There is a rising interest in the vintage watch market and vintage watches in general. Recently we got a lot of questions regarding the how and what of vintage watch buying and selling. We started a Whatsapp group where the members would get weekly tips on buying and selling their first watch. You will be able to follow the tips along the way and buy and sell your first watch very soon!
The tips are divided in different steps. We recommend to examine and practice one step each week as you’ll learn the most from your own trial and error! Let’s dive into the first one:
Step 1: Specialization
The first step is an important one for the beginning and aspiring watch trader. Focus on ONE particular brand/category/style/material/time etc. By doing so you’ll quickly learn a lot about the vintage watches in your category and become a specialist in your field in no time. You’ll need your specialism to be able to determine prices and to make good and considered choices regarding buying your watches.
An example to illustrate this a bit:
1. Choose 1 or 2 watch brands to start trading with.
2. Choose a brand or a particular type of watch you like so you’ll actually have fun trading with them (as you can wear them until they are sold).
3. Choose what price category you will work in.
4. Set up an alert on Marktplaats and Catawiki (Dutch marketplace platforms, of course you can use any online marketplace available in your country!) to get to know the prices of watches from your brand and price category.
5. Become a specialist in a particular brand and price category. This way you will know what watches provide you with a chance to sell for more.
Sounds easy? It is. But it is really important when you are starting out as new watch seller!
Pro tip: how to compare watches and find out the fair market value?
Always ask for reference number, diameter, purchase history and extra info that might be available on the inside of the watch or caseback and search for that, together with the brand name, in Google. You’ll find a lot of similar watches that you can use to compare to the watch you want to buy and determine a fair price.
Fair market value is determined by looking at minimal selling price and comparison of similar available watches. To find out the minimal selling price have a look at auction results for that particular watch. The amount it brings in at auction is the lowest you will probably get for your watch.
Some watches have a box or guarantee card that comes with it. Add a bit to your price if that’s the case as it will be more valuable to collectors. Try to look for similar watches with the same additions.
The fair market value is the maximum you can pay for a watch while not losing money.
VERY IMPORTANT: You don’t want to buy stolen goods. Online marketplaces are an easy way for criminals to sell their goods easily. Minimize the risk of buying a stolen watch by asking questions; How did the seller get the watch in possession? If he says he is the first owner: What is the service history or is the purchase receipt available? If it’s inherited: Can the seller provide a heritage statement? Always remember: buy the seller.
Exercise for this week: try the above tips. You have enough information already to buy your first watch. Try to buy a watch that you want to sell and come back for the next step!
“Be fearless and don’t be afraid of failure. There is no better way to learn than through trial-and-error.”
Next step we’ll focus on determining a price to sell your watch!