Making Money Flipping Rolex Watches
One of the most often asked questions I get is how much money do you make buying and selling watches? To be honest, it really depends on the watches I sell. Most of the customers who ask me this, are referring to Rolex Brand watches. They always want to know if I’m actually making money selling them. The true answer to this is yes, but it is a loaded answer to a loaded question.
Maybe, you’re interested in buying and selling Rolex Watches. You’re looking for a way where you can add a few dollars to your wallet at the end of the money, and you love Rolex watches, (or any other high end brand), and figure, hey, why not. Buying and selling watches involves quite a bit of education, knowledge and know-how!
Buying and Selling watches is fun, exciting and can sometimes be one of the most frustrating things about working in the watch industry that you can have. You’ll meet some of the nicest people. You’ll work with some of the meanest people. You’ll find out the hard way who you can trust and who you should avoid at all costs.
Some people in this business are down right evil, but for the most part, more often than not, everyone is helpful and cooperative.
I want to cover a few things in this article that you need to know. These are important factors for getting into this industry and being successful at it.
- Know where to buy
- Know what to buy
- Know the selling price averages for the model watches you want to sell
- Know the common issues with these watch models
- Know someone you can work with who can service the items you wish to sell
- Have contacts to both buy and sell
- Understand parts, costs and profit
- Know the aftermarket parts available and how they effect the margins
- Be kind, considerate and attentive to the people you work with and sell to
These are some of the most important things I can stress to you, but not everything you should be aware of. Most of this industry is learned by trial and error. By Success and by Failure. You will no doubt have a failure that brings you to your knees, but, the successes you have, like golfing, will keep you coming back.
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Knowing Where to buy!
Over time, during your lifetime, you have accumulated many contacts and friends. What you do with those is up to you. If, like me, you value these contacts, you remember them, store them and use them in the future to drive more people to your inner circle, whether for friendships or for professional reasons.
Getting your hands on watches, such as Rolex is easier than you may imaging. Perhaps you already know someone who is interested in selling a watch they have, or trading in for a newer model. (As you may guess, this article is really geared towards buying and selling used Rolex watches, not new ones. Becoming a Rolex Dealer is Extremely Costly, both in Time and Money).
Maybe you have a large selection of friends on social media. Sometimes, just putting a post online that you are looking for a Rolex, or maybe more specifically a certain model, someone may reward you with just what you want in a quick post.
For those of you who choose other ways, the next would be a watch trade show. For example, if you are now already a member of the NAWCC (National Watch and Clock Collectors, consider joining. Membership is inexpensive, and once you are accepted, you can look for local chapters and members that you can trade with, speak to and buy from. Keep in mind, if you are looking to buy and sell Rolex or other high end watches, small towns and cities are often not the place. I’m sure that there are not many Rolex customers in a town like, Richland Missouri. However, cities like Las Vegas, Miami, Tampa, NY, San Francisco etc., will have a large population of people who meet the demographic for buying Rolex Watches.
If you have gotten access to trade shows, collector meets or the like, than start with Ebay. Believe it or not, Ebay proves to bee a good resource for marketing on Rolex watches. Don’t look at the stuff that is for sale, however, take the time, and use your account to filter out for the following online…
Look for a specific model, then use Ebay’s filter option to search “Sold” items, and then narrow it down by the country’s region, i.e., North East, South West, etc.
Another good source to check out are Dealers Retail stores. Yes, in larger cities, you will typically find one or more dealers who carry Rolex and other high end watches in a retail environment. Sometimes you can approach these dealers, and get yourself a good deal on a watch, that, perhaps has been in stock for a while. They need cash flow, and you may be able to help.
They can often be a good source for more and other models, so, make friends with these people, as they may be able to help you in the future.
Additionally, Pawn shops can sometimes be good places to get deals on high end watches. Visit these stores often, make good contacts, and usually, once you’ve established a buying habit, you may be the first person they call, to unload that perfect condition Rolex! LOL! Keep in mind, they are often the best place for very good deals!
Keep the most important factor I can tell you in mind at all times. The price you pay for a watch to flip, must be dependent on what you can sell it for, and sometimes, this may also include repairs or restoration.
Who is your Customer?
don’t count anyone out! I’ll give you a short and small example. My first jewelry store was located in a small town outside a large city. In that town, there where many people from all walks of life and all professions. Once of the best customers I had there, an older gentleman, spent more money in my store then most of my customers combined.
He purchased only the best for himself and especially his wife. Diamonds, Rolex, Tag, Sapphires and many other high quality items. I did all his repair work for him. He became one of my closest friends over the years. The very first time we met, he brought in an old Cuckoo Clock for service. He was covered from head to toe in oil and grease. He smelled like an old farm tractor, and drove a twenty-five year old Ford pickup truck. This man was the largest independent farmer for sixty miles, and had one of the most desired collections of antique tractors in the country.
I didn’t know that when I met him, and to be honest, it took me a good six months to get to know him and his family well enough to even earn the trust to be told who he was and what he did. Never judge a book by its cover. I’ve learned that the wealthier someone is, the more modest a lifestyle they tend to live. They also don’t part with money for anything but the best of what they hold valuable.
In the last store I had, in a wealthier city, most of the lawyers who came into my store, on the other hand, wore fake Rolex watches, and preferred to have as much Bling on their body than money in their wallet.
