The Value Of Pre-Owned Luxury Watch - Top Things

August 9th, 2023

The Value Of Pre-Owned Luxury Watch – Top Things

If you have a used luxury watch to sell, it’s normal to wonder how much you can get for it. In fact, many like to have a ballpark figure in mind before requesting an official quote from a dealer or listing the watch online for sale. However, determining the value of your pre-owned luxury watch is not always a straightforward endeavor. Here are some top things to consider.

Determining the Value Of Your Pre-Owned Luxury WatchTop Things To Consider When Determining the Value Of Your Pre-Owned Luxury Watch

Not All Luxury Brands Are Valued Equally In The Secondary Market

Like any industry, there are fast-moving brands and slower selling names in luxury watches. Even if you paid thousands of dollars for a particular piece a decade ago, if that specific brand is not currently popular, then it will be valued much less today. Remember, while some timepieces do gain value over the years, not all luxury watches will appreciate over time.

The Value Of Pre-Owned Luxury WatchSome brands sell better than others in the pre-owned luxury watch market

The Value of Pre-Owned Luxury Watch

The most in-demand brands in the secondary market right now include Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Cartier, Omega, Panerai, Jaeger-LeCoultre, A. Lange & Söhne, Vacheron Constantin, Breitling, and IWC. However, it’s important to note that not every model from these brands will sell well. Today’s trends dictate that stainless steel sports watches typically outsell classic gold watches for instance. Yet, there is a robust market for rare, vintage, or high-complicated timepieces too. Some of the best-selling pre-owned watches currently include vintage Rolex watches, rare Patek Philippe high complications, and iconic sports watches like the Royal Oak, Nautilus, Speedmaster, Navitimer, Luminor, and so on.

The Listed Selling Price Is Not The Price You’ll Get for Your Watch

Let’s say you’ve searched online for your exact watch reference and found similar examples for sale. It is important to remember that it doesn’t necessarily translate to what you’ll pocket when you sell your watch. These are typically “asking prices” and can oftentimes be inflated numbers open to negotiation. Furthermore, depending on the platform or method, selling or consignment fees can take quite a chunk out of your bottom line. Of course, if you’re selling your watch to a dealer, they have to turn around and make a profit on that watch. Therefore, it’s normal that the price a reputable dealer will offer to take the watch off your hands will be lower than what they will eventually list it for. 

The Listed Selling Price Is Not The Price You’ll GetWhat’s My Watch Worth?

Another thing to consider is that although you have found similar examples online, they can differ from your specific watch in ways such as age, condition, and the availability of original boxes and papers. All these details have a final impact on the final price you will earn from selling your watch. So understand that the price you’ll get for your watch will almost always be lower than what you see it for sale online to avoid disappointment. Have a realistic price range in your mind and be open to the offers you receive as these reflect the realistic market value of your luxury watch and not the padded ones you see online.

Beware of the Endowment Effect

The endowment effect is a term used in psychology and behavior economics to describe “an emotional bias that can causes individuals to value an owned object higher than its market value. In laymen’s terms, this essentially means that people have a tendency to overvalue their things. This can be especially true of luxury watches, which can be highly sentimental objects.

Endowment EffectPeople have a tendency to overvalue their own things

Whether inherited from a beloved family member, purchased to commemorate a personal milestone or just something that reminds you of great memories, a watch can mean so many things to so many people. But it’s important not to let that sentimentality cloud your judgment when determining the value of your watch. The person willing to purchase your pre-owned timepiece will not have the same emotional connection to the watch.

A Word About Condition, Originality, and Service Parts of a Watch

One of the most significant factors that play into how much a used luxury watch is worth is its condition. While watches in better condition will typically sell for higher prices, there is a big caveat to this.

Watch enthusiasts and collectors favor vintage watches that have all their original parts—even if they are in less than stellar condition. It is common practice for luxury watch owners to service their watches every few years. And during maintenance and servicing, some parts—such as dials, handsets, bezels, crystals, and bracelets—can be replaced with newer ones. Plus, cases and bracelets oftentimes undergo polishing, which can sometimes slightly alter the shape of a watch. While it may seem like adding newer replacement parts and keeping a watch polished to look like new may be a good thing, these details can actually decrease the value of vintage watches.

 Condition, Originality, and Service PartsReplacement parts can reduce the value of a used watch

What’s more, any custom work done to a watch can also lower its re-sale value–even if the customization was expensive. Again, this is because many watch buyers prefer watches that are as close to how they left the factory as possible. As a result, full-factory watches with visible scratches and dents can be more expensive than a newer looking watch fitted with replacement or custom parts.

Find Out The Value Of Your Used Watch

If you’re interested to know how much your pre-owned luxury watch is worth, request a free quote from us. As the dedicated online purchasing site for Gray & Sons Jewelers, we have purchased thousands of used timepieces over the decades and have the knowledge and expertise to value your watches accurately according to the market. Get in touch and we’ll be happy to help you sell your watch.


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