How to sell a watch

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I know a few people that are looking to sell watches they bought in recent years. The market’s probably been through a peak of popularity, and it’s not surprising that there some who regretted something they bought, or perhaps need the cash more than they did. 

The issue is, selling a watch isn’t that straightforward. There’s a range of options, from dealers to shops to auction houses, and which is right depends on a balance of priorities, including price, speed and convenience.

So I thought I’d speak to a few people in the industry to get their advice. It’s something I might even put into practice myself in the next few months, having never quite got round to selling my IWC (above). As ever, do let me know your experiences too - I know from previous articles that there’s a lot of watch overlap with PS.


The Bucherer atelier in Covent Garden, London

“This is a question I get a lot, from colleagues, from friends,” says Pierre Hardouin, the Rolex and Certified Pre-Owned manager at Bucherer (above). “I think it’s a little like the market for high-end cars, which has been around for decades. If you’re dealing with something collectible, you need to talk to a specialist, who knows the product and knows the buyers. Then it becomes a one-to-one conversation. 

“The certified dealers, like us, are dealing more in the hits. More recent models, better-known names, a larger market. And the people that come here value physical retail, the relationship with someone in the shop, and the certification element - the fact our watches all go back to Rolex, for example, and get a new warrantee, a new box, manuals. It depends on your priorities.”

Summarising the views of all the people interviewed, the options break down roughly as:


  • Selling yourself, privately
  • eBay, Chrono24 
  • Advantages: Maximum price, maximum control
  • Disadvantages: Greatest work (listing and asking questions) and greatest risk (payments with eBay, fakes or quality)

Specialist dealer

  • Using a dealer, often through a personal connection or Instagram
  • Sites like A Collected Man, individuals like Alex Stevens, Mann About Time etc. Lots and varied
  • Advantages: Good for specialist watches, often good for value (commission taken)
  • Disadvantages: Not usually good for more common watches, not easy to find/contact, and not certified. (Though some are with smaller makers - eg Collected Man is with Roger Smith, Philippe Dufour and others.)

Online dealer

  • As above but online and less specialist, dealing with a much larger number of models 
  • WatchBox, WatchFinder, SubDial and others
  • Advantages: Certainty, convenience, probably the most popular option for someone not wanting to sell themselves
  • Disadvantages: No physical store or relationship, not so specialised


  • Dealers but with a physical shop
  • The various shops in the Burlington Arcade, regional jewellery stores
  • Advantages: Often a broader range of watches than dealers, a physical location to deal with, and a broader audience
  • Disadvantages: Often a higher commission given their overheads; sometimes limited or inflexible in watches they will take or trade

Certified shops

  • Shops but with official certification from the likes of Rolex
  • Bucherer, Watches of Switzerland and Lunn’s and Prestons in the UK
  • Advantages: Assurance, relationship, convenience of physical space
  • Disadvantages: Commission higher than some dealers and selling privately

Auction houses


Mark Cho speaking at our Japan Symposium

“I’m a big fan of auction houses,” says Mark Cho, who has considerable experience selling both his own watches and giving advice to others. “They are more accessible than most people think - most things over £2k - and you have the advantage that it’s out of your hands. It’s likely to be sold and you don’t have to think about it again.”

“If you’re not selling something higher end - in which case I’d obviously recommend coming to us - I’d say sell yourself, online,” says Silas Walton of A Collected Man. “Or if you don’t like the hassle or risk of eBay or Chrono24, go to something like WatchFinder

“I did have issues selling myself on eBay years ago: because I had no track history of selling high-value items they blocked the sale, then I had to provide lots of paperwork, and even then PayPal blocked the money.”

