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The time—no pun intended—has come to put your luxury watch up for sale. Whatever the reason may be; you’ve determined that now is a good time to sell. And to give yourself the best opportunity to benefit, you plan to put it up for auction—let the collectors and fashionistas compete for your timepiece.

To help you get on your way, here are a few things to know before putting your watch up for sale.

Before you put your watch up for auction, you should know how much it’s worth. Ideally, you’ll be able to visit the auctioneer’s office and have one of their watch experts evaluate your timepiece. If not, you can mail them—electronically or physically— a detailed description of the watch for sale. You’ll also want to include any other pertinent information such as any accompanying accessories you may have—box, warranty, certificate, extra parts, etc. If possible; it’s recommended that you include images of the dial, case, and movement.

Delivery of Property
Most auction houses ask that you deliver the property no later than 45 days before the sale date. The auction house you choose will help you arrange the delivery.

When you sell your watch through an auction house, a contract will be drawn up. It will describe the lot(s), establish the reserve(s), and set forth terms and fees for the services provided by the auction house.

The reserve is the minimum price the seller will recognize (less seller’s commission and fees). This is determined by agreement between the seller and the auction house.

Seller’s Fees

  • Seller’s commission will be charged on sold lots only. Typical percentages are 15% for lots sold on the first $10,000 and an additional 10% in excess of $10,000.
  • The auction house may also charge and insurance premium of 1% on the final hammer price for each lot sold or based upon the reserve for unsold lots.
  • If you wish to use your own insurance coverage, you must provide a disclaimer letter to the auction house.
  • Auction houses also charge a photography fee. Be sure to contact the corresponding office beforehand for details.

Pre-auction Notification

When you put your watch up for auction, you’ll receive a complimentary copy of the auction catalogue a couple of weeks before the sale. You’ll also receive a statement indicating the lot number(s) and reserve(s) of your property.

Post-auction Notification

Once your item has sold, you’ll receive a “list of sale,” a notification of the outcome, indicating the lot number(s) and the hammer price(s) for each.


You’ll receive your payment approximately 45 days from the day of sale, provided that the lot(s) has been settled by the buyer(s).

Dan Heinkel is part of an elite team of writers who have contributed to hundreds of blogs and news sites.