When does it make sense to use an auction house to sell watches?
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  1. #1
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    When does it make sense to use an auction house to sell watches?

    Hi guys,

    I’m trying to learn about used watches sales.

    It is all in the title: When does it make sense to use an auction house to sell watches?
    Do they have a lower limit as to what the watches are worth?
    This would be for some somewhat collectible watches, not some massively produces watches bought 6 months ago.
    Or are forums and eBay the only way to go for most people?

    Best!

  2. #2
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    Re: When does it make sense to use an auction house to sell watches?

    When you want to sell a Patek 5004.
    Last edited by Watchbreath; May 7th, 2018 at 06:04.
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  3. #3
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    Re: When does it make sense to use an auction house to sell watches?

    You can always use one. The question is gonna be, is it worth the fee? Auction houses usually charge the buyer *and* the seller.

    Nice answer is here:

    https://www.quora.com/What-percentag...on-houses-take

    So, those ancillary fees are likely fixed or a very small percentage (insurance). Anything fixed obviously means it makes more sense to go bigger-ticket. So usually, yeah, you're talking a high-end piece or something with particular interest and provenance. But there's hundreds of small auction houses out there too, so if you're willing to pay the fees, you can likely find a house that'll auction it. That should largely mean you don't have to worry about the deal going south, and you get to sit back and relax.

    I sold almost all my high-end pipes through a guy on eBay. He charged 35%, IIRC...BUT...he thoroughly cleaned and polished each piece, he wrote extensive, accurate descriptions, he took numerous, good pics, and he handled buyer relations and eBay fees. AND he has a reputation. All things considered, he at least doubled the sale prices, I suspect. I was completely happy to pay his commission, and I didn't have to deal with bad buyers.

    Now, whether an auction house will go this far...can't be better than a case by case basis. But it may be worth considering if the watch to be sold is notably expensive *to you.*
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    Re: When does it make sense to use an auction house to sell watches?

    When you are Russell Crowe.
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    Re: When does it make sense to use an auction house to sell watches?

    I believe it depends on how "special" the watch is. If the watch has an interesting provenance (was it owned by Paul Newman?) or is in some way unique (is there a misprint on the dial?), auction can be a good way to get the watch in front of collectors with deep pockets. Your hope then is that two such people take an interest and get into a bidding war. That way you can get a higher price than you would otherwise.

    If however it is simply a very nice, high-value watch, you might be better off selling through some other channel, setting the price you want.

    Ask an an auction house for an estimated reserve price. Then work out how much you would actually take home if it sold at that price. Would you be satisfied with that amount?

    I say this as somebody who has never sold at auction but recently looked into doing so, researched it quite a bit, and is still considering going down that road.

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    Re: When does it make sense to use an auction house to sell watches?

    Quote Originally Posted by MRPB View Post
    Ask an an auction house for an estimated reserve price. Then work out how much you would actually take home if it sold at that price. Would you be satisfied with that amount?
    I worded that in a confusing way. Estimate and reserve are different things. The estimate is usually given as a range within which the house expects the eventual "hammer price" will fall. The reserve is the minimum price it needs to reach in order to sell - if it doesn't hit the reserve you take it home again.

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    Member Minorcollector's Avatar
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    Re: When does it make sense to use an auction house to sell watches?

    When you don't mind paying the auction house 30% of whatever the watch sells for.
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    Re: When does it make sense to use an auction house to sell watches?

    I think you use an auction house to sell watches when you make so much money, its not worth your time to sell them yourself.

    I don't make that much so I sell them myself with acceptable results. I think if you treat selling a watch the same way a car with excellent images, text and super solid contact info; a person can sell their own watches.

    Many times a prospective customer for a particular watch will use an internet search to find it. As long as your watch is on the internet with good search words in the title it will show up. If it is a good deal a dealer might buy it and resell. That has happened to me.

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    Member Chris Stark's Avatar
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    Re: When does it make sense to use an auction house to sell watches?

    Most of the time, unless it's something the auction house really wants, you will seldom even receive a response.
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    Re: When does it make sense to use an auction house to sell watches?

    Quote Originally Posted by pelicanactor View Post
    Hi guys,

    I’m trying to learn about used watches sales.

    It is all in the title: When does it make sense to use an auction house to sell watches?
    Do they have a lower limit as to what the watches are worth?
    This would be for some somewhat collectible watches, not some massively produces watches bought 6 months ago.
    Or are forums and eBay the only way to go for most people?

    Best!
    Most auction houses sell watches. I've seen recent and/or vintage models of Seiko, Rolex, Bulova, Patek, Omega, Longines, Cyma, Illinois, IWC, etc., etc., at local or regional auction houses over the years. A wide range. A very few auction houses deal with very high end attention grabbing pieces. An auction house is used because it is convenient and because the watch can be advertised and presented to a wide audience of potential buyers. And they collect the money for you. Seller and buyer pay a commission for the services they offer so it isn't cheap.

    So if you are looking to sell some of your collection a condition based estimate of value would be a good starting point. Then subtract the fees associated with auction, Ebay or watch forum to see what you could net from the sale. You have to decide how much work and risk you are willing to undertake.

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