Collecting watches is a very personal thing. It is an expressive extension of our personalities and choices – what works for someone does not work for others and hence buying a watch can result in some great additions to your collection. However, there comes a time for most of us when during the lifetime of collecting watches we decide to part with one or two (or often more).
This can happen for a number of reasons ranging from the pursuit of a grail watch where personal sacrifices need to be made, to realising that although we really like certain timepieces, we are just not wearing them much. This then represents a considerable investment that is not being used. In addition as we grow older we also typically gain more disposable income and learning from our experiences and changing tastes, find what used to be the unobtainable, within potential reach.
So how might you go about parting with your watches?
While many people use eBay, it’s business model is inherently designed to support buyers through lowering their risk. However selling on eBay isn’t quite so ‘risk free’. There is of course the risk of fraudulent or unscrupulous buyers claiming the watch is not genuine or claiming it has been returned and getting their money back through PayPal (as they are protected) and you never see the watch again. While this is not necessarily commonplace, it has happened on a number of occasions and as a seller it’s a risk you must be aware of. In addition, eBay requires quite an investment in time, and results often fall short of hopes and expectations. Lastly, the eBay and PayPal fees which are around 10% – which makes you ask the question why they take so much when you have to do all the hard work?
An alternative you may consider is part exchanging them for the watch you want with a pre-owned specialist, like Watchfinder for instance. While this can offer you a great level of convenience and I must say I have in the past personally chosen this method, they are in the business of selling pre-owned watches which means they need to have a margin in their sale, unlike selling directly to another collector. This means you will inherently not get the best value for your watches – which is the price you pay for convenience.
So what’s the alternative? Well you could choose to use a broker such as James from KibbleWatches.co.uk. Brokers work in much the same way that an estate agent does. They perform all the hard work in photographing, listing, promoting and selling your watch on your behalf for a small percentage of the sale. A key benefit of brokers is that they typically become well connected within the industry so they are able to draw upon those relationships in a way that you or I can’t.
This is the route I most recently took when I chose to part with a couple of my Tudors. I wanted to get the best realistic price possible for them as I was buying another hi-value piece. I didn’t have the time to create two eBay listings, write ups, photographs and then spend ages haggling with people wrongly trying to negotiate a price reduction because they’ve seen a worst condition watch with missing papers for cheaper elsewhere. So having met and spoken to James previously I gave him a call and asked to meet up.
James is well known within the intimate watch circles in London and further afield, so he has a lot to lose if his reputation becomes tarnished. This results in him being open, honest and friendly as his desire is for you to be as happy with the outcome as possible – happy customers are good business!
My experience was extremely straight forward, painless and surprisingly quick. I met with James in central London and we reviewed and discussed my two watches and my personal aspirations for what I might hope to achieve. This is an extremely important part as being realistic up front about their condition and value saves endless conversations and heartache later. He agreed that in this particular case, both watches were in extremely good condition and having the box, papers, hang-tags etc placed them as premium examples. We discussed and agreed what would be realistic to achieve for the watches as well as him gaining an understanding as to what the minimum I might hope to achieve for them. I cannot emphasise enough how important it is to get this step right. Having an unrealistic expectation of your watch’s worth can be crippling for you and the broker, as it results in watches that don’t sell. This means you don’t have funds freed up and the broker ends up promoting a watch he can’t find a new home for. No one wins. We also discussed and agreed a reasonable rate for commission. This will reflect the work that the broker has to put in to selling your watches including good photography, advertising and promoting them, leveraging contacts within the trade, negotiating on your behalf, and finally (and very importantly!…) acting as escrow ensuring cleared funds are received before parting with your watches. This critical step protects you as the seller from losing your watches through fraud.
From there I signed a consignment contract with James containing all the above details on it, and left him with my watches to photograph, promote and sell on my behalf through KibbleWatches.co.uk supporting this with promotions through a number of social media platforms.
Within a mere 7 days through contacts within the industry and previous customers James had successfully negotiated the price within the range we had previously discussed and agreed a sale. He then contacted me with the good news and arranged a bank transfer for the sale price (minus his previously agreed commission)
Overall I achieved a great price for both watches – higher than I would have achieved by part exchanging the watches through watchfinder, in a short time with no stress or hassle. What more could I ask for?
My experience was refreshingly simple & straightforward and as James is a knowledgeable collector himself, it felt more like chatting to an old friend rather than negotiating a business deal.
All in all I cannot recommend KibbleWatches.co.uk highly enough. If you are considering parting with a watch I would suggest you give him a call!
KibbleWatches contact details:
Mobile: 07786 515664
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What is a typical / fair fee for brokers (in percentage)?
That’s a great (and very hard) question. Generally speaking the more expensive the watch the more flexibility there is in the brokers fee. In addition it all depends how much work the broker is going to have to do – is the watch an obscure watch that few have heard of with little demand needing much more promotion by the broker? While it’s possible to negotiate a low fee for a high value watch, no broker is going to sell a £250 watch for 5%. This is why the negotiation of fee is completely related to what the broker is selling on your behalf.