There are many other tips people have, but a few that came up repeatedly from people were:

  • Remember prices on Chrono24 etc are not what watches actually sell for, only what the seller is asking. Sale prices will be lower
  • Auction houses can take a while to pay. It may be up to three months before a sale, one month for them to be paid, and then one month for them to pay you
  • With selling yourself, you may get several ‘tyre kickers’ asking for more photos, more information, which takes time and where you might not know the answers
  • If it matters to you, divide up the options in terms of whether pieces are taken on consignment or paid outright. Often paying outright means a lower price
  • Consider whether you’re open to trading, if there’s another watch you want. If a dealer is open to it, it will always be more attractive to them

“Often, how much you put into the process determines how much you will get out of it,” says Pierre. “Consider that first - some people love it, others are cash rich and time poor. A lot of offerings today are built on the fact that people value convenience.”


Silas (right) with the CEO of WatchBox

Last question perhaps: given the state of the watch market right now, should you even sell?

“The market turned somewhere in the middle of 2022,” says Silas. “It’s been flat or falling since then, and is particularly bad for the most popular watches, in the £2-10k bracket. So it may not be the best time.”

“I agree,” says Mark. “Don’t sell unless you have to. Obviously some people do, but the market’s been so inflated that you’re unlikely to be making a profit. Maybe even consider gifting it - to a friend, to family, rather than take that drop in value.”

I have to say, these last points made me reconsider selling my watch, even though I’ve had it so long I’d certainly make a profit. Perhaps it will just make me more picky when it comes to the price I can get, and look around more. 

Which is why of course articles like this - and all your thoughts and experiences, please let us all know - are useful.

For more information on watches, including mine shown, see the Watches section of the website

My seventies Omega Speedmaster
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I completely agree with the article, try and buy watches you are certain you will keep and do not sell them is the best practice. However, if you do want or need to sell a watch, as someone who has a little bit of experience in this area I would say be realistic about what you have and what you are willing to sell it for.
The simple fact is that only a few high end brands will retain close to their value or even appreciate, the obvious names such as Rolex, Patek and AP. You should expect to take a noticeable hit on anything else (be prepared to lose at least 40-50% of what you paid, if the watch was purchased new). The market is stagnant at present and dealers are reluctant to buy and hold stock because they do not have the liquidity of 12 months ago. Understand the market conditions and if possible, hold on to your watch until it picks up.
Private sales are a minefield. There are very few people who actually buy from a private seller, even via Chrono24 or similar sites. Most watch buyers/collectors want provenance, there is an old saying “buy the seller, not the watch”. If you are a private seller on one of these sites with little to no history of selling watches, or buyers to vouch for you, it is very difficult to sell your watch.
You can sell via watch forums but you have to build up a considerable presence through posts and engagement with forum members before you are allowed to sell. Probably not realistic for the casual buyer.
Auction Houses seem reluctant to take watches on at present, I have tried to offer things recently to both large and small AH (very good quality vintage watches) and they did not even take them on for possible sale, which is unusual.
Dealers are also a hugely mixed bag. Many will make claims they buy ‘any’ luxury watch but this is very misleading. Essentially if they feel they can sell your watch quickly they will be interested, if not they wont want to buy. One week they may want your particular model and the next it may not be of interest, and a whole host of factors from their perspective feed into this demand. This is also the route where you are very unlikely to be offered a satisfactory price for anything other than a Rolex, AP or Patek. If you have a watch you paid £5k for and the used market suggests a price of around £4000, you should be prepared for offers for anything from £1500-£2500 from a dealer, depending on how lucky you get.
Vintage watches are a completely different ballgame. Unless you have something rare or highly desirable, try and avoid selling them, the number of buyers out there is limited and you are likely going to have to be an experienced collector with contacts to do so. The same goes if you are looking to buy, be very careful, do lots of research and understand the watch you are buying. I have seen vintage watches sold by dealers and private sales which are incorrectly listed or have replacement parts that are not acknowledged (but the price is for what I would call a completely original and ‘true’ watch).
Sorry for the lengthy post, hopefully other readers find some useful tips in here!


