How to Flip Watches in 2023: A Comprehensive Guide

Are you a watch enthusiast who wants to turn your passion into profit? Or are you simply looking for ways to make extra income?

Flipping watches can be a rewarding venture if done correctly, and we at Timepiece Profits are here to show you how.

However, before diving deep into the potentially risky and expensive game of luxury watch investing, you need to understand the basics and start small.

Keep reading so we can lay out the game for you.

So…why watches?

Why Watches Have Resale Value

Watches are a human achievement that’s up there with the invention of the wheel and the discovery of fire. Being able to track time as it passes is invaluable to society and also a mechanical feat.

It’s no wonder then that there are many watch enthusiasts that make up a multi-billion dollar aftermarket.

No matter how much technology advances, the good old-fashioned wristwatch will always hold value and interest as an alternative asset which is reported to keep growing throughout 2023 and beyond.

Plenty of people make money trading Rolex or other high-end watches.

As a beginner, it’s recommended to stay away from pricier timepieces.

With the right strategy and knowledge, you can make profits with a smaller budget once you begin to develop an understanding of the market.

Here’s how to start flipping watches in 2023.

How to start flipping watches

Step 1 to flipping watches is to understand the market that you’re in.

Before jumping into the marketplace, you need to understand how pricing works.

Setting the right price for your watches is crucial to your success as a reseller.

Consider factors such as the brand, condition, and rarity of the watch when setting your prices.

Next, you’ll want to look at the current market.

The secondhand watch market is made up of in-person and online trading platforms.

There are many old school buyers who like to deal face to face, but many of the younger buyers prefer to transact online.

As a watch flipper, you’ll gain the greatest understanding of the market by getting familiar with these peer-to-peer platforms for watch trading online.

Online Watch Marketplaces

Here are some of the most popular online watch marketplaces:

  • eBay: Watches are one of the largest categories on eBay’s extensive marketplace, and for a reason. This is a great place to find deals internationally and score good prices via auction. Make sure to check the seller’s reputation, read the description, and ask any necessary questions before buying.
  • Jomashop: When you navigate to their watch page, you’ll see that there are steep discounts on brand name watches, which causes many people to question whether or not their watches are legit. Since Jomashop is a grey market dealer, the watches are 100% authentic but they may be in pre-owned condition and are often missing the original manufacturer warranty. The discounts are also taken off of an inflated retail price, so to see if a specific watch is a good deal, check eBay sold listings for comparisons.
  • Chrono24: Established in 2003, Chrono24 is a dedicated marketplace for watches that has become a reputable name in the scene. Its revenue–estimated around $150 million annually– has been growing every year.
  • Watchuseek: This is an older forum where many people hang out and talk about watches. You can browse their marketplace to see if there are any good deals to flip. It’s a great place for networking and doing price and model research.
  • Grailzee: One of the newest watch marketplaces to hit the scene in 2022. Their marketplace is catered more towards individuals that want to sell luxury watches. It is largely US based. They have good customer service and aim to offer a seamless and fair experience for both buyers and sellers.

Local Marketplaces for Watch Flipping

Dealing in local marketplaces such as Craigslist and Facebook marketplace can be a great way to find a good deal, but make sure you vouch the seller and get references if you can.

As both a buyer and a seller, you need to be cautious of scams.

The most common scams in local marketplaces are:

  • Fake checks
  • Counterfeit bills
  • False wire transfers
  • Phishing messages
  • Shipping scams

Accepting authentic cash, a verified check or money order and non-reversible payment such as Zelle and crypto is the best way to protect yourself as a watch flipper.

The best watch brands to collect and sell

The obvious luxury brands to target are:

  • Rolex
  • Omega
  • Audemars Piguet
  • Breitling

However, you’ll need to learn the less obvious brands if you are starting with a smaller budget.

These include:

  • Oris
  • Baume & Mercier
  • Longines
  • Bell & Ross
  • Seiko

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Watch Dealer Soft Skills

In order to flip watches, particularly luxury watches, you need great people skills.

Sales is all psychological–simply adjust your personality, act and grow and you’ll be able to sell anything once you have the knowledge.

Excellent customer service is crucial in building a loyal customer base.

Positive traits that will allow for success include:

  • Responding to inquiries promptly
  • Providing accurate information
  • Handling any complaints or issues professionally

Ensure that you maintain open communication with your customers and build a positive reputation as a trustworthy and reliable seller.

