Selling a watch — or any fine jewelry, for that matter — can be intimidating.
Traditionally, there’s the process of finding a qualified appraiser and figuring out where to sell it.
And then there is the question about whether you trust the quote your local jeweler or watchmaker gave you.
Are you getting ripped off?
Fortunately, there are options today that make it easier and safer than ever, without even having to leave the house.
Bottom line: Best place to sell a watch?
There are ways to get the most money for your timepiece, quickly and safely. My No. 1 recommendation is Worthy.com, an online auction platform rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau.
Why sell your watch to Worthy
Worthy is an online marketplace, and each watch auction attracts bids from hundreds of qualified buyers all around the country — if not world. Worthy works with leading watch experts to accurately value each timepiece, takes professional, 3-D photographs using specialized computer equipment, and merchandises each watch. You control the reserve price, and are paid within a few days of the sale.
Most of Worthy’s buyers prefer brands whose watches retail for tens of thousands of dollars (and sometimes more).
Though Worthy.com is my top choice, there are other places to sell a watch to consider.
Where to sell watches
Today, you have a few choices to sell your watch:
1. Sell your watch online
Sites including Worthy, WPDiamonds, and other online marketplaces and jewelry auctions can help you get a fair price for your watch. Benefits include ease of use. Online platforms also typically have lower overhead than brick-and-mortar jewelers or other businesses, so they have the margins to offer you higher prices — and are incentivized to do since the competition online is higher than in local markets.
Other places that buy watches include:
2. Search for “watch buyers near me”
You may find reputable jewelers, watch buyers and retailers in your area via Yelp, Google or other listings. Ask around for a recommendation.
3. Scrap metal buyers
If you have a gold watch that can be melted for scrap, send it to CashforGoldUSA.com, which has an A+ with the Better Business Bureau, pays within 24 hours and pays a 10% bonus.
CashforGoldUSA buys all kinds of watches, gold and silver jewelry, coins and silverware as well as diamond rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other jewelry — and they pay within 24 hours of receiving your item.
4. Pawn shops
You may consider pawning your watch to a pawn shop near you, although it may be better to sell your jewelry online. Online gold buyers may pay more, as pawn shops typically pay 25% to 60% of the retail value of your item.
5. Consignment shops
Jewelry stores and antique shops both may purchase your estate and vintage jewelry and watches — either for a flat rate or on a consignment agreement.
Consignment shops typically accept an item for consignment and then pay the original seller a percentage of the sales price if and when the item sells. Online consignment sites including Poshmark and TheRealReal deal in fine jewelry and higher-end watches.
Expect consigning your watch to take longer than pawning and direct sales or online sales.
6. Give it away
You may want to give your watch to a family member or close friend, leave it to them in a will or your estate plan, or donate it to a charity thrift store.
Watch buyers near me and online
Top watch buyer: Worthy.com
Worthy is a leading marketplace that will do the heavy lifting of marketing your watch or fine jewelry to its network of professional buyers. Worthy.com will also have your watch authenticated by Watch Central, a partners specializing in timepieces.
Second best watch buyer: WP Diamonds
WPDiamonds specializes in diamond jewelry, as well as luxury timepieces and handbags. Their model is straight-forwar purchases, especially if you already have receipts or lab reports from your item.
Scrap gold watch buyer: CashforGoldUSA
CashforGoldUSA specializes in buying all things gold, silver, diamond, jewelry and coins. Watches that are best sold for scrap gold are a good fit.
How to sell a watch
Whether you choose to sell locally, or online, the basics of selling a luxury timepiece are similar:
- Get an appraisal, or otherwise research your timepiece to understand its value
- Research your options for selling timepieces, chose the one you feel most comfortable with
- For online watch buyers, go through their website, get a mailer and send in your item. Jewelery stores or watch buyers near you will require a visit to their showroom.
- Get paid!
How to sell a watch “near me”
Typical local places for selling watches include pawn and consignment stores, local jewelers, estate sales and auctions. To sell near you:
- Get an appraisal or otherwise do your research to understand your timepiece and what it is worth.
- Get a few quotes locally from reputable jewelers, appraisals or collectors.
- Sell your item, get paid on the spot, typically.
How to sell a watch online
By working with a reputable online watch buyer, you increase your chances of getting the highest price. Why? Because online platforms are global, and have the ability to reach a global buyers’ market — which is exactly the market for luxury watches.
How to sell a watch using Worthy.com
Once you decide you want to part with your watch, go to Worthy.com.
- Go to Worthy.com
- Research your timepiece and/or get an appraisal to understand its value.
- Get an online quote from a site like Worthy to understand if their estimate is in line with a price you feel comfortable with.
- Worthy sends you a free mailer overnight.
- Send in your watch, 100% insured up to $100,000.
- Your timepiece is authenticated by Central Watch.
- Worthy photographs, markets and sells at auction your timepiece. You set the minimum price. Get paid by Paypal within 14 days of sending in your item.
Worthy has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau.
When your watch or other jewelry sells, Worthy.com takes a fee of up to 22 percent of the sale price.
That’s something to keep in mind, but remember that anyone selling anything for you is going to take a cut.
Worthy scores points with its transparency.
If your jewelry doesn’t get sold for at least your reserve price, Worthy will return it for free, and you don’t wind up paying anything before the sale.
Which watch brands does Worthy buy?
Worthy.com chooses which brands to buy based on their buyers’ preferences.
Here’s a list of watch brands that are in demand by Worthy’s buyers:
Bell & Ross
In fact, unlike retailers who carry these brands, many of whom sell only newer watches, Worthy’s buyers actually prefer vintage or antique versions of these big names – particularly ones in excellent condition.
