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All You Need To Know About Consignment When Selling Luxury Watches

Using consignment to sell watches might be the best thing, or the worst thing, you could do. Scenarios can differ depending on your circumstances. If you feel your time is more valuable than money, you might be better off consigning your luxury watches. On the other hand, if you feel you can get more money selling watches on your own, that might be your best approach. Each of you will have a specific situation, and hopefully, after reading this blog post, you will get a clear understanding about consigning your luxury watches.

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What is the consignment of luxury watches?

Consignment of luxury watches is an arrangement in which watches are left in possession of an authorized third party to sell. A third-party, aka consignor, gets a fixed fee or percentage of the sale.

Where are some places to sell watches on a consignment?

To sell luxury watches on a consignment, there are many available options for you to consider:

Online Consignment Store

Online Auction

Watch Dealers / Jewelers

Since there are lots of options when consigning your luxury watches, you need to determine which consignor best suits your personal preferences.

Online Consignment Store

Worthy and TheRealReal have similar approaches when it comes to consignment of your luxury watches. You will need to ship your watch to them before it is listed for sale on their sites. They will then inspect your watch to make sure it is exactly as you described.

The difference between these two sites is TheRealReal is a platform where watches are listed at a fixed price, as opposed to Worthy, which is an auction.

If you want to get your watch back from TheRealReal, you can simply contact their Customer Service. However, if an auction has already begun, and you have agreed on a reserve price, you are committed to selling your luxury watch for that price. If the highest bid is under the reserve price, you no longer have to sell it. You will have the option to sell it at the highest bid, which will be entirely your decision.

Once the watch is listed for sale, it is time for you to wait for someone to buy it. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee someone will buy your watch for the price listed. And because you gave your watch to them to sell it, you have no other opportunity to advertise it. All you can do is wait.

After they inspect the watch, they will take pictures of it and create an official listing for their site. An advantage of consigning your luxury watch is you do not have to spend time and effort trying to sell the watch on your own. You do not have to take pictures, create a description, or deal with potential scammers. On the other hand, you will be paying a high fee for the consignment service.

Other auction houses, like Sotheby’s and Christie’s, have a slightly different approach when consigning watches with them. These auction houses focus on high-end luxury watches, and you might not be able to list lesser expensive timepieces with them.

These two auction houses offer private sales, where buyers can inquire about the timepieces. Most luxury watches are auctioned on various dates listed on their sites, several times per year.

If you are looking to consign your watches and possibly get the most money out of it, an auction might be the best choice for you; however, your timepiece must meet the auction houses’ criteria.

Consigning with Watch Dealers / Jewelers

Consigning luxury watches with watch dealers or jewelers can be an excellent compromise. Watch dealers and jewelers have a large client base, and they know if they will be able to sell your luxury watch on a consignment relatively easy.

The way consignment works with watch dealers and jewelers is simple. You get an estimated payout for a timepiece and a rough time frame your watch should sell. If you like the price you would get out of it, you would give the watch to the consignor, aka watch dealer, to do all the work.

In general, using this consignment method is better because you can resell your timepiece much faster compared to big auction houses or consignment specialty online stores.

What is a typical consignment fee?

Consignment fees differ from platform to platform, as well as the third party you are planning to use.

Watch dealers/ Jewelers Consignment Fee

Consignment fees for watch dealers or jewelers can be fixed between $250-$500, or even more depending on the timepiece or percentage of the sale, which can range between 5-10%.

Online Consignment Store Fees

TheRealReal Consignment Fees:

  • 30% Watches with a resale list price of $995 – $2,994
  • 20% Watches with a resale list price of $2,994 +

Worthy Consignment Fees:

  • 22% Watches with a resale list price of 0 – $5,000
  • 15% Watches with a resale list price of $5,001 – $30,000
  • 14% Watches with a resale list price of $30,001+

Sotheby’s Consignment Fees:

Auction houses work a bit differently. They make money on a buyer’s premium. According to Sotheby’s, a buyer’s premium rate is 25% up to $400,000 value of the watch. If it is in excess of $400,000 but up to $4,000,000 the buyer’s premium is 20%

Christie’s Consignment Fees:

This auction house also makes money from the buyer’s premium. According to Christie’s, the buyer’s premium rate is 25% up to $300,000 value of the watch. If it’s in excess of $300,001 but up to $4,000,000 the buyer’s premium is 20%.

Is consignment of your luxury watch a good idea?

The answer depends on your current situation and the timepiece you are trying to consign. If you have a scarce watch and are looking to get the most money out of it, an auction might be your best option. If you are trying to save time and want to get the most money out of your watch, but don’t want to wait for an auction to happen, it might be wise to use a reputable watch dealer to help you sell the watch.  Each consignment method has its benefits and disadvantages, and you need to choose one that is right for you.

If you are looking to get the most money out of your watch, you should consider trying to sell the watch on your own or if you just need cash here are the best places to sell watches for cash.