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
- How to sell a watch
- What you should know about selling watches
- Most expensive watch brands = potentially worth more
- Can you sell your ex's watch?
- Bottom line: Best place to sell watches
Where to sell watches
Today, you have a few choices to sell your watch:
- Get an appraisal from a jeweler or rare watch buyer
- Sell to that jeweler or watch buyer
- Sell via eBay
- Sell to an online watch and jewelry buyer
What is the best way to sell a watch?
The best way to sell a watch is to or through a company that understands timepieces, their worth and the marketplace. A jeweler near you may be a trusted place to start, but consider an online watch buyer or jewelry marketplace, which offers many more options, and potentially a higher price. Plus, during Covid, when many local jewelers and watch dealers are closed, and social distancing is recommended, online jewelry and watch buyers will send a FedEx or USPS mailer to your home, to increase safety.
Where to sell a watch online
There are a lot of options to sell your watch and jewelry online, but Worthy.com stands out as a best place to sell a watch online.
How to sell a watch
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
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.
In fact, if you have diamond rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings and the like, Worthy can be a great option to turn unused jewelry into quick cash — while also feeling confident that you are getting the best price on the market.
Once you decide you want to part with a piece of jewelry, 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.
Does Worthy buy Rolex watches?
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?!)
How to sell a gold watch using CashforGoldUSA.com
If you have a gold watch that no longer world, check out CashforGoldUSA. This site has been around for 30 years, and was found by a Fox News investigation to pay out three-times its competitors for scrap gold and silver, as well as diamonds — making it one of the best places to sell gold watches, especially those that are not a name-brand.
You can see how CashforGoldUSA works:
My No. 1 recommended best place to sell your gold is CashforGoldUSA — a legitimate online gold buyer. CashforGoldUSA.com benefits:
- Fox Business News investigation found they pay 3X competitors
- Pay within 24 hours
- Insured up to $100,000 by Lloyds of London
- Guaranteed highest price for your gold jewelry, coins, diamonds and dental scrap
- Paid out more than $52 million to sellers since being founded in 2004
- Get a USPS or FedEx mailer sent to and picked up from your door
CashforGoldUSA also pays a 10% bonus above estimate for items shipped within 7 days.
Now is an excellet time to sell your gold watch, as gold prices are at a 7-year high. As of , the gold price in the USA was at a near-record price of $ per ounce, or $ per gram.
Get a free quote for your gold using CashforGoldUSA's online gold calculator>>
What you should know about selling watches
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.
Most expensive watch brands = potentially worth more
Obviously, name-brand, luxury timepieces will sell for higher market prices, as long as there is a demand.
Keep reading to learn more about the value of these watches:
- Panerai watch
- TAG Heuer watch
- Mont Blanc watch
- Hublot watch
- Chanel watch
- Cartier watch
- Hermes watch
- Omega watch
- Patek Philippe watch
- David Yurman watch
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 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.
How can I sell my luxury watch?
Once you receive an appraisal of your watch, you can choose to sell the timepiece via the auction house, jeweler or online marketplace that gave you the appraisal — though you are under no obligation to do so. Worthy is always a quality option for selling your luxury watch.
Recently sold Rolexes
Here are some examples of recent Rolex watch sales at Worthy:
Rolex 118238 Day Date K264407 sold at auction $10,175.
Rolex 1680 Submariner 5405484 sold at auction for $5,087.
Rolex Yatch-Master 16622 K722068 sold at auction for $4,185.
Rolex GMT Master 16710 K389230 sold at auction for $4,536.
Rolex Daytona 116520 439JX559 sold at auction for $7,965.
Recently sold Cartier tank watch
Recently sold Patek Philippe
Recently sold Omega
Recently sold Hublot
Recently sold Chopard
Recently sold Bulgari
One of the most important factors in your journey of selling your watch is to determine whether it is real or fake.
How to tell if a Rolex is real or fake
By far, Rolexes are the most popular luxury watch, and they also tend to hold their value very well. While the company makes about 700,00 new Rolex watches every year, there are also many phony ones. Here is how you can tell whether your Rolex is real, vs fake:
- A real Rolex will be silent, and does not make a ‘ticking' sound.
- The second hand on real Rolex will move smoothly, while a fake will stutter.
- A real Rolex is made of real metals, and weighs significantly more than a phony.
- Fake Rolexes have winders on their sides that are basic, while the real deal has finely and artistically engraved winders.
- An authentic Rolex has a special “cyclops lens” over the date, which magnifies that number. Fake Rolexes do not have this feature, typically.
How to find the value of a Rolex watch: How much is my Rolex worth?
If you have a Rolex to sell, you may find you made an excellent investment, as these watches hold their value more than other timepieces, studies find.
To find the resale value of your Rolex, the best way is to get an authentication by a certified watch expert. This professional can remove the back of your Rolex, inspect the serial numbers to determine the age and model, and examine the movements to establish the watch's repair history. This professional will also help you understand how much your Rolex is worth with and without papers — whether you have a Rolex watch for men, or a Rolex watch for women.
Where can I sell my Rolex near me?
Chances are, your local jeweler is not a watch expert, and not the best person to help price your vintage or antique Rolex's value — much less sell for the highest price. Luxury watches, including Rolexes, are highly specialized items that can only be accurately appraised by experts like those at Worthy.com.
Can you sell your ex's watch?
What if he moved out and left his Rolex 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.
Bottom line: Best place to sell watches
Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist and author. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, MONEY, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker,” her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. A popular speaker, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality. Emma's Top Single Mom Resources.