The summary of views seems almost slanted towards a buyer’s view rather than a sellers, for example what “assurance” do I get as a seller from a certified shop? WatchFinder does have physical stores too.

Inevitably were I wanting to sell one of my watches would need to do my own research but my gut says that there is a vast difference in cash in my pocket between selling it directly myself and either selling it to a business or using a middleman to sell it.


I understand that… though to be honest the bigger item on self selling is the risk of being scammed as a seller, the classic “the parcel arrived but the box was empty”. The more barriers you put up to prevent fraud the lower the likely sales price.


Honestly Subdial are the best. Transparent commission structure, fully insured.
Give it a try.


There’s not as much difference as you might think. Of course a dealer will want to make a margin on reselling your watch but a buyer will expect to pay less for a watch sold privately. Personally speaking, I’d rather take a hit on the price and sell quickly and easily to a reputable dealer than spend the time dealing with private buyers and all their questions, not to mention the risks involved.


Still pure envy of your Hermes popover in the last picture.


Useful article indeed but there are two points I’d like to argue. One is calling buyers who want to make sure they don’t get scammed or end up with a lemons “tyre kickers”. It’s absolutely must to be diligent when buying from private seller online. In fact asking for more pictures and information is what a lot of guides recommend.

Second is about not selling due to current market status. If the experts admit that the market was inflated (and for some models and brands it certainly was) then that would mean we have returned to normalcy. If you got carried away and payed the hype price then now you take a hit or live with a watch you don’t want. Obviously it’s not smart to buy high and sell low during uncertainty and recession so I guess it really depends on how badly you need the cash and when do you predict for things to get better.

Also you might want to make two corrections Simon:
” …Chrono24, go to something like .”
” …Chrono24 etc are (not) what watches…”


Due to having multiple hobbies I sell a fair bit myself and I absolutely do understand the frustration, admittedly I have cut communication from time to time. Even still I find that line of thinking to be a bit of a mental trap that doesn’t benefit anyone and mostly just hurts yourself.


Not selling because of not making a profit seems unconvincing when it’d still be more cash than not selling.
But enjoyed the article and if anyone has further (online) watch dealer recommendations I’d be glad to hear them as I’m looking for something to buy


Based on personal experience, I’d thoroughly recommend Kibble Watches in Farringdon, a smaller outfit who offer a much more personal service than some of the other dealers around. James is a very trustworthy, approachable chap and is someone I’ve bought and sold through many times.


A Collected Man are fantastic. How Silas has built the business and provided a platform for truly exceptional pieces is second to none, however, in all likelihood for 99% readers the offering point is likely too high.

Subdial provide the brilliant flexibility of either providing an immediate cash offer OR at a lower commission rate listing on their website post-verification. I believe this offers the best of both worlds for individuals.

Eric Michel

I would not assume that readers interested in 6000 GBP suits and 10000 GBP coats cannot afford watches sold by “A Collected Man”…


Hi Eric,
I refer you back to the survey Simon conducted several years ago now; the average income of the readership is a lot lower than one may expect as was the annual spend. Do not assume because individuals enjoy reading about Ferraris that they’re all driving one.
A Collected Man is about as high end as one can get – Dufour, Daniels etc. Patek is typically the “low end”.
No slight intended on the readership at all, just going by the stats.

Eric Michel

I do not agree, I like “A Collected Man” and there are some expensive watches (a few) but as well many Lange, VC, Patek, early Muller, Cartier, Roth, Dubuis, Gauthier… around 20/40K. Those are clearly not super expensive watches, even by Patek standards.


O tempores, o mores. £20k-£40k – the upper end of this is over the median income and would buy a good new car or constitute a down payment on a house outside London (and some inside). Even in the world of fashion and watches this is super expensive. I don’t begrudge those with the means doing it. But let’s not delude ourselves that this is anything but a pursuit for the 0.01%.


Why do you caption the Bucherer photo as an “atelier”?
It isn’t. Shop, retail outlet, showroom perhaps, But an atelier it is not.


