Appraising a watch for purchase

I love buying watches as much as I love selling them.  However because I have such a passion for watches, when I do go into ‘buying mode’ it can sometimes be hard to think with my ‘business head’ and not with my heart.

As a professional in the industry and as a “professional collector”, I need to buy watches that I will be able to sell on and hopefully make a few pennies to put in my childrens piggy-banks.

I am also a very fair chap and enjoy the process of buying and selling watches for the greater good of helping people out to achieve their watch goals and dreams.

In an ideal world, any watch that I buy will sell quickly, for a reasonable price and I make a reasonable profit margin.

But how do I make that happen?  What factors and forces come into play when I appraise a watch to see if it makes financial sense to purchase it with re-sale and profit making in mind? How do I avoid buying a watch that will take a long time to sell and when it does, gets the price haggled down to the bone like the buying of a rug in a desert market stall!

Well I’m glad you asked.  I hope this helps to give you an idea of my process:
The two main factors that I need consider are:

1. The Market

The Market:

1. Demand:  is it a watch people are interested in? Do people care about it? Is there demand for it? A watch that is interesting and is in demand is better.
2. Availability (local, mid, far): are there lots in the market? Or few? Near by? Or the other side of the world? Taking into consideration import duties and sales taxes. The fewer watches available, the better.  Even better if they are located far away.
3. Competition strength:  the reputation of other sellers with the same watch. Location of these sellers. Quality of their watch in comparison to yours. If other sellers have the same watch but not in good condition, or no box/papers and weaker reputations / reviews, that is good.
4. Pricing spread low to high:  is there a wide low-to-high spread or a low one?  A wider spread eg £4000 lowest vs £7500 highest, is not so good.  It means it is more important to be at the lower end of the pricing scale to make your watch more desirable and help it sell faster.  It is a much more competitive zone to be in.  Ideally, I don’t a watch that will take a long time to sell.  And after all, why would someone buy a watch for £7000 when they can get it for £4500 from multiple other sellers that are very nearby.   A narrower spread is much better eg £5000 to £6000.

2. Your watch

Your Watch:

The four important physical factors to see how quickly your watch will sell, how much profit I can make and what price I need to sell it for are:

1. Condition (aesthetic and functionality)
2. Box / papers
3. Service history
4. Your wish price

Once I have gathered all the above information, I enter the data into my point scoring tally where I mark each contributing factor with a score of 1-5 with 1 being poor and 5 being excellent.
I then tally up the score and see where we are out of 20.  This is done using my industry knowledge and sometimes doing a bit of research / homework if the watch is not well known to me.

Top marks = 40  (This is seldom achieved)
Great = 15 to 20
Good = 12 to 15
Risky = 8 to 12
Very Risky = below 7

Ideally a watch will be 12 or higher.

I  will always try to find other like-for-like watches; similar  year, condition, box / papers, location etc, and evaluate the pricing spread of the competition to then arrive at a decision making stage of:

1. How hard will your watch be to sell?
2. How quickly is it likely to sell?
3. How much profit is in it for me?
4. The opportunity cost? (in buying your watch, what other purchases am I possibly missing out on)

All the above affect my purchasing decision making.
It can sometimes be uncomfortable making offers on watches because there are two opposing forces at play – like two opposing magnets repelling one another:

> I want to buy as low as possible (whilst being fair and understanding)
> You want to sell as high as possible.

Which is why sometimes it is better for me to try and sell your watch for you on your behalf – where we work together on a common goal and shared journey to sell your watch for as high a price as possible, as fast as possible.

Read more about that here:

Cheers and here’s to ‘Watch Happiness’


Buying a watch? Selling a watch?

Want to invest & make money?

Before you do anything, you need to read this helpful guide from Marcelo at Prestige Watches.