Maybe you’re trying to find funds for a large purchase or need money to buy your dream, grail watch.  Regardless of the reason, selling a luxury watch from your collection – be it Rolex, Audemars Piguet, or any number of brands – can be tough.  While we can’t help you feel less attached to your timepiece, we can help you navigate the avenues available to you to let it go.

When you’re ready to part with your luxury watch, selling is not the only option.  While selling is the most common disposition, consignment and trading are other avenues to either remove the timepiece from your collection or to swap another into its place.  Let’s chat briefly about each, as well as some helpful reminders for you and your safety.

Sell Your Luxury Watch

Audemars Piguet Watch on a Wrist

The most common way to dispose of a watch for money is by selling it.  Today, there are many ways to sell your luxury watch, including selling it to:

  • A grey market dealer/shop
  • A pawn shop
  • An individual jeweler or jewelry shop
  • A private buyer in a 1:1 transaction
  • A specific person or highest bidder online

Selling to a grey market dealer and selling to a private buyer in a 1:1 transaction are likely the avenues that will put the most cash in your pocket.  For either of those ways, it will be helpful for you to know the approximate value of your timepiece so you can effectively discuss or negotiate the terms of the sale.  Make sure you research the dealer/shop or platform you are using for the sale, so you know if it’s reputable/safe as well as to know what commissions or fees to expect.  

Selling the timepiece to a pawn shop or jewelry shop may be convenient but will probably not yield the same funds that the other selling methods may.  It may be a good strategy for you if you’re in a pinch to liquidate a timepiece investment, but it’s probably not a great way to turn over inventory on a regular basis.  If you do decide to sell your luxury watch in one of these ways, make sure you know your bottom line and stick to it.  For example, if you are not okay with accepting less than $5,000, don’t agree to a sale lower than that.  It’s okay to say no – you’ll feel a whole lot worse saying yes and kicking yourself about it for years to come.

Online Sale

Selling a timepiece online is a relatively new endeavor (after all, the internet is still less than 30 years old).  You can sell your luxury watch in an online forum for watch fanatics, on a fixed-price listing in numerous places online, or in an online auction forum like eBay.  If you use the latter option, just know that you are gambling.  You could end up getting significantly less than you’re hoping for your watch, or you could strike a payday and end up getting more than you imagined.  Do your research beforehand and see what similar timepieces end up selling for.  It will mitigate your risk and reduce the unknown factor you’ll face selling this way.

Consign Your Luxury Watch

Zenith Luxury Watch

We get it – you’re busy.  With your fast-paced life, you don’t have time or energy to sell your luxury watch in one of the traditional ways.  Thankfully, there is an option for you: consignment.  For those not familiar with the term, consignment is basically the act of loaning your watch to a third party who will attempt to sell it.  The third-party will coordinate all the details of the sale and you’ll give them a cut if/when it sells.

This method makes a lot of sense if you want top-dollar for your watch but don’t have time to spend selling it for that.  Before you consign, though, make sure you know a couple of things.  First, make sure you know if the third party has enough traffic and/or connections to coordinate the sale.  If you’re dealing with someone new to the watch game, or someone who deals in a variety of products that just happen to include watches, you’ll probably be waiting a long time for the sale and it may be at a lower profit than you want.  

You’ll also want to know the rates of the sale you’ll give to the third party.  It’s common to pay a company for their help with the consignment/sale process, but just make sure you factor it into your expectations of what you’ll earn from the sale.  Finally, you’ll want to know that your watch is protected by insurance while in the care and custody of the third-party.  Check your own insurance policy to see if this is a scenario where coverage would extend.  If not, make sure the third-party has a policy to protect your timepiece.  For more on watch insurance, check out our article about it here.

Trade Your Luxury Watch

Panerai Luxury Watch

If you have not yet purchased the watch to replace the timepiece you’re selling, trading your watch for another may be an excellent option for you.  This is most common at a grey market dealer/shop but can be done at a variety of locations.  The trading process starts by having your watch evaluated to see its approximate value (a.k.a. the money the buyer/seller will give you to spend).  Once you know that, you select your next dream timepiece.  The buyer/seller will officially buy your timepiece after the selection is made and you’ll either pay the difference or collect the difference – depending on if the new watch is more expensive or less expensive than your old one.

Aside from the fact that you will not have to spend more than a couple of days without a luxury timepiece on your wrist, another benefit to trading is that you may get tax benefits.  After all, if you’re only paying a couple extra bucks over the sale proceeds then you can’t be taxed for the full cost of the new watch.  You may not walk away from the trade with much cash in your pocket, but the tax savings can be substantial. 

Stay Safe

Stay Safe

Overall, some helpful tips will apply to all of the avenues we discussed above.  One such tip – make sure your avenue for selling is safe.  Sometimes you may be able to get your money prior to handing over your timepiece, while other times the purchasing party will want to authenticate the watch before paying.  Either way, do not ship or hand over a watch until you either see the agreed-upon funds or ensure the organization is trustworthy to hold up their end of the deal.  Organizations like eBay have a hybrid approach to this tip, as they help to secure the funds from the buyer and hold them in limbo until you ship the watch.  Once the buyer gets their timepiece, verifies that it’s in the agreed-upon condition, and/or authenticates it, eBay will release the funds to you.  

If you end up selling to an individual buyer in a 1:1 transaction, know that this method can be dangerous.  Sure there are dozens of such transactions that proceed smoothly but there is no guarantee that yours will.  Follow the rules your mother used to tell you or you can just Google “ways to safely meet up to sell something” for a great starting point.  Pick a public place with plenty of traffic.  Pick a place that is safe and well-lit.  Bring along a buddy – especially if you’re friends with any bodybuilders or cops.  Maybe we’re being a bit facetious but the general sentiment is not one to be ignored.  You don’t want anything to happen to you, nor do you want the transaction to go south and you end up losing out on both the new AND the old watch.  

“Parting is such sweet sorrow” though, as Shakespeare would say.  Thus, whether you decide to sell your luxury watch or complete a consignment / trade, you’ll probably want to buy another one to fill the hole in your heart.   I recommend starting your search at one of these luxury watch specialists:

Joma Shop

The Luxury Closet


Heads-up: this page may include affiliate links. If you click and purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. That being said, I only recommend companies I have personally vetted and believe in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes:

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>