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Best place to sell your watch online

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    When you want to sell your watch online, the options are endless. You have large online pre-owned watch dealers where you can sell your watch directly or in consignment. Like Watchbox, Chronext or Crown & Caliber. But there are also marketplaces like Chrono24, eBay and Relleb. In this blog we will explain which might works for you depending on your preferences.

    To understand what the best option is. You must first understand what you are looking for. 

    Selling with a reason

    You are selling your watch because you are either looking to buy a new one,  because you are wearing the watch not that often or just because you need the cash. The reason why you sell your watch, is key to know where to sell it. Because if you need the cash quick, then best way is to go to a large online pre-owned platform like Chronext or Watchbox. They will provide you with an offer that on average sits below the market-price, but the flipside is that you have your money relatively quick. If you want the best price however, then we suggest to use a marketplace, ideally charging a low selling commission. 

    Trade-off between price and waiting time

    In essence there is a trade off between price and waiting time. At large online pre-owned sellers like Watchbox and Chronext, you can get direct cash for your watch. But you pay a price for the quick cash in the shape of a hefty discount compared to average market-prices. Directly selling you watch for cash goes at a cost price of 28% - 40%. The exact discount is dependent on the watch and the party you plan on selling it to. So on a watch that is worth around in term of market-price €10.000, you will get €6.000 to €7.200. Basically you will pay a commission for their service of €2.800 to €4.000.

    The 24 hours cash marketing trick

    Please don't be fooled by 24 hours cash marketing. They will issue an offer for your watch within 24 hours. But when you agree to actually selling your watch for this offer, your watch will first be inspected by watch experts. And only when they don't find anything, you will be paid out. So this will take some time as well. 

    Selling in consignment

    The other option is to sell with these parties in consignment. This means your watch will be in stock at Chronext for example and for sale on the website. So the watch remains 'yours' until it is sold. And when the watch is sold you will get your money. You will get the sales price minus the commission. For example when you sell a Rolex Submariner from 2018 on Chronext, they will pay you at most €11.000 for a watch that is worth €13.000. They say that the commission is set 14% when you agree to the consignment. But the smaller letters tell you: THE PAY-OUT IS THE MAXIMUM PAY-OUT! Which basically means if prices go up, the upward potential goes into the pockets of Chronext.

    Rolex and Tudor boxes

    Selling on marketplaces

    On marketplaces the waiting time might be a little longer. But the commission fees are far less compared to selling with a large pre-owned reseller. On eBay, Chrono24 and Relleb many watch enthusiasts are looking to buy their next watch. So these might be suitable platforms for you to list your watch on. The problem with the traditional platforms such as eBay and Chrono24, is that they are relatively expensive, do not offerany shipment or insurance services for sellers and you will be responsible for selling.

    Whereas at Relleb, you as seller will be fully facilitated. The seller commission is 0%, there is a possibility to make use of the integrated shipping & insurance offered by Relleb, and Relleb services as first point of contact for buyers. Relleb is the party that fully facilitates you as seller in the process of selling your watch. So you will not only get the best price, but also the best service.

    Know the value of your watch!

    It is important to understand the value of your watch and where it is best to sell it. Large online sellers like Watchbox and Chronext are not too happy on selling vintage watches. They mainly sell new watches not older than 20 years. But when you are planning on selling a (rare) vintage timepiece, the best way to sell would potentially be one of the auction houses like Phillips, Antiquorum and Sotheby's. They will try to play out the "competition".

    Understanding the value of your watch is key to find the right way. Because although fees are high at auction houses. Special pieces are best to sell through these auction houses. But not all watch brands are sold by the auction platforms. In the past, especially micro brands were not covered. But since the growing interests in micro brands, such as F.P. Journe, more auction platforms are expanding their offering of watch brands in auctions.

    Commissions and other fees

    Commission fees are essential to understand. It means the price you pay to sell your watch. And as we like to say, a dollar saved is a dollar earned. Something that certainly applies for this matter.

    Commissions at marketplaces

    Commissions at marketplaces vary between the options you have. At eBay the selling commission on watches start at 12.35%. At Chrono24 the commission fee is 6.5% for private sellers. And at Relleb we ask 0% commission and no checkout fees whatsoever. We have compared the 3 marketplaces on pricing for both private sellers as commercial dealers.

    Selling fees Chrono24 vs eBay vs Relleb
    ** Private sellers on eBay are charged with 12.35% up to €1.000, 6.5% over €1.000 to €7.500 and 2.35% over €7.500.
    Based on dollar indications shared by eBay.

    Commissions at resellers

    Large pre-owned resellers take hefty fees starting at 14% to as high as up to 40%. Here at Relleb we think this is ridiculous, and not necessary. Watch experts look at each watch. And even fully service each watch, while it might not be necessary at all. Which might lead to "over-servicing". On top, they have a big marketing department. These things costs money that users of these platforms have to pay for.  

    Commissions at watch auction platforms

    Auction platforms have this big smoke curtain. Sellers hear about their selling fees. Buyers are charged with a commission for the so called "House Rights". But only the auction houses know what is in total charged on the sale of a watch. Although auction houses mainly sell rare (vintage) pieces in good condition, they are more stepping towards more general watches.

    The largest and best known auction houses use the following guidelines for their House Rights:

    • 25% on the value of the winning bid under €377.000 (or CHF 400.000) - except for Christie’s – their threshold is CHF 300.000
    • 20% on the value between €377.000 and €3.773.000 (or CHF 400.000 and CHF 4.000.000)
    • 13.5% on anything over €3.773.000 (CHF4.000.000) 

    The persons bidding at such auctions are mainly wealthy people. The House Rights are therefore mainly considered a tip for finding the watch. But I bet Warren Buffet will not pay these kind of fees as they are direct costs that you will not easily earn back.

    The best place to sell your watch online

    The following online platforms are listed based on how good we think they are:

    2. Chrono24
    3. eBay
    4. Chronext
    5. Crown & Caliber
    6. Watchbox
    7. Christies
    8. Phillips

    We will now explain the ranking based on our opinion.

    The ranking explained

    Marketplaces on top

    We think is the best place to sell your watch as you can get the best price for your watch. There is no seller commission. No listing fee. You can make use of pickup and insurance service and will not be responsible for aftersales. Thousands of potential watch buyers are already on this platform every month. Every watch is shipped fully insured and sellers are 100% sure to receive payment upon the sale of a watch.   

    The reason why Chrono24 and eBay are second and third: because of higher commission and listing fees (respectively at 6.5% and 12.35%). In addition you have to arrange shipping and insurance on your own. Which can be a hassle to arrange for private sellers.

    Large retailers are expensive

    Chronext, Crown & Caliber and Watchbox have been included after the marketplaces. This is mainly driven by the fact these online platforms take a margin from 14% to 28%. And sometimes even more! Although you will be able to sell your watch directly for cash, the discount is quite substantial. In addition, there are some bad reviews for these platforms as their consignment and pricing not always feels fair.

    Auction houses only for specific pieces

    Christies and Phillips are listed at the bottom of our list. Main reason is because they only sell watches that are very rare and in super good condition. On the buyer commission alone those auction houses take around 13.5% to 25%. Which is exactly the reason why we think this is one of the worst options in many cases. However, if you have a very rare piece it might be interesting to go there. These auction houses are the master in creating a fuzz around auctions. Which can lead to a very high sales price for your watch. So this still might be the best option for you.

    Written by

    Kenny Vaes, watch enthusiast, co-owner of Relleb

    Last updated December 22, 2021

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