April 18, 2023

A luxury watch is a timeless gift. They’re given at retirement celebrations, they’re passed down as family heirlooms, and they can be a great “gift for yourself” when you want to elevate your style with something durable and fashionable.

As much as you may love a pocket or wrist watch given to you or purchased for yourself, there may come a time when you’re ready to move on. There are plenty of reasons to sell a luxury watch, and we’ll get into those later, but the focus of this guide will be how to get the most value for a used luxury watch.

Luxury watches have a great track record for holding their value years after purchase. Vintage and antique timepieces can be worth even more than you initially paid for them.

The pre-owned watch market is a big one. It’s projected to be worth $30 billion by 2025 and account for roughly half of the global watch market. With the right servicing and maintenance, a luxury watch can last a lifetime and longer. That said, not every timepiece will enjoy the same popularity years down the road. Different styles come in and out of fashion. Nevertheless, luxury watches made with precious metals will always have value.

Top Reasons to Sell Your Luxury Watch

There are plenty of reasons to get rid of unwanted jewellery, including an important piece like a luxury watch.

#1 You Want an Upgrade       

Have you had your eye on another timepiece for a while now? Is your collection already so large that you have a watch or two that you hardly ever wear? Passionate collectors are always looking for their next acquisition. Parting with older watches will not only keep your collection from becoming cluttered, but it will also help you offset the cost of that next purchase.

#2 Your Personal Style Has Changed

Sometimes you stop wearing a piece because your personal style has changed. Other times, you may be given a watch that just doesn’t fit your look, but you’ve graciously accepted it. There is nothing wrong with selling a watch that you don’t wear, especially if it’s been some time since it’s found its way onto your wrist.

Fashion changes, and for some, it’s important that they keep up with the times. The style for luxury watches has evolved in recent years. The luxury watch market is increasingly collaborating with streetwear brands on new releases, and even when it comes to more traditional styles, many wearers are giving up gold in favour of stainless steel. Some view gold watches as ostentatious and prefer the sleeker, more understated style that steel offers.

#3 You Can Use the Money

It doesn’t matter what the reason for needing the money is; when you have a financial need, it can make a lot more sense to sell some valuables than it does to go into or stay in debt. Interest payments make carrying debt an expensive financial decision that eats into your monthly finances. If you can pay a bill, get rid of debt, or cover an emergency expense by selling a luxury watch, it will set you up for long-lasting financial success. It might just be the smart thing to do.

A stainless steel luxury watch on a man’s wrist

Where Is the Value in a Luxury Watch?

There are several factors that go into the value of used pocket and wrist watches, but they primarily include:

  • Style and designer brands.
  • The age and rarity of the piece.
  • The value of the materials, such as gold.

Designer Names Are Always In-Demand

The market for used luxury watches is greatest for well-recognized designer brand names. Big designer brands attract a higher number of collectors who are always on the lookout for those in-demand finds. We have a comprehensive list of designer brands that our collector database is always looking to buy. Some of those names include:

  • Audemars Piguet
  • Baume & Mercier
  • Bvlgari
  • Cartier
  • Girard-Perregaux
  • Hublot
  • IWC
  • Patek Philippe
  • Piaget
  • Rolex
  • TAG Heuer
  • Tiffany & Co.
  • Van Cleef & Arpels
  • And more.

The pre-owned market for designer brands like these has grown rapidly in recent years. In part, it’s because younger Gen Z and Millennial buyers who are seeing more disposable income are also interested in sustainability.

Antique Watches

Watches from the brands above will have a ready market no matter when the timepiece was made, but there is also a market among collectors for antique and vintage watches that have more age on them.

Before you sell antique watches, do some research and find out what you really have. One of the first steps should be identifying whether your watch is vintage or antique. Vintage watches include any timepieces that are at least two decades old. If you’re not sure how old the piece is, you can usually find the model number on the watch’s movement or even a date on the back.

