Thanks to the internet, today, you can buy just about anything with just a few mouse clicks. Online shopping has revolutionized the way consumers compare, shop and purchase things, and that goes for the watch world, too.
But, it’s an interesting progression for the watch industry, one that’s been historically built on brick and mortar stores as well as strong, lasting relationships with reputable jewelers, dealers and fellow collectors. Now, both buyers and sellers are learning how to navigate this complicated new ecosystem that often promises better prices, but can be deceitful if you don’t apply the same thorough verification practices you would as a real-life dealer.
In this article, we’re going to help you understand this new world of watch-selling online — from the best practices to take and the things to avoid or look out for when considering selling to a new online dealer. Are you ready to read about the good, the bad and the scammy? It could save you thousands of dollars.
The Pre-Watch-Selling Guidelines
Before you even start trying to figure out where you want to sell your watch, you need to have a better understanding of the watch you want to sell. This is important because if you don’t know what you’re selling, you are much more likely to get a bad deal for your watch. So in order to protect yourself and make sure that you get the most money for your watch, there are some simple steps you should first take.
1. Inspect the condition of your watch
The first thing you need to do is take your watch out of the drawer and give it a good look-over. You should assess everything the watch has going for it, from the material to the band. If it is a watch you don’t wear often, it is even more important to reacquaint yourself with the timepiece so that you better understand all of the assets and unique selling points of the watch.
You then need to consider the condition. Inspect the watch from all angles being sure to take note of all its bumps, scratches, dents and possible missing pieces. Be sure to write down everything you find and it helps to take photos. This will help you get a better understanding of how much your watch is worth, as condition is a huge part of the price. But, this is also a good measure to take if you want to dispute something with an online dealer who complains of condition issues.
2. Get your watch cleaned up
You wouldn’t show up to a job interview without a shower and a good suit, and so you shouldn’t send your watch off to a reseller in its worst condition. If you want to get the most bang for your buck, take your watch to the jeweler or carefully clean it at home yourself. Don’t get it polished, as this can sometimes decrease the value. Simply make sure there’s no dust or debris in the crevices and that it shines.
3. Look up the reference number
When you sell your watch, you need to be as educated as possible about what you own. Researching the reference number will help you learn more about the watch itself, and if it is a vintage, you will probably learn about what makes it collectable today. Having this understanding can be great leverage when trying to sell your watch online.
4. Shop for your watch
We know you’re trying to sell your watch, but in order to sell it, you need to know what people are buying it for. Because while you paid one amount for it years ago, it could be selling for more or less than the purchase price. Doing this research will also give you an idea as to whether the offer you get from an online water reseller is good or bad.
What To Avoid When Selling Your Watch Online
Selling your watch online has some great advantages, the first being that you can find, contact and get quotes from resellers from the comfort of your own home. It saves you the time of going from pushy dealer to pushy dealer, allowing you to get multiple quotes with little effort. Plus, since digital dealers tend to have less costs than brick and mortar stores, they can often offer you more money for your used luxury watch. But, this poses great advantages for sellers, this new market is also ripe with opportunity for scammers. Because of this, it’s important to avoid the following so that you don’t get taken advantage of when trying to sell your watch online.
1. Not knowing what you have
If you don’t know what you’re trying to sell well enough, you are only increasing your chances of being take advantage of. This is why the checklist, notes above, is so important before you start seriously considering your options. When you know what your watch is worth on today’s market, you’re more likely to get the most money for your timepiece.
2. Resellers without a good online presence
When you find a website that claims to be a reputable reseller, you need to look for digital clues to back that up. What is their online presence? Does this company have active social media channels where they interact with customers? Has the company been highlighted by reputable media or blogs? This kind of information is easy to find with a few queries on a search engine and can help you determine their legitimacy.
3. Dealers without recommendations
If a website doesn’t have any customer recommendations, that is a red flag. This means that they either don’t have customers or they don’t have customers who have anything good to say. But of course, every retailer is only going to post the best reviews. So we recommend checking other websites for customer reviews or complains, like the Better Business Bureau.
4. Sending your watch without a guarantee
You should never, under any circumstances, send your watch to an online dealer without some sort of contractual agreement or security. Usually a company will offer a contract or escrow account to ensure you are both covered by this transaction. Be weary of any companies who want you to ship to them without any guarantee of how you will be paid if you accept their offer after inspection.
5. Not getting multiple offers
Selling your watch is more similar to shopping for a watch than you may think. When you decide you want to sell, you should reach out to a handful of reputable dealers and see what they would offer you for the watch. The first step is usually filling out a form for the online retailer so they can learn more about the watch and condition to determine a value — they may even ask for photos. Then, you’ll usually get a quote back on what they can offer pre-inspection. Use these offers to determine who you think it is worth mailing the watch to for inspection.
6. If it seems too good to be true…
It probably is. An online reseller can often offer better prices than those in brick and mortar stores. But, the price still won’t match or beat retail — they are in the business of making money, after all. So, if you speak to an online dealer and they want to offer you a price that seems way better than anything else you can find, that should be a warning sign of a scam. What you should do instead is go with the best deal, but the one that still feels legitimate. This is why getting more than one offer is a good idea, because you can get a better understanding for your watchs’ market value.
Featured photo credit: @7ontheclock