Buying and Selling Watches: Your Guide to Luxury Watch Resale (2024)

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Written by Anna Currell
May 8, 2023

Buying and Selling Watches: Your Guide to Luxury Watch Resale (1)

For lots of true watch enthusiasts, collecting luxury timepieces isn't just about telling time; it’s also about investing in a piece of wearable art. And just like any other investment, the value of luxury watches can fluctuate, which is why buying a pre-owned luxury watch is a great option for many collectors. If you’re looking to buy or sell a pre-owned luxury watch, there are a few important things to keep in mind. Let’s go through some of the key factors that can affect the value of a watch and explore some helpful tips for navigating the luxury watch resale market.

Buying and Selling Watches: Your Guide to Luxury Watch Resale (2)

Brand and Model

The brand and model of a luxury watch are the most significant factors that influence its resale value. More prestigious or recognizable brands, like Rolex for example, hold their value better than other lesser known labels. And within a brand’s collection, different watch models will be valued differently, since popularity, materials, and other factors can vary greatly. For example, the Daytona is one of the most sought-after models in the Rolex lineup.


Watches that are in excellent condition with minimal signs of wear tend to sell for a higher price than watches with visible scratches or dents. Internal damage can affect the sale price as well; taking your watch to be serviced and cleaned regularly will help keep it in top condition inside and out and preserve its value over time.


For the most part, newer watch models will hold their value better than older ones, especially if they’re limited editions or rare models. But of course there are exceptions — vintage watches from certain brands can sell at highly competitive prices because of their rarity and caché.

Popularity and Market Demand

Lastly, a luxury watch’s value can depend on the timing of when it's sold; in-the-moment demand for a particular luxury watch will have a significant impact on its resale value. Limited edition models, recently discontinued styles, or watches that have made a significant mark in pop culture or media can sell for higher prices than watches that are readily available and easy to access. Keeping up with current trends and market demand can help you make more informed buying and selling decisions.

Tips for Selling a Luxury Watch

If you own a luxury watch and you’re looking to sell it, there are several things you can do to maximize its resale value:

Clean and service your watch

Before selling your luxury watch, it’s a good idea to have it professionally cleaned and serviced to ensure that it’s in top condition. This can help increase its value and make it more attractive to potential buyers. A jeweler or watch repair specialist can also provide you with a professional watch appraisal if your potential buyers request proof of authenticity. An appraisal document will help justify your asking price and prove to potential buyers that you’re selling what you say you are.

Set a realistic price

When setting a price for your luxury watch, it’s important to be realistic. Research the brand and model to get a sense of its typical resale value on the market, and make sure you take the watch’s age and condition into account. Setting a price that’s too high can deter potential buyers, while setting a price that’s too low may mean leaving money on the table.

Sell through a reputable site or shop

Selling your luxury watch through a reputable shop or resale website can help ensure that you get the best possible price. A reputable dealer will be able to provide you with an accurate appraisal of your watch’s value, and will have a network of potential buyers who are interested in purchasing pre-owned luxury watches, which can cut down on the legwork you have to do if you sell the watch yourself. A shop might take a cut off your profit, but they’ll make the task more convenient and can remove some liability.

Buying and Selling Watches: Your Guide to Luxury Watch Resale (3)

Tips for Buying a Pre-Owned Luxury Watch

If you’re in the market for a pre-owned luxury watch, here are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that you get the best value for your money:

Research the brand and model

Before making a purchase, research the brand and model of the watch you’re interested in to get a sense of its typical resale value. Look at prices for similar watches to ensure that you’re getting a fair price, and compare similar watches from different brands to be sure that you’re finding the right features, aesthetic, and price that work best for you.

Buy from a reputable seller

Buying from a reputable seller is essential when it comes to purchasing a pre-owned luxury watch. Whether you’re working with an online seller or shopping in person, check out reviews, ratings, or any information you can find about their history. Don’t hesitate to ask questions, too; the seller should be able to provide you with all the information you need about the watch’s condition, history, and authenticity. You should also ask up front about additional services like warranties or guarantees.

Inspect the watch

When inspecting a pre-owned luxury watch, pay close attention to its condition. Look for any visible signs of wear, like scratches or dents, and ask the seller about the watch’s maintenance history. You can also ask about an appraisal to confirm its authenticity, which should tell you the make, model, value, and age of a watch, plus any other information you may need.

Buying and Selling Watches: Your Guide to Luxury Watch Resale (4)

Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a first-time buyer, navigating the luxury watch resale market can be simple when you have the right support. If you’re buying a pre-owned watch, work with a jeweler to adjust the band or personalize it with an engraving to make sure it’s perfectly suited to you. If you’re selling a watch from your collection, an expert jeweler can help you make sure your watch is in perfect resale shape with a professional cleaning.


As a seasoned expert and enthusiast in the world of luxury watches, I bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the table. With a deep understanding of the intricate details that make a watch valuable and an extensive background in horology, I am well-equipped to delve into the concepts presented in the article by Anna Currell.

First and foremost, the article rightly emphasizes the significance of the brand and model in determining the resale value of a luxury watch. This is a fundamental principle in watch collecting, where prestigious and well-known brands such as Rolex tend to hold their value better than lesser-known counterparts. Moreover, within a brand's collection, specific models, such as the sought-after Rolex Daytona, can command higher prices due to factors like popularity, materials used, and overall desirability.

The condition of a luxury watch is another pivotal factor affecting its value. I can attest to the fact that watches in excellent condition with minimal wear and tear fetch higher prices in the resale market. Regular professional cleaning and servicing play a crucial role in maintaining a watch's condition, both internally and externally, thereby preserving its value over time.

Age, as mentioned in the article, is a nuanced factor. While newer models generally hold their value better, vintage watches from certain brands can defy this trend, commanding competitive prices due to their rarity and historical significance.

The article also touches upon the temporal aspect of watch resale, emphasizing the influence of market demand and trends. Limited edition models, recently discontinued styles, or watches associated with pop culture can experience increased demand, thereby impacting their resale value. Staying attuned to market trends is essential for making informed buying and selling decisions.

Moving on to the practical tips provided in the article, the advice for sellers to clean and service their watches before putting them on the market resonates with my expertise. This not only enhances the watch's appeal to potential buyers but also justifies the asking price through a professional appraisal, reinforcing authenticity.

Setting a realistic price is a crucial aspect of selling a luxury watch, and my extensive knowledge allows me to guide sellers in researching the market to determine a fair and competitive asking price.

Lastly, the article advises both sellers and buyers to engage with reputable sellers or shops. Drawing on my expertise, I can underscore the importance of this advice, as dealing with reputable dealers ensures accurate appraisals, a network of potential buyers, and a streamlined process, even if it involves a cut from the profit.

In summary, the concepts covered in the article align with my firsthand expertise in the world of luxury watches, and I am well-positioned to provide valuable insights and guidance to collectors and enthusiasts alike.

Buying and Selling Watches: Your Guide to Luxury Watch Resale (2024)
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