A vintage watch is more than its age; it’s also what makes it unique. The history of the model, interesting technologies that were used, and unique designs can all attract more motivated collectors willing to pay a higher price.

As a rule, anything that gets classified as an antique is 100 years old or more. Antique watches are often (though not always) harder to come by, and sometimes their manufacturers are no longer extant.

Vintage and antique watches have the irreplaceable appeal of wear that can only come with age. While things like damage and engravings can negatively impact the value of a watch, gentler signs of wear hint at the history of a piece, and that’s a feature some collectors covet.

Gold Watches

The gold watch is a classic status symbol, and many luxury watches are made from the precious metal. Typically, the watch case will be made from 14, 18, or (in some rare cases) 24-karat gold. A higher gold purity isn’t always better. Due to the soft nature of gold, 24-karat gold is very easily scratched, dented, and damaged. That’s why brands like Rolex prefer 18-karat gold to make their watches stronger and more durable.

The watch band may also be made from gold. Some use a layer of gold over a less costly metal.

For some luxury watch fans, the solid yellow or rose gold look makes too bold of a statement. When gold feels too flaunty, some prefer a subtler white gold. It still has the softness, lustre, and increased weight of the luxury metal but without showing itself too quickly.

A woman wears a gold luxury watch

How to Sell a Luxury Watch for the Best Value

When it comes time to part with a luxury watch, you might find yourself paralyzed with choice. There are many avenues you can take to sell a luxury watch right now, in particular, thanks to the explosion of online marketplaces. It’s easier than ever to take a few pictures and start looking for buyers online, but when it comes to something as detail-oriented as a luxury watch, there is no substitute for taking it to an expert in person.

There are a lot of factors that go into the price of a used luxury watch, for better or worse. Collectors often want watches in their original condition, especially older ones. They’re on the hunt for unique qualities that you often can’t find in watches anymore or that make an old model special as a whole.

That can be an issue with watches that have been serviced. Even replacing the dial can reduce the value of a vintage Rolex to a fraction of the price. Unless an expert takes a look at your watch, you might wind up with a lot of leads that go nowhere.

Another issue with selling on your own is that the market is in flux, and different products may have very different depths. Prices can fluctuate considerably for a certain model based on their availability and desirability at the moment, which depends on too many factors to predict. Prices can vary considerably over the course of a few months.

Rarer and more valuable luxury watches can also be tricky to find a buyer for. While the timepiece could be worth tens of thousands to the right buyer, making that connection isn’t easy, and selling online could make such buyers skeptical.

If you don’t want to worry about the time and research that would go into finding a buyer on your own, the best way to sell a used luxury watch is to take it to an expert.

Muzeum is more than just a place to sell your silver jewellery. We also handle a wide range of collectibles and valuables. In addition to silver and gold, we also buy rare paper money and banknotes, pocket watches, and wrist watches. We work with a database of collectors for our rarer finds so that we can always offer the best price.

How Do Luxury Watches Compare to Selling Old Jewellery?

If you’ve sold jewellery to silver buyers like Muzeum, you may wonder how the process compares when you sell a used luxury watch. For example, most of the gold and silver jewellery we buy winds up melted down and refined rather than resold. However, that’s not always the case. Designer brands and antique pieces can be valuable on the collectors market.

It’s important that you take a used luxury watch to someone who will know the difference and can accurately evaluate a luxury timepiece. At Muzeum, we have an extensive database of collectors so that we know what the market is like for rare and valuable pieces. We can offer better prices because we know what collectors are looking for.

When you prepare your jewellery for sale, it may be wise to separate your watch. A gold, platinum, or even stainless steel watch might have better resale value than broken jewellery that’s going to wind up melted down and refined.

Luxury watches can be worth a lot of money depending on the designer brand, the style, and the materials. Bring your watch to Muzeum, where we can evaluate your timepiece and offer the best price for it.

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