Selling guides

Selling Broken Watches

Selling Broken Watches
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A guide for Selling broken watches

Selling broken watches is easier than you might think. In a lot of cases broken watches are used for spares and repairs, so there’s often a modest demand for spare parts. 

Of course, it pays to know your stuff. You would expect (in most cases) to get less money for a broken pocket watch than you would a broken Rolex

Used watches are also fairly easy to sell, but again, it's good to know how the second hand status can influence the value before you start selling. 

In this guide we’ll take you through everything you need to know about selling used and broken watches.

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Vintage Cash Cow’s broken watch expert

Meet Antony...

Vintage Cash Cow’s broken watch expert

He can talk about the gears inside a watch for well over an hour. His superpower is being able to identify an issue with a watch from nearly ten paces.

Antony has been trading in watches for over 50 years and in that time he’s learned how to repair watches and how to spot parts that can be used in other pieces. 

Watches should never be destroyed or thrown away, that’s something Antony is passionate about. Just because a watch is broken it doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value.

Sell broken watches contents

What to do with old watches that don't work

Watches are fragile. The inner workings of a watch are made up of hundreds of tiny gears, it only takes one accidental drop to stop a watch working. 

It’s easy to get watches repaired, but sometimes it’s uneconomical depending on the cost of the spare parts and the time it would take to fix a watch. 

Most of the time we put broken watches aside in the hopes that we will one day remember to get them repaired. In the meantime you buy a new watch and forget all about the old one. Then, before you know it you’ve got a tidy little haul of broken watches. 

So what do you do with broken watches? Keep them? Throw them away? Let’s find out.

What to do with broken watches

Until recently there were limited options for your broken watches. You could store them. Use the parts for something else, or get them repaired. These days you can actually make money selling your broken watches. 

Broken watches aren’t going to net you thousands of pounds, unless they are rare but depending on the brand of the watch and its state of repair you’ll still make some money.

What to do with used watches

There are more options for your used watches than your broken ones. Sometimes used watches can make great gifts, especially if your watch is unusual. 

You can sell used watches for cash. You may not make as much from used watches as you would from brand new ones, but if you have antique or vintage watches they may be worth more than you might initially think.

So what should you do with your broken and used watches? Well we’d recommend selling them, so in this guide we’ll explain everything you need to know about selling your broken and used watches.

Can broken watches still be fixed and sold?

Fixing a watch is pretty straightforward if you use a professional. If the watch has sentimental value and you never plan on selling it the repair will be more straightforward. 

Because watches are complicated there are so many parts of them that can get broken, and some parts are easier to fix than others. 

If you’re getting a broken watch repaired to sell on, then you’ll need to take some extra things into consideration when getting repairs so you don’t impact the value of the watch. If you have a branded watch or a Swiss watch you’ll need to get it repaired by a brand certified jeweller. So if you were repairing a Rolex you’d go to a Rolex certified jeweller. Firstly that will ensure that your warranty isn’t voided if the watch is opened by someone who isn’t a specialist, secondly it means the jeweller will use certified spare parts which shouldn’t impact the value of the watch too much. If in doubt check with the jeweller on how their repair will affect the value of the watch. 

When you go to sell the watch you’ll need to mention that it’s been repaired, but you can also show that the watch has been repaired by the appropriate specialist and that will help you make a better sale.

Can broken watches be recycled?

Yes for spare parts

At Vintage Cash Cow that’s something that makes us unique. Nothing we receive goes to waste. We can repair broken watches or use parts from broken watches to fix others. We’re passionate about making sure nothing goes to landfill, so even when we end up with an excess of spare parts we can save them until we’ve got enough to melt them down as scrap metal.

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Are used watches worth anything?

Used watches can still be valuable, but the price you can get selling your used watches will depend on what type of watch you have.

When watches command high values it is because they are collectable. Collectors favour specific antique and vintage watches and luxury watches like Rolex and other Swiss made brands. If your used watch is branded, designer, antique or vintage then you'll make money selling it. Always remember that how much you make is dependent on a lot of different factors. The age, condition and rarity of the used watch determines how much you can make when selling it.

Used watches that aren't very valuable tend to be modern, battery operated, mass-produced, non branded watches. These types of watch are produced in large numbers, so they are easy to get hold of, therefore they aren't very collectable and as a result, not very valuable. These kinds of watches can still be sold, but you won't make very much money selling them, especially if you sell them on their own.

Used digital watches can also be difficult to sell. These are usually mass produced, so they aren't in demand amongst collectors, you can still make a little money selling used digital watches, but unless you have a rare one, they won't be worth much.

