Highly collectible and stylish, mechanical watches are fine pieces of engineering, often made in small or limited editions. And buying one can be a good investment. Keep in mind, though, that the price of pre-owned watches fluctuates with fashion, trends, and market demand. If you’re interested in how to sell pre-owned watches, you should know that the resell price is almost always lower than the current retail price for a new watch.
Brand & Model
The finest luxury watches hold greater value than watches from non-luxury brands. The pre-owned watch market is dominated by Rolex and other fine brands such as Patek Philippe, Cartier, and Panerai. It’s the prestige as well as the high level of quality and workmanship that add value to a high-end timepiece.
Certain models are in more demand than others, regardless of the original retail price. And it’s sometimes the case that the more complications a pre-owned watch has, the better. A complication is any function that a watch has in addition to telling the time, such as date, moon phase, or 2nd time zone.
Age and materials used affect the price, as well. It doesn’t necessarily hold that the older your watch, the higher the value. Regular maintenance of any watch will help to preserve resale value as much as possible.
High-quality materials can add significantly to the value of a watch. Most fine Swiss and German watches are made of stainless steel, gold, platinum, titanium, or a combination of those metals.
Box & Papers
A high-end watch bought new always comes with a box and papers that confirm its authenticity. Anyone who collects watches should not throw the original packaging away because buyers appreciate having the original box and papers, although plenty of pre-owned watches are purchased without them.
If a watch is a true antique (over 100 years old), then the original papers and box in good condition could add significantly more value to the watch. In modern watches, the added value is much less but still there.
These numbers are one of the first things that an expert looks at when determining the price. Every timepiece has a unique serial number and it can reveal the age of the timepiece. There is also a reference or model number which applies to all watches of that specific model, while the serial number is exclusive to your watch only.
If you have the accompanying documentation of your watch, finding the numbers will be easy. If, however, you no longer have it, a professional can look for the serial number on the watch. Serial numbers can often be found on the side of the watch case underneath where the bracelet/strap attaches.
Not every watch is worn daily, and some owners are more careful than others. Nevertheless, a watch that is worn will get some tiny and maybe even a few deep scratches over time. The condition and working order of a watch can be a factor in resale value for the end user. Every buyer would like a luxurious timepiece that looks and works as new.
However, it is not necessary to restore a pre-owned watch in order to sell it to Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers. In fact, you may not recoup the money that you paid for the service, so it’s best to just sell your watch as-is. Our expert watchmaker will restore the watch before we offer it to a new owner. However, if you are not quite ready to sell, and want to restore your watch to its original condition, it’s imperative to take it to a professional watchmaker. This ensures that any worn parts will be replaced with genuine parts appropriate for the brand.
Beware that polishing a watch in the wrong way can devalue it. Only let a professional restoration and repair service restore the original factory finish on your watch. Otherwise, your watch might return from a restoration with a worse finish than when it started.
A regular service and proper maintenance record is important proof that you have taken good care of your timepiece. This particularly matters if you’re looking to sell an older watch. If you’ve had it serviced by a trusted watchmaker every 3-5 years and have proper documentation to back this up, you may get a higher price.
There is always a market for those who want to sell and buy pre-owned watches. There are collectors who just love the nostalgia of a vintage watch and its history, and collectible watches are highly appreciated among them. Therefore, if you’re selling a watch that is a rare or limited edition, you can expect to get a much higher price. However, the top brands will always be valued even if not particularly rare. Pre-owned watches from brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Cartier, and Omega are consistently popular and have remained desirable for years.
Safety and Security
You may have had the notion to try and sell your watch on your own. There are some serious issues to consider before embarking on that journey. Trying to sell in an online marketplace leaves you competing with thousands of other sellers and paying sales fees out of your profit. But selling locally is fraught with danger.
Let’s face it, there are a lot of criminals out there today, just waiting to pounce on an unsuspecting citizen who has an item of value for sale. There are horror stories of people responding to “for sale” ads turning out to be less than honest. A seller can face fake cashier’s checks, counterfeit money, and in worst case scenarios, actual robbery. Even meeting someone in a bank is no guarantee of your safety after you leave the bank. The only truly safe way to sell your valuable watch is to bring it to a reputable jewelry and watch store and let them sell it for you.
If you’re considering selling your pre-owned watch, bring it to one of our jewelry and watch buying locations, including our flagship buying office on San Diego Avenue. At Leo Hamel Jewelry & Gold Buyers, we’ve been buying and selling pre-owned watches for over 44 years and are able to offer you top dollar for your treasured timepiece. Our Swiss factory trained watchmaker and polite and experienced buying experts have the skills and knowledge to accurately price your watch. You can even trade in your watch for a new purchase.
We know that selling your valuables can be an emotional experience and we ensure that all our buying offices are safe, secure, and private. Find your nearest Leo Hamel Jewelry & Gold Buyers and visit us today! No appointment is necessary.