by Fletcher Blackburn, Head Buyer LAJB
Los Angeles Jewelry Buyer is one of the country’s most prominent buyers of used Rolex watches — in particular vintage Rolex watches of exceptional value. Below you will find some commonly asked questions that potential clients ask us. While these FAQs deal with the selling of a used Rolex watch, the information provided is useful for anyone wishing to sell us an expensive timepiece from a luxury watch maker.
How can I sell my Rolex watch to you?
The process is simple. Just send us some pictures of your Rolex watch by phone or email. If you have the serial number and reference number that’s great. If not, we can look up your Rolex model from the images you send.
After we receive your details, we will send you a quotation, often within minutes. If you feel the price we give you is within an acceptable range, just set up an appointment. Then bring your Rolex watch in for our best cash offer and instant payment.Get a Quote
Can I sell my Rolex without box and papers?
Absolutely. We always ask if you have the box and papers because they do carry a monetary value. Also, if you have them, the details on the papers can give us valuable information to help us make an accurate estimate and offer. That said, the box and papers are not necessary to sell a watch to Los Angeles Jewelry Buyer.
I’m not sure if I want to sell my Rolex but would like to know its value. Can you give me a price and will there be a charge for it?
Yes, we can give you a quote. There is no obligation to sell your watch, and there will be no charge whatsoever to give you a price. Think of us as your personal Rolex watch selling consultant.
Can I sell my used Rolex watch if it isn’t working?
We often buy non-working Rolex watches. You would need to bring it in, so we can see what’s wrong with it, for an accurate price. If you want a ballpark price, we can give you an estimate on a working Rolex, knowing that most likely we will need to deduct the amount required to get the watch back into working condition.Get a Quote
Can I tell you the model number of my Rolex watch instead of sending pictures?
“A picture is worth ten thousand words” said the famous 19th century illustrator Fred R. Barnard. While it is possible to give you a price for your Rolex watch with just a reference number, 99 out of 100 times the price will be inaccurate and we will have to reprice the watch.
While we love to help our clients and make them happy, we feel it is in everyone’s interest to save precious time. With Rolex watches having so many different dials, bezels, bracelets, conditions, and years of production, we’d rather not throw a dart at a dartboard and hope we get lucky.
It’s best to send a few pictures or just bring the watch in. With a few decent pictures, or seeing the watch in person, we can usually get an accurate, reliable price over to you in minutes.
Do you open up my watch when I come see you?
We may or may not need to open your Rolex watch. If everything is in working order and you have the papers that match the serial number, we probably won’t need to.
How do you pay?
We pay on the spot. As soon as you accept our offer and we check your identification, we will write you a business check. If you prefer a cashier’s check or cash, we can arrange that as well.Get a Quote
Why don’t I just sell my Rolex watch on Craigslist?
Craiglist is a popular site for selling many different types of items. Other services like Offer Up and Facebook Marketplace have also popped up recently and seem to be doing a lot of business.
We don’t recommend using these type of services for selling a pre-owned Rolex watch because of the security risk. You really don’t know who you’re dealing with and there is no accountability if something goes wrong. Do you really want to sell an expensive, portable item like a Rolex watch in a Denny’s or Starbucks out in the open?
These services may be great for selling a lawnmower or unused gym equipment, but it’s just not the right place to sell high end, easily portable luxury goods like Rolex watches.
How do you arrive at a price for my used Rolex?
First, we tap into our 25 years of experience in the second-hand watch market, and then we cross reference our knowledge with recent purchases and sales within our own business. We also utilize online resources that display actual recent Rolex sales (not just what people are asking), as well as consult with members of our dealer network when necessary.
Why do some used Rolex models sell closer to the retail price while others sell far below?
Supply and demand. Rolex releases less stainless steel sport models (like the Submariner and GMT Master) to their authorized distributors than they do dress models like the Datejust — even though there is more demand for the stainless steel sport models at this time. It’s a strategic play by Rolex to create more demand than supply, which makes their brand more exclusive. It’s not much different than a nightclub not letting people in, even though the club is only half full inside. When people walk or drive by they see a massive line of people trying to get in and think “that’s the hot club” and that’s where everyone wants to go.
On the second-hand market, we can sell the “high in demand” watches at a premium price because there are less of them in the market, so those prices will be closer to the Rolex list price than the models that have abundant supply and are easier to acquire.
