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Selling Your Watch Part IV: Where the Buyers Are

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Guides | 05.30.2012

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In Part I we did our homework; Part II we took some photos; Part III we wrote up our post. Now, we need to find a buyer.

Before the internet selling your watch would have involved classified ads, trips to antique and jewelry stores, even perhaps maybe flea markets and the like. Today, thankfully, things are much easier. Sort of. It is easier to get the word out but the options for that word are where you have to make some choices. So where do we start?

Fishing in The Bay

A lot of people will still turn to eBay first when they consider selling an item. After all, it is the worlds largest ongoing garage sale. And therein lies the problem: it is so large and there are so many postings it can be difficult to make your watch stand out from the crowd. Frequently the best option is to simply spell out in the clearest terms possible what you are selling. Use the subject of the listing to to summarize with the make, model, model #, movement, and condition, in that order, fitting as many as possible on the line. For example: Omega Speedmaster 3590.50.00 cal. 1861 Very Good – this is short, but it hits the main points a buyer would look for in one brief sentence (or fragment). From there use the description and photos from parts 2 & 3 to create the rest of your listing. The next decision with eBay is whether to run an auction or a Buy it Now. For those unfamiliar, and auction is just that: you set a starting price and an auction length and let potential buyers have at it. If you are concerned about selling too low you can set a reserve price: if the auction does not hit that value your watch does not sell. Or, since you have done your homework and know what you want for the watch, you can set it as a Buy it Now (BIN) which is a single sale price, no auction. If someone wants the watch they click the BIN button and pay, done. How you run things is up to you in the end. Keep in mind, eBay is just one option.

Focusing on the Forums

eBay can be a fine venue, but it is frequently loaded with less than trustworthy people (unfortunately). And the fees associated with the auctions can add up, from listing fees to closing fees you can find yourself paying more than you expected if you are selling a pricer item. Another option, and really the more popular one among watch buyers today, is watch sales forums. All of the popular watch forums have some sort of sales forum where private individuals can sell and buy watches. The benefits of sales forums over eBay include fewer listings so your watch will be easier to find; a strong sense of community where people look out for one another; and no fees. Some pretty strong points, which is why most prefer selling via this method. So which forum should you choose? The easy answer: as many as you can. Typically listing on multiple forums is the best way to hit the widest audience and sell your watch. It does require some coordination to keep track of your postings on each forum, but in the end you’ll find it’s the quicker way to sell. There are several places to sell, but this group will hit a large segment of the watch buying community:

TimeZone Sales Corner (items below $5000)
WatchUSeek Private sellers and Sponsors
Poor Man’s Watch Forum Sales & Trade Forum (below $100 here, over $1000 here)
Watchnet Trading Post

If you choose to cross post to multiple forums be careful to familiarize yourself with the forum rules if it is your first time posting. The last thing you want is to have your post removed or end up banned because you broke a rule you did not realize you were breaking. From there use the description from part 3 and the photos from part 2 and post that watch. Get it sold! But what happens if it doesn’t sell?

It’s not selling! Now what?

An important rule of watch selling is “Be Patient”. Most watches won’t sell in the first hour, a lot of times even the first day. Just sit back and wait for the right buyer, they will come along. Most of the forums (again, check the rules) will allow you to repost or “bump” your watch after 24 hours of the initial listing. This will bring your post back to the top of the list for fresh eyes to see. If you have gone a few days with no activity it may be time to consider your price. Although you did your homework in Part 1 the climate of what’s hot and not can change quickly, so you may have to consider your price and if it can come down any. If so, relist the watch with the lower price on the forums. And again, be patient. It may take a week for the right buyer to come along, but they will.

It sold! Now what?

When that buyer does come along communication becomes key. Respond to all emails timely and completely. If someone offers to pay you a different way than you have asked politely decline. Same goes for lowball offers; simply say no thank you and move on to the next one. When a buyer says “I’ll take it” and sends you the funds ship promptly as well; let the buyer know your timetable. Maybe you cannot get to the post office for three days, let the buyer know so they don’t feel left hanging. Finally go back and mark your sales posts on the forums as sold to prevent email offers from coming in after the fact.

Selling a watch can be a bit of work, but if you do your homework, have some good photos and a complete description it can end up being a rewarding experience as well. Your watch has a new owner and you have funds for that next piece, where you move from the seller to buyer.