I’ve not used it but many people seem to use Reddit’s watch exchange forum with considerable success. There’s buyers with track records which provides a measure of security.

Eric Michel

I have bought several watches over time, sold very few… and I regret it! A watch should not be an investment, do we sell our suits? Our coats? Our shoes? We can try, but we know we will lose a lot. This is the same for many watches, then buy less but better, and if you spend time selecting what you really like, then keep it!
PS: your IWC is beautiful, right size, classic… a keeper!


I definitively do sell clothes I no longer need, both to make a bit of money, and to keep the size of my wardrobe in check, and I’ve never regretted selling an item of clothing, or a watch. Although come to think of it, maybe I shouldn’t have sold that Black Bay Pro…


Sorry Simon, slightly off topic. But what would the trouser/ chino being worn in first picture be? Thanks


Thanks. It was the colour that caught my eye.

To your knowledge, anything with a similar colour doing the rounds?


Thanks Felix. Unfortunately, the stretch in these have always put me off.


I’d be interested to hear from any NY readers if it’s easy selling popular watches to NY watch dealers. There are lots of videos on social media of people selling Rolexes etc to the likes of Moses the Jeweller with buyer and seller both being happy, with the watches being flipped almost straight after – as it seems there is a shortage of Rolexes. Is this not realistic?


Grey market dealers will usually offer laughable prices, if they’re even interested in buying, which they aren’t unless it’s a hype model. An if they offer to sell it for you, then you’re trusting them with your property, which has ended badly for a lot of people in the recent past.

I would never sell via ebay either, the possibilities of getting scammed by the buyer are sheer endless.

My usual M.O. is to simply sell the watch privately at my local bank, where there’s cameras, staff, a machine to check the cash, and a little seating area that I can use. And if the employees ever complained about me using their premises to do a deal (never happened so far), then I’d simply tell them that I’m paying the money directly into my bank account, and I don’t want to walk to the bank with that much cash on me (which is the truth). Easy as pie, and not a cent lost to any sort of middle man.

J Crewless

Your Omega is a stunning piece. It works well in the casual ensemble as well.


I’m glad you haven’t sold your IWC. Easily your best watch.


Hello Simon,
An unrelated question:
I am very new reader, just found your blog yesterday. I am a 28 yr old man in India and have quite succesfully run a tech company for the last 5 years. I made a significant deal recently and would like to spend a little on some nice clothing, a nice suit. I am thinking of getting a mid-dark grey or navy suit (as my first suit) as you advised in some other post. But I am vegan, so that limits my options for fabrics quite a bit. What would you suggest? Linen, cotton? Perhaps a bamboo suit, I found that they make those too these days. I don’t have a problem with vintage/ antique non-vegan fabrics, is that possible? Also, the canvas in suits is made from horsehair, which is not vegan, is there an alternative? And the buttons? I don’t really have a problem with plastic buttons, but are wooden buttons a thing? And the lining? I don’t want silk. I have the budget for bespoke, but I am not sure if my schedule allows me to go to Europe for 3 or 4 fittings, but the schedule isn’t always the same, so maybe. I don’t have to wear a suit to work everyday, since we don’t have a dress code. But certainly, I would like to wear a suit for dates with my girlfriend, and for fancier occasions, etc. What would be your advice?


I recently celebrated finalising my divorce with a gorgeous gold JLC Reverso (no more being told what I could and couldn’t do with my own hard earned cash!) and am very impressed with Chrono24. I got a third off the retail price of a virtually new watch (original papers and packaging) and the escrow system made this expensive purchase smooth and secure. I would definitely use them again.


I would happily recommend the Swiss Watch Company ( to you.
They”ve been in the business of buying and selling fine timepieces for many years.
Real experts, totally straight and very efficient.


Hi Simon
Your Portugieser is a beautiful watch … why did you want to sell it ?