You Have to Know your Market!
If, as I’m assuming that you are looking at buying and selling Rolex Watches, please consider this… You had better study the market prices for watch sales. Because these items are high prices, high end products, customers are picky, and buyers research far more than you can imagine. Sometimes, they know more than professional experts. Know your market as best you can.
While I’m telling you that you need to study, I mean it. I’m going to list several books here, that I think are a must, and you should get them. You will also need to update your books every year. Prices are dependent on many factors, and unless you have a steel trap mind, get the reference material that makes sense.
Study online sites like Ebay sales, “Only Sales” to find out Averages. The sales prices on ebay, not the listing prices, will give you a start to determine average sale price for a watch model. From there, you are going to have to determine your buying power.
Make sure you know a watchmaker!
This, my friends, I cannot tell you, is very important too. When you buy used watches, they are almost always going to need something. Unless you’ve purchased the watch that has recent documents service or has been recently certified, used watches need service. They are like cars, and all things mechanical wear down.
Having a watchmaker that you can work with, perhaps someone you take work to on a regular basis can often save you money. For example, I work with several flippers who bring me three or four watches a month. I’m very happy to give them a discount on parts and labor for the regular service work they bring me. They get a deal, and I keep busy. Find someone in your are who can do that. If you can’t find that special person, contact me.
Know Parts, and Repair Costs!
You should also take the time to understand the cost of parts, either for mechanical repairs or things like band, links and buckles. Bezels and dials can be very expensive, and should they have to be replaced, those parts can eat away a budget in no time flat.
Repair labor can also be costly. Depending on where you are in the country, how big a city you live in, or the availability to a watchmaker, the cost of servicing a high end watch like a Rolex can be from $200.00 all the way to $1,000.00 or more. I won’t go into details on my service rates, but, know that I don’t intend to loose money. My time is valuable, and whether or not you choose to use an experienced watchmaker or a Certified Rolex dealer can be the difference in whether or no you can even flip a watch for any money at all.
Cosmetic repairs can be the worst expense you have. You need to know what they cost before you buy sometimes. Make sure that the source of your purchase gives you some time to evaluate the costs you may incur to bring a watch to the condition where it can be sold.
I have the benefit of being able to service the watches myself. This perhaps gives me an advantage. I offer a one year warranty on my workmanship and the parts that I use to repair or restore a watch. If you choose to do that, you will have slightly higher expenses they I do, so keep that in mind. If you, like me however, repair watches, than you can make a few extra dollars, and that is always a good thing.
If you have to use a watchmaker, than negotiate with them, the same or similar type of warranty you can offer your buyers. By you getting a warranty from a watchmaker, you can cover any workmanship that perhaps goes bad during that specific period.
However, I do not cover water damager or obvious damage from abuse. Rolex, and other watch manufacturers who put screw-down crowns on their watches, follow good practice. Customers, however, sometimes forget to screw down those crowns, and that should not be at my expense, no yours.
Aftermarket parts on Rolex Watches!
First, let me say, there are several types of buyers. Those buyers who are the purest, will not want their watches, new or used, molested by the aftermarket parts that come to find their way on so many watches.
Reference books help you to spot the originals. When you see something odd, then you can be assured that perhaps someone modified the watch in some way or another. While it may look better, just keep in mind, that it does devalue the watch to some people who are looking to buy.
I will admit, most aftermarket parts are typically added to Ladies Rolex models, and often contain many diamonds. Sometimes, the dials are not made well, and hands have to be modified, causing other issues with the operation of the watch.
Sometimes, bad bezels can be added to a Rolex, that allows moisture or water to get into the watch itself, causing corrosion or rust damage. These bad parts can sometimes be responsible for thousands of dollars in repairs.
Important to note, all aftermarket pars void any remaining warranty that Rolex offers. For instances, if you purchase a two year old Rolex, then change the dial or bezel, the manufacturer will not warranty the watch, and even may refuse to service that watch ever again. That is extreme, but that is the stance that Rolex offers.
However, aftermarket parts can be a god-send. Old, damaged watches that would cost far too much to restore with original parts, or maybe parts that are no longer available, can often be given a new life with these cosmetic add-ons. You just have to know, what modifications you can make that either increase or retain the value of a watch.
I will even go a step further… I believe that most woman who get a Rolex, either for themselves or as a give, often come back and ask to have it modified with Diamond Bezels or Diamond Dials. If it makes them happy, then its on my list!
Common Problems with High End Watches, Like Rolex!
Ok, I’ve spent decades working on watches. Watches from Timex to Rolex and just about everything in between. There is probably only one manufacturer that I will not do work for. If you have followed me for long enough, you know that is ‘Invicta’.
I digress, let me get to the most important thing to know… What are the common problems you get with used mechanical Rolex watches, and how can you be aware of those when you are purchasing watches to flip….
Here is my sales pitch… for $1.00, you can buy the pdf file that explains all this… I’m glad to share my knowledge with you, but, consider that dollar going to the one addiction that I have… my love for Coffee!… To buy this report, click the link below…
Wow, a lot to read, I know… But I hope you found it helpful. If you didn’t watch the video, go ahead, it covers the same things I’ve written about here, but you get to look at my adorable face! LOL…
Good luck guys, and happy flipping. If you’re good at it, make money and enjoy.