Time Is Money: the 5 Best Watches to Consign
Fine watches are our fastest-growing category at The RealReal with desirable styles selling within seconds. The quick turnaround certainly makes consigning a watch with us easy, but it also comes down to trust. “Our incentives are aligned with yours as the consignor,” says Michael Groffenberger, Senior Director of Fine Jewelry & Watches. “You might go to a second-hand dealer with your father’s Rolex Submariner that he paid $800 for in 1965, and the dealer might gauge your lack of knowledge and offer you $2,000. In reality, the price should be closer to $50,000. We do the research to make sure we’re offering your watch at the highest value possible.”
Here, Groffenberger highlights five of the best watches to consign on The RealReal that sell quickly and give you, as the consignor, top resale value and money in your pocket.
1. The IWC Portuguese Chronograph
“This watch has become an icon for the IWC brand — you can wear it with a suit and tie or dressed down. It’s a very classic design, and since IWC has kept a lid on massive price increases on it, it’s one of the best watches for the price point and you’re getting a lot more value for your money.”
“We can sell this watch 30% off retail in the $5,000 range, so if you bought yours five years ago and decide to consign it, it’s probably in the same price range that you paid for it.”
2. The Rolex Submariner
“It’s the most iconic watch in the industry — there will always be demand for it, and sometimes the older it is, the more valuable it is. You might have paid $3,500 for a Rolex Submariner in 1995, and we could probably sell it for almost $5,000. So not only did it appreciate in value, you got to wear it for twenty years.”
3. The Cartier Ballon Bleu
“If you made the Ballon Bleu independent of Cartier, it would be the fourth largest luxury watch brand in the world — it has a big fan base. It’s one of those iconic pieces that people are always looking for. It’s not just a round watch; the crystal and case back are curved, so the watch has a unique profile. It has a nice feminine feel, even in larger sizes.”
“In the watch industry, people think that women are more apt to buy new, but the great thing about consigning with us is we have a strong following of women consumers who buy second-hand watches, so we’re able to get more value for them.”
4. The Bvlgari Tubogas
“It’s very on-trend right now with its ’70s feel, and the design is completely iconic to Bvlgari — there’s nothing else like it in the watch industry. The Tubogas balances the look of a Bvlgari watch with the feminine aesthetic of jewelry, making it more than just a timepiece. While an average watch dealer may not give it much attention, it’s a design that our audience loves, and it holds its value well for a women’s watch.”
“The Panerai brand has such a cult following due to its unique look, and every single Panerai watch is numbered, so they only make a certain number of them every year. Our customers really understand the value of that rareness. Up until the late ’90s, they weren’t even selling watches to the public, only to the Italian navy.”
Interested in consigning your luxury watch at The RealReal? Get started here, or purchase an investment timepiece that holds its value with our latest fine watch arrivals.