Owning a dream luxury timepiece of the past or the present became a reality with the launch of our Pre-Owned Service over a decade ago. The service is now not only available in all of our stores but online too. We can buy your existing watch, or offer a part-exchange deal that could help bring that brand-new timepiece within reach. Our team will be happy to share their industry expertise with you and guide you through our hassle-free pre-owned process. And if you’re looking to add to your own watch collection, don’t forget to browse our range of pre-owned pieces. We talk to our Pre-Owned Business Manager Laura Warrilow about the Pre-Owned Scheme, how it works, and what you can expect from the process.
Hi Laura, thank you for talking with us today. Please can you introduce yourself and your role with us at the Watches of Switzerland Group?
I’m Laura Warrilow and I’m the Pre-owned Business Manager here at the Watches of Switzerland Group. I head up the department and usually spend 2-3 days a week in the actual stores and the rest here at Head Office with the team. I’m a Valuer by trade and I also train all the stores in the process of buying in, part-exchanging, and selling pre-owned watches.
What is Pre-owned – How do we buy, sell, and part exchange pre-owned watches?
The pre-owned scheme was started about 15 years ago by the Watches of Switzerland Group to introduce the client to selling a watch to give leverage against a new watch. Pre-owned has gained traction over the years and it has now become quite commonplace for customers to buy or sell pre-owned. You’ve got your customer who may decide to trade in their old watch to make the price of a new watch more favourable, or alternatively, they may buy a pre-owned watch because they’re looking for that individual bit of interest as it’s no longer available.
The process of buying, selling, and part-exchanging is simple. When a customer brings in their watch to sell or part-exchange, the store team makes a call to the pre-owned team to discuss the watch and its condition to enable us to form a valuation. This is all done whilst the customer is in the store. Once the valuation has been given, the customer can then either part-exchange their watch, or alternatively they may just wish to sell it to us.
In terms of us selling the watch on, the watch will be fully refurbished to an ‘as new’ condition before it goes on sale in store.
Please can you explain a little bit about selling a pre-owned watch or part-exchanging it – how does it work and who would be eligible?
Anyone with a Swiss watch is eligible. Just bring the watch into the store where we will value it and give the customer a price whilst they wait. It can last between 5-15 minutes and is based on the answers given to the questions that we ask the customer, coupled with the visual appearance and condition of the watch.
What timepieces do the Watches of Switzerland Group look for? What are the criteria?
Any Swiss watch is viable – those most frequently sought after are probably Rolex core models and the Datejust, Omega Seamasters and Speedmasters, and any Cartiers but we will give a price on any Swiss watch.
How is a timepiece assessed for valuation, what is the criteria?
Firstly, we’ll take a look at the make and model and how old the watch is. Also, whether the customer has the original box and papers. Then of course it’s down to the condition – whether it’s working; does it have any chips or scratches; what condition is the bezel in; do any of the links need replacing and can it be refurbished? The valuation will collectively consider all these elements. As valuers we instinctively know how the market is working, the cost associated with any necessary refurb, and what we can ultimately sell it for so by combining this together with what we know about the actual watch, we can give an expert valuation.
How long will it take to get a decision on a timepiece and whether it can be exchanged for another model?
The decision happens there and then following a conversation with the pre-owned team.
Do they have to choose a brand-new model, or can they opt for a pre-owned vintage timepiece?
If a customer sells a watch to us, they can choose to use the value of that watch towards anything in store, be it watches or jewellery, pre-owned or new.
Do they have to make a decision there and then, or can we offer vouchers to save for a special occasion or gift?
The valuation price is fixed for 7 days, by which point the valuation process would need to recommence due to how the pre-owned market fluctuates. If a customer couldn’t decide which watch or item of jewellery they would like to buy, they could choose to take a gift card for future use. This would be fixed at the valuation price provided it was within the 7-day period.
If you are interested in the Watches of Switzerland Group Pre-Owned service, we can assist you in-store, over the phone or by video appointment – just use the By Personal Appointment link at our online sites to find out more.