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Are broken watches worth anything?

Broken watches can still command value, but how much you'll get for your broken watch depends on what kind of watch you have.

In the section about used watches above, we pointed out that antique, vintage, Swiss and designer watches tend to be favoured by collectors, that's what makes them valuable. The same goes for broken watches. While you might not make as much selling a broken watch as you would a working one, some broken watches can still fetch high sums of money.

When dealing with luxury and antique watches any repairs have to be carried out carefully with authentic parts, these parts come from broken watches. Collectors will often be on the lookout for broken watches, either so they can repair them and sell them on, or so they can use the broken watch to repair other watches.

Antique and vintage watches can still be valuable when they are broken, for the same reason, they can be repaired or used to repair other watches.

If a broken watch has a particularly attractive history, it might still be worth more than the same watch in perfect condition. You won't make as much selling old broken watches as you would if you had an antique or vintage watch in mint condition, but they are still valuable. 

When you sell broken watches, it doesn't really matter what part of the watch is broken. Sometimes even the movement from inside can make money when it's sold, especially if it's a branded or unusual movement.

As with used watches, modern, battery operated, mass produced, unbranded watches won't be valuable when broken. You would be unlikely to make any money selling these types of watches on their own. If you have a number of these kinds of broken watches try selling them as a group on eBay, sometimes crafters or jewellers will buy a group of broken watches for their gears. With these type of watches the more you sell in one go the more money you'll make and the more chance you'll have of making a sale.

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Why do broken watches retain value?

In the section above we explained that collectors often buy broken watches so they can repair them or use them to repair other watches, but this isn't the only reason they retain value. 

The value of a watch does depend on the collectors market. If a watch is in demand among collectors, and the watch is relatively rare, the watch will be worth more than one that isn't sought after.

Antique and vintage watches tend to retain value because they become rarer over time. They also have historical value which is of interest to collectors. Sometimes an antique watch that isn't that valuable can sell for a lot of money if it belonged to a person of interest.

Aside from their value watches can be valuable simply because of the materials they are made from. Some watches are made with gold, silver, diamonds or gemstones, these materials retain value even if the watch doesn't. Just because a watch is made with gold it doesn't make it intrinsically valuable as a watch. If it's a common model and it's not in demand it may only be worth as much as the material it's made from. Broken watches that are made from precious metals, if not intrinsically valuable can be sold for their metal content.

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Sell used watches

If you want to sell a used watch there are lots of options open to you. You can sell privately on a platform like eBay or Etsy or you can search out sites specifically for selling used items, like pre-loved. 

where to sell used watches

There are advantages and disadvantages to most selling methods, here we’ll talk you through what to look out for.

Selling used watches privately

One of the issues with private selling is that it comes with inherent risks, especially if you aren't knowledgeable in what you are selling. 

When selling privately you’ll need to price your used watches. Too high and they won’t sell, too low and you’ll lose out on money in the sale. 

Selling privately can take time, depending on the private selling method you use, so be prepared to spend a little time selling your used watches. 

Private selling is best if you only have one or two watches to sell and they are in good condition. If you have branded watches like a Rolex or Breitling they can still make excellent money when sold, so make sure you get any branded watches valued before selling. The same goes with vintage and antique watches, some old models can be worth a lot of money, it’s a good idea to know what you are selling before you go down the route of selling privately.

Selling used watches at auction

The only time you’d really want to go down the auction route with used watches is if you know you have something rare and valuable, or you have a large group of used watches to sell.

Auctions are a great way to sell something special, especially if there might be large sums of money involved. One of the great things about an auction is that there are specialists there who can value your used watches before they go under the hammer to be sold to the highest bidder.

The biggest disadvantage of an auction is the associated fees. Before considering an auction check how much your used watch is worth and compare that with the fees charged which will give you an idea of the profit you can make. 

If you do decide to sell at auction make sure you pick the right auction for your watch i.e. make sure your watch is sold at a watch auction rather than a general auction.

Sell used watches online

You can sell used watches online via the private selling methods we’ve already discussed, but did you know you could sell all your old, broken and used watches to Vintage Cash Cow for one easy instant payment? 

At Vintage Cash Cow we have a lot of experience buying watches, even if they are broken or in terrible condition. Our experts know when a watch is past its best, they also know when a watch can be repaired. Because they are well seasoned in Swiss and high-end brands, as well as vintage and antique watches, you can send us pretty much any watch in any condition. The only watches we don’t accept are unbranded modern battery operated watches. 

