Quick take: 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.
But that same watch — or another one, that doesn’t make you feel so hot — is sitting in a drawer, jewelry box, or safety deposit box, is another story.
In that case, you know what’s even more empowering than showing off an amazing timepiece?
Money to use for whatever you want.
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.
Where to sell watches
Today, you have a few choices to sell your watch:
- Sell to that jeweler or watch buyer
- Sell via eBay
- Sell to an online watch and jewelry buyer like Worthy.com
How to sell a watch
To sell your watch:
- Get an appraisal
- Research your options for selling timepieces
- Get your cash
Typical places for selling watches include pawn and consignment stores, local jewelers, and online buyers.
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.
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.
How to sell a watch using Worthy.com
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).
Worthy.com is an online jewelry auction platform that is laser-focused on high-end jewelry and watches — making it one of the best places to sell watches.
Once you decide you want to part with your watch, go to Worthy.com.
- Go to Worthy.com
- Enter your name and email, along with basic information about your watch or jewelry, including uploading pics of your timepiece.
- Receive an estimated market value for your piece right then and there. This process takes about 2 minutes.
- A very nice customer service representative calls to answer all your questions and tells you what will happen next.
- Ship your item. If that estimate suits you, Worthy will send a FedEx delivery person to your house the next business day (or sometimes the same day!), in which you send the jewelry, diamond or watch to them — Worthy pays for all shipping and insures the item for up to $1,000,000 (yes, really!).
- Worthy pays for a third-party report. Worthy partners with Central Watch for these evaluations. Central Watch has been in business in New York for more than 60 years, and has both an excellent reputation in the industry, as well as an A+ Better Business Bureau rating. The experts there take a close look at your timepiece and provide an in-depth report. Worthy will then contact you with a copy of this report, and its appraisal price. If this sounds good to you, then ….
- Agree on a “reserve price,” or the lowest price you are willing to accept.
- Your watch is auctioned. Worthy will then take professional photographs of the watch, and create an attractive online profile for your timepiece. Then, the auction begins! Worthy ensures that your watch will be seen by at least 100 potential buyers worldwide, who can then bid on your item.
- Receive an offer within 7 days of Worthy receiving your item.
- Get paid. After you confirm the sale, you’ll receive payment within 24 hours, including through PayPal or your bank account. Cha-ching!
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 CentralWatch which can offer you a certified appraisal, or 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 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 watchin 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.
Bottom line: Best place to sell watches
The best place to sell a luxury timepiece is Worthy.com.
If you have a gold watch that can be melted for scrap, send it to CashforGoldUSA.com.