How To Become A Watch Dealer And Make Profitable Trades

Becoming a successful watch dealer involves a lot more than just figuring out which timepieces you can buy low and sell high. While pricing is a critical part of making successful trades, you have to take decisive actions to turn watch trading into a business. 

As a watch dealer, you have to work on building a network, excellent reputation, and expert-level knowledge of specific watch niches. 

What we will provide you on this page is a guide on how to actively work on those areas, so that you set yourself up for success by focusing on the right goals. 

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What Skills Do You Need As A Watch Dealer 

There are five key areas where you will have to work on building your skills, and you have to be honest with yourself to determine which ones you need to work on the most. 

Here are the most critical skills you need to develop: 

  • Research skills: You’ll be doing the majority of your research using Google and a few authority websites in the watch space. However, knowing how to find information to identify a specific watch will require you to do more than just type keywords into a search engine; you need to work on your Sherlock Holmes skills. 
  • Sales skills: The only way you’ll consistently make money as a watch dealer is if you can maximize the spread between your buy and sell prices. Achieving pricing success will require working on your sales tactics in both verbal and written form. 
  • Organizational skills: Buying and selling one watch at a time doesn’t require much organizational skill, but to get to the dealer stage, you’ll need to juggle an inventory of dozens of timepieces and all the relevant details. 
  • People skills: While you can do a lot of your buying and selling online, once you get to the dealer stage involving high-end luxury watches, you will likely need to communicate directly with buyers and sellers–these people skills are also critical for building out your network. 
  • Financial skills: You will also need to start managing your expenses and revenue in a lot more detail–as a watch dealer, you’ll be running a business and not just a hobby with occasional transactions. 

If some of these skills seem daunting to you, the good news is that you can (and should) gradually work on them. And you will build these skills naturally as you start trading more watches. 

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and becoming a watch dealer won’t happen overnight, either. 

How Quickly Can You Start A Watch Business?

The speed with which you can transition from a casual watch trader to a successful watch dealer will depend on how much time you can invest and how much money you have to get started. 

Let’s look at some examples. 

Many people start off with a budget of $1,000 to $1,500, and they might buy one or two watches to trade. They might also take a slow approach and aim for one completed transaction (from initial purchase to completed sale) at a time, which might take them three weeks. 

At that pace, it will likely take a few years to build up enough experience, expertise, and cash reserves to build a business. 

However, if you aim to get to a point where you can cycle through completed transactions in 10 days or less with two watches in progress at a time, then you could be completing six transactions a month. 

With this approach, you could be a watch dealer with a large inventory within a year. 

Choose Your Market Segment

There is a temptation for many newcomers to buying and selling watches to try and focus on all brands. 

But that scattered approach comes at a major cost. 

The luxury watch market is far too big to be able to get a good enough knowledge within just a few years. That’s why almost every professional luxury watch dealer will focus on a specific niche. 

Choosing your niche even means going for a smaller market segment than all Rolex watches. Rolex sells hundreds of different watches, and if you go back 20 years, there are hundreds more. 

It’s just too much to absorb in a short space of time. 

You should explore many types and brands of watches when you get started, but narrow your focus down as soon as possible. 

Maybe it’s Rolex Daytonas, Omega Speedmasters, Tag Heuer Monacos, or Patek Philippe Nautilus. 

Tag Heuer Monaco Caliber 12 (CAW2111.FC6183) Chrono24 from 2024

The advantage of this approach is that you can gain expert knowledge from research a lot sooner, and you become very familiar with models and prices to ensure your transactions are more successful. 

Develop Expert Knowledge About Your Market

If you’ve ever met watch dealers or listened to them in interviews, podcasts, or YouTube videos, you’ll notice one thing: they can talk for hours about their expert area without stumbling or having to look up facts. 

The way you can achieve expertise is by spending the majority of your research time on your chosen market segment. 