All you have to do is put any of your used, broken and unloved watches into a box along with any other items you want to sell. We’ll send you some free Royal Mail postage labels so you can send your box to us for free. If you can’t get to the Post Office we’ll arrange a free secure courier to transport the watches from your doorstep to ours. 

As soon as we have your box we’ll appraise it and give you a cash offer. If you accept the cash offer we’ll make an instant payment to you. If you don’t accept we’ll send your stuff back free of charge.

Sell used watches to Vintage Cash Cow

Best way to sell a used Rolex

You can sell used Rolex watches in the same way that you can sell other used watches, but there are a few extra things to watch out for. 

Because Rolex are highly collectable they tend to be worth a fair amount of money, but that means there are a lot of replica watches around. Before selling your Rolex make sure it’s real and that you get it valued. When you know how much it’s worth you’ll be able to make an informed decision on where to sell it.

If you have the box and the certificate of authenticity for your Rolex this is often enough to signify that your Rolex is real, but you should always look up the serial number online to authenticate it before you sell. It is an offence in the UK to sell a replica Rolex as a real Rolex, so when you sell the onus will be on you to make sure it's authentic.

If you don't have the box and the papers look for your serial number on the watch. This is usually located between the lugs at the 12 or 6 o clock position. You may need to take the strap off your Rolex to read the serial number, if this is the case make sure you take your Rolex to a jeweller who will be able to help you find the serial number without damaging the Rolex.

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Sell my broken watch

Selling a broken watch isn’t as easy as selling a watch that’s still working. The extent of the damage will usually impact how much you get paid for the watch

In rare instances broken watches can be worth as much as working ones. This can sometimes be the case with antique and branded watches.

Where to sell broken watches

You can sell broken watches in much the same way as used watches, but you may find there are less companies that will buy broken watches off you. Where you sell your broken watch will likely depend on how much you stand to make, so it's always a good idea to get your watches valued before you sell. 

Selling broken watches privately

Private selling is a great option if you only have a few broken watches to sell. The chances are that you won't make much for selling one broken watch, but you will make more if you sell broken watches in groups.

If you are selling broken antique, vintage or branded watches privately it's a good idea to get them valued by an expert first. An expert will tell you how much you can expect to make when selling your broken watches and will be able to spot anything rare, unusual and valuable.

When selling make sure you don't hide the fact that your watch is broken. If you aren't up front about how your watch is damaged you can expect trouble from your buyers down the line. When advertising your broken watch for sale, or discussing a sale with a buyer, explain what parts of the watch are damaged and offer photographs to help your buyer make a decision.

Selling broken watches at auction

Its not often that broken watches will come up in an auction. That's because they are usually uneconomical to sell this way when you take the fees into consideration.

Before selling at auction make sure you know how much your broken watches are worth, this will help you decide if the fees are worth paying. This might be a good option if you have a group of Swiss watches or antique and vintage watches.

Sell broken watches online

You can sell broken watches on a platform like eBay or Gumtree. Keep in mind that you likely won’t make much from your broken watches, so check that the fees aren’t too much before you start selling.

If you have a few broken watches to sell, and you’re using a platform like eBay, try selling them together as a group, you’ll likely make more money that way. 

To get the absolute best price for your broken watches we’d recommend selling them to Vintage Cash Cow. We are one of the few companies that are happy to give you an instant cash payment for your broken watches. Again, you likely won’t make much selling broken watches, but the advantage of selling to Vintage Cash Cow is that if any of your broken watches are something a bit special, our experts will be able to spot this and make sure it’s reflected in the price we pay for your watches. 

Because we are a decluttering service, we promote cleaning out in bulk, so don’t forget to put any other vintage items into your parcel with your broken watches for a fast easy way to sell them all at once. 

Find out what else vintage cash cow will buy

Who will buy my broken Rolex?

You can sell a broken Rolex in the same way that you can sell other broken watches. Just remember Rolex watches tend to fetch good money, even when broken, but there are also a lot of replicas about. Before selling your Rolex watch privately get it valued so you know you’re getting the best price and selling a genuine Rolex.

Broken Rolex watches can still be valuable as many collectors will either repair them or use them in the repair of other Rolex watches.  

You can sell broken Rolex watches to Vintage Cash Cow, we can appraise your broken Rolex watch as soon as we receive it and give you an instant cash offer. We would also advise you to send in any other vintage items you’d like to sell at the same time. 

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Selling broken and used watches to Vintage Cash Cow

Now you know what to do with your old used and broken watches sign up to Vintage Cash Cow for free to start making easy money from your old stuff. 

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Now you know how to sell your broken watches check out our other selling guides:

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