Why should you consign a watch?
What are my options?
When it comes to selling a watch, you really have three options: you can sell it yourself to a dealer or private party, trade it in towards another watch purchase, or consign it.
Selling it yourself
Selling a watch yourself is exactly as it sounds: you either take your watch to a dealer and sell it outright or you photograph it, list it, and eventually sell it yourself. Selling your own watch often has limitations. These limitations are based on your comfort level. Most people are not comfortable with large transactions with strangers, shipping valuable items, and putting in the work needed to sell their watch.
Trading your watch
Trading your watch is pretty straightforward: you pick out another watch that is for sale and trade your watch against that one. By trading, you can quickly get some of the value for your watch applied to the new one and have a new watch to wear. The downside is that not everyone wants another watch. Some people are consolidating their collection and others need the money. Also, trading is not the best way to get the best value for your watch. By trading to a dealer, they will negotiate so that they have sufficient room, not just to make a little profit, but to ensure that in the worst case scenario they will hit their margin. Many times they are factoring in the cost of a full overhaul, which very few watches need, a portion of their overhead, and the cost of having that watch in inventory for a period of time. In the end, you likely won’t be able to trade or won’t be happy with the trade offered to you.
Consigning a watch
While selling it yourself and trading it in have their benefits, consignment is the best course of action for most people looking to sell their watch.
When you consign a watch, you work together with an established and experienced watch dealer to achieve the same goal: a sale. You provide the watch; the dealer provides the knowledge and reputation.
By consigning a watch, you will consistently get more money for your watch than if you sell it yourself or trade it in. If you don’t believe me, keep reading.
Benefits of consignment
Think back to the last time you sold a car yourself, directly to a buyer. I'm willing to bet that you didn't have any fun and after all was said and done, you decided never to do that again.
Well, here’s the thing: selling a watch is a lot like selling a car, only worse. At least with cars, you have listings like Kelley Blue Book to determine universal value. People are familiar with cars, too, because most everybody in the United States owns a car.
However, when you sell a watch, there isn’t a general understanding of value - or even a general understanding of watches in the first place.
So, maybe you’d rather sell your watch to a dealer? But that’s not a great solution, either. When you sell anything outright to a dealer, they are not your friend, because your goals and theirs are not the same. They want the watch for the lowest price, while you want to sell it for the highest. Most people settle for what the dealer offers because of the nightmare of selling direct. It’s a no-win situation.
However, when you consign a watch, you and the dealer are a team. You are working together towards the same goal, which is selling your watch at the highest price possible. You provide the watch. The dealer provides the experience and reputation to get it sold. The right watch dealer knows the ins and outs of the watch market. They understand watch condition, and what that means to potential buyers. They understand what problems are fixable and what are catastrophic. The right can field calls, questions, and emails with potential buyers. They can explain the benefits of your watch vs another. The right dealer is set up to assess, fix, and maintain watches.
Watch dealers do this everyday and have the skill set. They are experts when it comes to buying, selling, and maintaining watches. They can take on the workload to make the sales process go smoothly, so that all you have to do is cash a big fat check, pour yourself a drink, and light up your favorite cigar.
Where to consign the watch?
So how do you find the right watch dealer?
The right dealer specializes in consignment. Period.
You don’t want to work with just any dealer. Most dealers work by buying inventory from private parties or wholesalers and then moving that inventory as fast as they can for as much as they can. They’re looking to make the most margin on THEIR product. If you consign with them, your watch is a bonus and an afterthought. It is inventory that they didn’t have to pay for, that they don’t have to be in a hurry to sell. Let’s say you consign a watch to them and they have a similar watch in inventory that they own. Which watch do you think they’re going to try harder to sell? They’re going to sell theirs, even if it isn’t in as good condition or as complete, because yours can sit and cost them nothing.
Also, most dealers charge a lot for consignment. The average consignment rate is around 25%. Some places charge more; some charge less. That means that when your watch sells, you’re only getting a check for around 75% of what the watch sold for.
Some dealers base their consignment rates on the selling price. For example, if the watch costs X they would charge 35%, XX they would charge 25%, and XXX they would charge 15%.
This is not so with FLÂNEUR.
FLÂNEUR charges 10% of the sale price for the consignment fee no matter how much your watch sells for.
Consigning with FLÂNEUR
FLÂNEUR is the eminent consignment watch dealer. What does this mean? This means that when you consign a watch with FLÂNEUR that we will put the same focus, energy, and effort into selling your watch as we do with all our others. We have no favorites here. We want all of our watches to be sold as quickly as possible, for as much as we can get, and to go to good watch homes. We have a perfect 100% placement rate and intend to keep it that way.
FLÂNEUR will work together with you to get the most for your watch while having the smoothest, stress free sales process.
How did FLÂNEUR become the eminent consignment watch dealer? FLÂNEUR’s founder, Steve Bridges, was selling his motorcycle. At that point in time, he was not trading up or getting another motorcycle and he had just gone through the process of selling another motorcycle himself, which took months. He went back to the dealership where he purchased the motorcycle and they made him an offer. It was lower than he hoped. His friend told him about another dealer, a different dealer, who only did consignments. Steve took his motorcycle there, spoke with the salesperson, decided on a price, and left his bike there. A couple weeks later he received a call letting him know that his bike was sold and received a check for significantly more than what the first dealer had offered him.
During this time, Steve was also buying, selling, and trading watches. Initially frustrated by the difficulty and the constant need to “watch his back” in watch deals, Steve wanted to figure out how he could make watch sales easier, like the consignment motorcycle dealer who made his motorcycle easier. So Steve poured himself into the business, figuring out everything he could about selling watches. Steve still buys, sells, and trades watches for his personal use, but his real passion is in helping others sell their watches.
Flâneur is French for someone who wanders with the purpose of having no purpose. At FLÂNEUR, we’re watch enthusiasts rather than collectors. We like to wander through the watch hobby and follow our whimsy. Whether it’s new, vintage, dress, sport, dive, chronograph, simple, complicated, big, or small we like to experience them all and not get bogged down with just one type or brand. At the same time, we recognize that not everybody is selling a watch to fund another watch. We’ve helped people free up money from an unloved watch to buy a house, invest in the stock market, adopt a dog, buy a motorcycle, deal with unforeseen expenses, buy a gift for their wife, and pay for their dream vacation among other things. What you do with the money is up to you. It’s up to us to get you the most that we can.
Final note here: although you can consign any watch, not every watch is great for consignment.
You are better off selling watches with a value of less than $1,000 yourself, rather than consigning. These watches are quickly bought and sold on places like eBay and Craigslist. The chance of getting scammed or having a deal go sideways are significantly lower than you’ll find with more-expensive watches.
Non-functioning watches or watches in need of major repair are also not great watches to consign. Most buyers are looking for watches that they can wear as soon as they receive them. Watches that are in need of repair complicate and extend the consignment process, due to the fact that they will need to be repaired prior to being listed.
The best candidates for consignment are watches that are in good serviceable condition that are at least $1,000 in value.