Resale luxury Watches

Can you guys please explain the basics on the luxury watch resale market?

Resources to check fair prices?

Safe ways, sellers to use to buy authentic watches?

General rule of thumb for resale watch prices vs new watch prices?

Talk to me like I’m a toddler - I have very little to no background on the topic but want to be better informed.

 
Most Helpful

Well it's pretty simple, there is a very strong demand on certain brands (Rolex, AP, Patek) / watch models (all Rolex excluding the pearlmaster, Patek Nautilus, audemars royal oak...) and not enough watches are produced to meet the demand. At least, that's the official version. 

Thus, it is really hard to get your hands on these watches at retail prices.

Let's take the example of Rolex. To get one, think a Submariner, a DateJust or a GMT Master 2, you'll have to go to an AD (authorized Dealer, which has the authorisation to sell Rolex at retail price). After waiting an hour and a half in line in front of the store you'll eventually meet a salesman. You'll tell him that you want a GMT Master 2, he'll answer that he put your name on a waiting list and that he will call you once he receives the watch because they have no stock currently. Assuming that he really did put your name on the list, you can now wait months or years (depending on the model, where the AD is located etc etc) before he calls you back and tells you to come and pick your watch. Note that the retail price may have risen in the meantime, you thought you would pay 10k€ 3 years ago, it's now 11.5k€ for the exact same model. 

This, is the simplified schema. In reality, you have to build a relationship with the AD. Because why would they sell you a watch when hundreds of guys want the exact same thing ? Basically, they want to make sure that you become a regular customer and that you won't buy the watch only to resell it within a minute of leaving the shop. Tbh there is no exact way / strategy to have you name written on the waiting list, I let you search for that part.

If you're lucky and come from a wealthy background, the AD may know your parents or grandparents if they are already regular customers, in that case things are a lot easier and you often wait less time. 

The other option is to buy your watch on the grey market (second-hand market) but the prices only follow the law of supply and demand. You can buy your watch from professionnals on the grey market (WatcherFinders and Co. for example), from a private individual or on a buying/reselling platform (Chrono24 for example). The pro is that you will not have to lick balls and wait years to have your watch, but you ll have to pay way more then the current retail price. For example, the GMTMaster 2 126710BLNR is around 11k€ retail price and 18-19k€ resell price. 

Hope this helps :) 

Edit : To answer the other questions. 

I do not use any particular resources to check fair prices. I just follow the market by looking at the different resale platforms. I'd say Chrono24 is a good site to start with, it will give you a good overview of the price range.

 

This is a much more complicated topic than you would think. It depends a ton on the brands/models/era of watches that you are interested in buying.

For pricing, Chrono24 is a good place to browse or even purchase watches, but they are going to have a bunch of asking prices that are too high, so I wouldn't necessarily use that as a benchmark for price. Ebay (strongly do not recommend to actually purchase watches here if you are inexperienced) has a search option to find completed auctions for specific models between individuals. Also, WatchCharts is helpful to see sales history for certain models.

For new vs, used resale prices, I would add a third category for grey market new. Grey market dealers like Jomashop sell new watches without the AD warranty. Prices from grey market dealers are at a discount for some brands or at a premium above MSRP for certain brands where it is difficult to purchase in-store (e.g. Rolex).  If you are looking for used watches, Chrono24 is a decent place to buy used watches at a slight premium to buy from the "trusted" dealers that post watches there. For relatively new watches, these will likely be authentic watches, but check for dings, etc. in the photos. Sites like Crown & Caliber or Bob's watches are also decent places for an inexperienced buyer to buy used watches, again at a slight premium. WatchPatrol is a good place to find individuals that are selling watches at lower prices than dealers and is generally much safer than ebay in my experience. Additionally, for used watches, check when it was last serviced and incorporate the cost of a service into your decision-making.

It doesn't sound like you are interested in watches 20+ years old, but if you are, vintage watches are a whole different ball game. I wouldn't jump in without tons of research even if buying from trusted dealers. You would not believe the drastic price differences for certain models based on miniscule font differences, genuine replacement parts, or polishing. 

 

If you buy any watch on resale, make sure it comes with boxes and papers. Unlimited number of scumbags who sell fakes. And if you're buying online, make sure you're using a reputable site and that you try on that watch with those specs in store first so you're not stuck with something you end up hating on your wrist. Otherwise guy above hit everything wrt to pricing consideration on retail vs resale.

 

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