there is an abundance of online platforms available for selling pre-owned watches, and in this article, we will focus on the most popular and widely used ones. Sell your secondhand watch online effortlessly and efficiently! Discover the best ways to sell your used watch on the web.

Selling a watch online is often done through dedicated online retailers that specialize in buying and selling pre-owned luxury watches. These e-commerce platforms offer convenient online forms to quickly obtain a quote. Additionally, they streamline shipping and insurance processes, making the entire experience hassle-free. Find the best online marketplace for selling luxury watches and get a quote in no time! Simplify your watch selling journey with these trusted e-tailers.

There are dedicated online marketplaces for selling fine timepieces, providing an opportunity to list your watch and connect with potential buyers. These platforms are user-friendly and offer various tools such as shipping options, advertising opportunities, and buyer/seller ratings to streamline the selling process. On the other hand, there are general online marketplaces that cater to a wider audience but may not have the specific buyers you seek. Explore these options to maximize your watch-selling prospects.

Online watch forums provide a platform for buying, selling, and trading pre-owned watches. These forums are populated by watch enthusiasts who possess extensive knowledge about timepieces. Ensure you are well-informed before exploring this space to make informed decisions. Discover a wide range of watches and connect with passionate collectors in the watch community.

Decide On The Best Selling Outlet for You, Get Some Quotes, And Compare Offers

Selling your pre-owned luxury watch? You're in the final stretch! Start by researching the options we provided above. Read reviews, customer testimonials, and online ratings. Once you've narrowed it down, you can request quotes or list your watch for sale. Sit back and wait for the offers to roll in. Sell your luxury watch hassle-free!

Watch Out For Hidden Fees And Understand Return Policies

Before deciding how and where to sell your watch, it's crucial to be aware of any fees, commissions, or additional surcharges associated with the process. Additionally, don't forget to consider the responsibility for shipping and insurance costs. It's also important to check for any applicable taxes or customs fees. These factors directly impact your final take-home amount, so it's essential to understand them for fair comparisons. Find out more about the costs involved in selling your watch to make informed decisions and maximize your earnings.

It's important to understand the return policies when selling a watch. For instance, the final offer may differ from the initial quote once the watch is shipped and the potential buyer sees it in person. If you're not satisfied with the final offer, you may wonder who will cover the shipping and insurance costs for returning the watch. Similarly, if you sell the watch online and the buyer wants to return it, you may question who is responsible for the return shipping expenses. Make informed decisions about return policies when selling your watch.

The Takeaways Of Selling Your Pre-Owned Watch

Selling pre-owned luxury watches doesn't have to be complicated. By doing your homework, understanding your watch, exploring different selling options, and considering additional costs, you can make the process painless. Our comprehensive guide will help you navigate this journey successfully.

Avoid falling into the trap of the endowment effect, a phenomenon where people overvalue things simply because they own them. Remember, the true worth of your secondhand watch is determined by its market value, regardless of its sentimental value to you.

If you have any questions about our process, don't hesitate to visit our TB Jewelers store in Miami, FL. Our certified Watch professionals are here to assist you with any inquiries. Explore our wide selection of Luxury Watches and receive expert guidance from our knowledgeable staff. Plan your visit to our store today and enjoy exceptional service and quality craftsmanship. Experience luxury at its finest!