The rarity ups the value, which increases the amount you’ll be paid. So, that watch of your grandfather’s … ?
How much can I get for my watch on Worthy?
The amount your watch will bring depends on many factors.
You won’t be surprised by the final sale prices, since you will receive an estimate from Central Watch beforehand, and you yourself set the minimum you are willing to accept for a sale at Worthy.com.
That said, here are some things that can affect the value of your watch: Limited production numbers, brand and model, proof of Swiss craftsmanship, manufacturer-made movements, construction using precious metals, the quality of jewels and stones in the piece, the conditions of the clasp and band, and piece’s history and age.
If you’re more of a visual learner, check out this video I made detailing my own experience selling jewelry on Worthy:
Worthy points out that some watches have sold for more than $1 million.
For a quick reference, though, Worthy reports that on its site, a Rolex Submariner recently sold for $6,120, a Hublot Big Bang recently sold for $4,725 and a Breitling Motors recently went for $2,929. (Can you say cha CHING?!)
What you should know about selling your luxury watch
Similar to jewelry, watches of high quality can be valuable for decades and centuries after purchase. While there are some exceptions, the price you paid will likely be more than the price you get in resale.
Antique watches are at least 100 years old.
Vintage watches are at least 20 years old.
A watch less than 20 years is likely to be classified as simply “old.”
To determine the age of a watch, as well as an antique watch’s value, and how to determine the value of a vintage watch or pocket watch, you must open the timepiece and find a serial number on the movements. If your watch does not have a serial number, a highly trained watch expert may be able to determine make, model and year of your piece.
In fact, before you sell your timepiece, it is important to get an appraisal from a reputable jeweler or third-party like Central Watch which can offer you a certified appraisal, or authentication. Worthy has all the watches it manages sent to Central Watch for authentication.
What affects the value of your watch?
Here are some of the factors that can help determine the price you will receive for your watch:
- Brand and model (see below for a list of luxury brands buyers are most interested in)
- Limited production numbers
- Swiss Made
- Manufacturer-made movements (not replacements or repairs)
- Construction using precious metals including gold and platinum
- High-quality jewels and stones
- Age and history of the watch
- Quality of the clasp and band
What if you don’t know the brand of your watch? How can you check the quality and value of your luxury timepiece, whether your watch is gold, chrome or has a leather band?
If you have determined that yours is not a name-brand watch that is valuable as its own, you might investigate how much it costs to repair. For most vintage watches, the cost can be $200 to $500 — or more. This is likely more expensive than you would get to even sell the gold pieces in the watch — especially since today the price of gold per ounce has been near record highs.
Which luxury watch holds its value best?
According to Watch Time magazine, Rolex and Patek Philippe watches hold their value the best.
How to find the value of a luxury watch (i.e. How much is my watch worth?)
If you have a vintage or antique watch — or simply a used luxury timepiece you no longer want — gather all the information you have on it, and start with one of the online marketplaces like Chrono24.com or even eBay, to understand a ballpark price you may receive.
You can take your old watch to a local jeweler or watch repairer, who can give you an appraisal, which is a written statement of the estimated replacement value of your watch. Replacement value is not the same as the resale value, which will be much lower. An appraisal is useful to understand more about your timepiece, and for insurance purposes.
From there, if you understand that your watch is worth in the thousands of dollars, consider taking it to one of the big auction houses like Sothebys or Christie’s, which all have qualified watch experts on staff.
Also, you can send your watch to Worthy.com, the largest online, fine jewelry and watch marketplace in the world, and will send your watch to be authenticated by CentralWatch, a trusted and well-known watch repair and service provider.
Recently sold Cartier tank watch
Recently sold Patek Philippe
Recently sold Omega
Recently sold Hublot
Recently sold Chopard
Recently sold Bulgari
What you should know about selling a gold watch
If you have a gold, or gold-tone watch that is not a known brand name, you may be able to sell for the value of the metal — which is great news since gold prices have been at record highs in recent years. Learn more about selling gold, and top online gold buyers.
What you should know about selling your Apple watch
Apple and other digital watches fall into another category entirely, though you can certainly resell your Apple watch for cash. eBay, Gazelle or even locally on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplaces are good places to sell watches. Pawn shops and consignment stores are also places to sell electronic watches.
Can you sell your ex’s watch?
What if he moved out and left his watch in the dresser drawer or safety deposit box. Is it yours to sell?
The division of assets in a divorce is tricky territory best left to an attorney’s advice, but some general guidelines:
- If he or she abandoned the home and did not make claims to any property, it may be yours to keep.
- If the watch was a gift (from you or someone else), as well as an item he inherited, it would likely be deemed his alone.
- If the watch is of significant value and something you purchased together as a couple, it would likely be considered a marital asset, the value of which would be divided equally (you can of course sell it, and divide any cash proceeded).
- If you made a good-faith effort to return the watch to her, but she did not accept it, it could be considered yours.
Again, ask a lawyer.
How do I find out how much my watch is worth?
To sell your watch, start by getting an appraisal.
Is there a market for used watches?
Yes! There is a robust market for used watches and timepieces. Start selling to Worthy.com now >>
The best place to sell a luxury timepiece is Worthy.com.
The best place to sell a luxury timepiece is Worthy.com.
Gather all the information you have on it, and start with one of the online marketplaces like Chrono24.com or even eBay, to understand a ballpark price you may receive. You can take your watch to a local jeweler or watch repairer, who can give you an appraisal.