Second-hand luxury watch sales are booming and outpacing new watch sales, according to a February 2018 Digital Commerce 360 article.
The preowned watch market is about $5 billion annually, including timepieces sold at auction, says Jon Cox, an analyst at Kepler Cheuvreux in Zurich, and it’s one of the fastest-growing segments in the industry.
If you’re thinking about selling a watch, or at least finding out how much it’s worth, this may be a good time to do so. Selling or pawning a watch is not that different than selling or pawning any other form of collateral, but there are some unique differences for watch sales.
Here are the four things you need to know to sell or pawn your watch for top dollar before you step foot in a pawn or jewelry store.
1. Understand how pawn shops work. Generally, a customer brings in something of value, from a laptop to a gold coin. In the case of gold and silver watches, the value is based on standardized industry factors, such as karat weight, rarity, and condition. The pawnbroker will then appraise the item, and offer either a sale price, or a fixed-rate loan based on the agreed upon value, for a period of time, usually 30 to 90 days. If the customer agrees to the loan price and conditions of the loan, he/she receives the agreed upon loan amount, and leaves the item with the pawnbroker as collateral to guarantee the loan. There is no credit check as the loan is secured by the collateral.
The pawnbroker will give the customer a pawn ticket with their name and address, a description of the pawned item, the loan amount and the maturity date. The local police will also get a copy of the receipt.
When the loan is paid, including interest, the customer will receive the pawned item back. If a loan is not repaid, and no monthly interest payment is made, the pawnbroker will keep the item and cancel the debt.
Some pawn shops will allow the customer to extend the loan indefinitely if they pay the interest on the loan.
2. Do business with a legitimate pawn shop. Like any business, the reputations of pawn shops differs from shop to shop. Some are more professional and offer better loan prices than others. However, the highest loan price doesn’t necessarily make the best deal. Do your research before buying, selling or entering into any agreement with a pawn shop.
It’s a good sign when the appraisers are educated by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), the world’s foremost authority on diamonds, colored stones, and pearls.
Do your due diligence ahead of time, ask plenty of questions and make sure you agree to the appraisal estimate, loan price and terms and conditions of the loan before agreeing to the loan.
3. Know what your watch is worth — before going to the pawn shop. It’s important to have at least a ballpark figure of what your watch is worth. One way to get an idea is by doing research on eBay.com. Go to the Jewelry and Watch section, and search for a watch that’s the same or similar to yours.
The value of a watch is determined by multiple factors, including its age, condition, the strap, the brand, if it is a special or limited edition, and status of warranty. But ultimately, the market will determine the value of your watch.
Keep in mind that since the pawn shop may have to resell your watch, the price they give you will be what they think they can resell it for — not the exact market value of the watch. Again, have an idea what yours is worth, and get several GIA-certified appraisals before agreeing to one.
4. Make it sparkle and shine. It goes without saying, the better condition your watch is in, the higher the appraisal value will be, and the more money you’ll be offered for the piece. Take some time to clean your watch well before presenting it to any pawn shop.
To clean your watch:
- First remove the bracelet, if possible. If not, take care not to get the watch itself wet when cleaning, even if it’s water-resistant.
- Soak the bracelet in water and dish soap or rubbing alcohol for a few minutes to a few hours. The longer it soaks, the more dirt will be loosened.
- Next, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to scrub between the links of the bracelet on the inside and outside.
- Dry the bracelet with a lint-free cloth and reattach the bracelet to your watch, then use the slightly dampened cloth to wipe down the watch itself.
- To clean leather straps, use a mixture of white vinegar and water and a toothbrush to gently remove any dirt. Let the straps dry completely before wearing the watch again.
You can also clean your bracelet in an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner. However, never put the watch itself into the cleaner as it will cause permanent damage.
Source: Digital Commerce 360