Remember that your word is everything! Stay true to it and watch the rewards come in over time.

Budget Requirements To Trade Luxury Watches

The budget requirement to trade luxury watches can vary wildly depending on which watches you are planning to sell:

  • If you want to trade high end watches such as Rolex, you need at least $10,000
  • For mid tier high end watches like Breitling and Omega, you need at least $5,000 to start
  • If you have $2000, you can trade vintage watches and some Seiko models
  • For those with a budget of as low as $50-$100, you can get started in the watch game with desirable pieces made by Timex or other similar high quality, low budget watch brands

One key to success is to understand the overall market conditions for high end watches, which thankfully in 2023 are looking quite good.

According to Statista, the luxury watch market is a growing segment and the global luxury watch market is expected to grow from $48.38 billion in 2023 to $53.5 billion by 2028.

This growth is being driven by a number of factors, including the increasing wealth of consumers in emerging markets, and the growing popularity of watches as a status symbol.

The increasing demand for watches with unique and limited-edition features is incentivizing watchmakers to continue their production.

There’s an emerging trend of younger buyers, driven partially by watch resellers like Vookum.

Although high-end watch sales of brands like Rolex are still done mostly in person, online sales, which make up only about 25% of the sales volume, are forecasted to grow.

Where Do I Actually Buy And Sell Luxury Watches For Profit?

In order to most effectively flip luxury watches for profit, you need to do price research and cross-platform arbitrage.

To summarize cross-platform arbitrage in a sentence, it’s the typical principle of buy low, sell high.

You take this principle and apply it to certain watch models.

However, knowledge of all of the exact marketplaces including those that have watches for the best prices is necessary.

You’ll also need to understand average pricing and what current market rates are for specific models.

Since there are almost countless models of watches that you can resell, we advise you to learn about one specific brand, pick a few models, and track the prices of that model everywhere you see them.

You’ll see a price discrepancy, or a spread, and that’s where your profit is made.

Be sure to take into account potential platform fees, shipping and taxes when calculating profits.

As you do more research, you’ll realize the opportunities are abundant.

One example is a Seiko Alpinist SARB117 in green, a model that has been discontinued.

Its original retail price was $550.

Looking at eBay sold listings of the model, you’ll see price ranges from around $600 to over $1000:

This means a potential profit of a few hundred dollars if you are able to secure the watch for a good price and flip it for more.

We go in-depth on exact models, pricing, different platforms and marketplaces in the full Timepiece Profits guide.


Now that we’ve covered a broad overview of how to get started flipping luxury watches in 2023, let’s go over a few of the commonly asked questions.

What brands of watches are in high demand for resale?

On the more expensive end, luxury and vintage watches are in high demand for resale, especially those from popular brands such as Rolex, Omega, Breitling, IWC and Patek Philippe. Lower to mid-range watches that sell quickly include Seiko, Hamilton, Timex and Tag Heuer.

Is it necessary to have certifications and documentation for the watches I sell?

Having certifications and documentation such as papers that show warranties and certificates of authenticity is essential to get top value for your watch.

However, if you don’t have the associated papers, you can still sell your watch. You won’t get as high of a price and you may need a jeweler or independent inspector to verify the authenticity of your timepiece.

Can I sell watches without a physical store?

Yes, you can sell watches through online marketplaces like eBay, Chrono24 and Reddit, or through your own website without a physical store. One good strategy is to build up a social media presence and create an email list to have a loyal audience to showcase your inventory to.

How can I ensure that my watches are shipped safely?

If you’re shipping high end watches, you must have insurance and a tracking number for your own records and for the buyer’s security.

Make sure the insurance is enough to cover the price of the watch to account for the worst case scenario of the watch being lost or damaged. Finally, use signature confirmation to ensure that the buyer has received their watch.

How can I build a positive reputation as a seller?

People want to do business with people they like. If you’re simply reliable in your communications and pleasant to deal with, that will take you far. Provide excellent customer service, respond to inquiries promptly, and handle any complaints or issues professionally. Ensure that you maintain open communication with your customers and prioritize their satisfaction.

Remember, success in reselling watches requires patience, knowledge, and dedication. By following the tips outlined in this article and staying up-to-date with industry trends, you can turn your passion for watches into a profitable business. Good luck!

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