Spend time researching market trends and monitoring sales prices. Read as many watch blogs and magazines as possible, but focus on those articles that are relevant to your market. 

You can still pay attention to all types of watch brands out of interest, but your focus has to be on becoming an expert in your field. 

A focused approach like this will make you stand out when you communicate with watch buyers and sellers, and it will help you become more confident in networking. 

More on networking shortly. 

Create A Pricing Strategy For Buying And Selling 

In order to successfully buy and sell watches online, you have to understand the most recent pricing trends in your niche. See, the watch industry is like the stock market: prices are constantly fluctuating, but there is a general trend in one direction or the other. 

The great advantage for a watch dealer vs. an investor is that you really don’t have to worry too much about whether the overall trend is up or down. 

Luxury brands will always be in demand, and your focus “just” needs to be on buying your inventory for less than you can potentially sell it for. 

My recommendation for a pricing strategy is to start with the minimum resale value. 

To work out the resale value, we use two options. 

The first thing you can do is head to Chrono24 and find the watch that you’re thinking about buying and flipping. Sort the search results by price and look at the minimum sales price on offer. 

Deduct 10% from that price and use the value as your minimum achievable resale price. 

For example, the lowest price for an Omega Globemaster for men on Chrono24 is about $4,100 right now. Deduct 10%, and you have a rough minimum resale value of $3,700. 

Omega Globemaster (130.33.39.21.03.001) Chrono24 from 2024

The second option is to do a search on eBay. Filter the search results by closed and completed listings, and you’ll get a good indication of recent prices. 

With a pretty reliable minimum achievable resale price, you’re now in a position to know what you’d want to pay for a watch in order to have a decent profit margin. 

After the costs of listing and selling the watch, you’d want to aim for a 15% to 20% profit margin in order to make your own business successful. 

Network With People Selling Luxury Watches

When it comes to networking, you need to be conscious of your people skills. It’s vital that you become comfortable talking to strangers in a way that makes them want to spend time with you. 

The good news is that talking to watch enthusiasts and other dealers isn’t all that difficult. These people are more than happy to spend all day talking about watches, and if you’re building expertise in an area they’re also interested in, then these conversations will naturally flow. 

Your goal for networking should be to build relationships with sellers. 

Even if they work with price ranges far in excess of what your initial plan is, it can happen that these watch dealers end up with cheaper timepieces that they won’t sell directly to their customer base. 

In these situations, watch traders often try to find someone in their network to quickly offload it. 

We recommend that you focus on the following opportunities to network with dealers who sell luxury watches: 

  • Social media platforms
  • Auction sites
  • Trade Shows
  • Website forums

Ask every dealer you meet what their area of expertise is and tell them that you’ll send potential buyers to them. 

Successful watch dealers will never turn down the opportunity to network. 

Work On Your Seller Reputation

The final piece of advice I’ll give you is that you have to focus on your reputation from day one. The watch industry is built on reputation and trust, and a bad transaction experience or poor advice on social media can set you back a long way. 

With experience starting out from scratch with watches that sold for only a few hundred dollars, we can tell you that it’s never too early to focus on these four priorities: 

  • Become active on social media
  • Help people out in watch forums
  • Start a blog website
  • Offer excellent customer service

The buyers and sellers you work with can be your best marketing strategy by providing feedback about successful transactions to others. The best part is that such a marketing strategy won’t cost you any money. 

Learn How To Trade Luxury Watches

Once you’ve narrowed your attention down to a market segment and have a solid pricing strategy, you’ll feel confident enough to buy watches with minimum risk. 

If you want to learn more about how to become a watch dealer, then start with our Timepiece Profit Guide

This guide offers a lot more in-depth and actionable advice on how to go from your first watch transaction to building a successful watch business. 

We also go into detail about the best watch brands to get started with flipping and investing, even if you only have a budget of a few hundred dollars. 

We also offer free advice on our blog–this includes different timepieces and pricing strategies, as well as information on where to get all the important information for luxury watches. 

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