Just to be clear, we love Rolex watches and the Rolex brand. We would much rather see Rolex control the production and distribution of their watches, so their customers own a product that holds value through time, rather than overproduce and over-discount to the point where their watches drop to pennies on the dollar like many other brands do. In that regard, good work Rolex! We love to pay people what they paid for their Rolex or even more and walk away happy.Get a Quote
I don’t have the Rolex box or original Rolex papers. How do I know the serial number of my watch?
If it’s a newer mode (2008 – Present) the reference number will be under the crystal and on the edge of the dial in the area known as the “rehaut”. Between 2005 and 2007, Rolex engraved the serial number on both the “rehaut” and between the lugs at 6 0’clock (the bracelet must be removed to expose the serial number). You can learn how to remove the Rolex bracelet in the video below.
Before 2005 the serial number was only between the lugs, beneath where the bracelet and pin are located at 6 0’clock. It’s best to use a loupe with at least 10 x magnification, or a magnifying glass if that’s all you have, in order to see the serial numbers clearly. If you have excellent vision, you may be able to see the numbers with the naked eye.
I have a certificate but it’s not from Rolex. Is it the same?
Often you will see a certificate printed on high quality paper with signatures, emblems, a seal icon, green colors, and an overall “official” appearance, but it’s not from Rolex at all. Usually these second-hand dealer papers won’t have the Rolex logo or name on it, just similar colors and patterns and perhaps the name of a third-party seller.
It’s important to distinguish these documents, which were not created by Rolex, from actual factory Rolex papers. While factory Rolex papers add value to a Rolex watch, documents made up by a dealer or retailer add absolutely no value to a Rolex watch when it comes time to sell. Authentic Rolex papers will either be in the form of a Rolex card on newer watches or a perforated paper Rolex certificate of authenticity for older watches.Get a Quote
I don’t really need to sell my Rolex watch, but I don’t wear it. Is it a good time to sell my Rolex or should I wait until prices go up?
Excellent question. Rolex prices on second-hand sport models have been rising steadily since about 2015. Sport models include the Rolex Submariner, Rolex GMT Master, Rolex Sea Dweller, and Rolex Daytona.
Part of the reason is Rolex has begun to hold back production and distribution on stainless steel sport models for the last couple years, creating a supply/demand imbalance. Another reason is a few really unusually high auction results that have further “elevated”, if you will, the Rolex brand recently.
For example, Paul Newman’s personal stainless steel 1968 Rolex Daytona auctioned for $15.5 million dollars in 2017. We’re talking about a watch that retailed for around $250 in 1968.
Of course, the fact that the triple chronograph Rolex Daytona is nicknamed the “Paul Newman” and this was Paul Newman’s actual watch, and Paul Newman is no longer with us (may he rest in peace), made it especially rare, but the price still shocked the watch world.
Additionally, the Asian market really caught onto the Rolex sport model trend, and many wealthy buyers from China and Singapore heated up the market, also contributing to the price increases. With the Chinese economy slowing down a bit, and the dust settling in general, we are now seeing a cooling down period. Prices are still high but they seem to have plateaued.
Our hunch is prices will start going down (partly because we’re seeing many dealers and collectors flipping these watches and not holding onto them), and we advise the following: if you love and still wear your Rolex, or feel you want to keep it as a long-term investment or to pass down to your children, we suggest you keep it. If you are considering selling your Rolex because you don’t wear it often, or you would rather have the funds, then now is a good time to sell. Prices are still strong but will probably begin to slide in the near future, and you may not be able to get the numbers we’re seeing right now for much longer (as of February 2019).Get a Quote
What about shipping my watch to an out of state buyer?
That is an option and you will find many companies online who can provide that service. If you live in an area where there aren’t many local options to sell your Rolex, then perhaps shipping your watch to an online buyer could make sense.
A few questions to ask yourself are: “Which method for selling my Rolex takes more time?” After all, time is money, right? Another question is: “Am I comfortable shipping my Rolex watch to someone I don’t know?” Thirdly, you might ask: “Will I receive more money shipping out my watch or selling my Rolex watch locally?” Here are some answers to these questions:
Which method takes more time?
To ship your Rolex to a buyer, you will need to print a label, pack the watch securely using bubble wrap and strong packing tape using a FedEx or UPS shipping box. You will need to double box it in order for the insurance to be valid. Then you will need to drive over to FedEx or UPS, get the package scanned and get your receipt (make sure you keep the receipt in case the package goes missing). Depending on how far you live from the shipping service provider, the whole process should take about an hour.
When meeting with a local buyer you, of course, need to drive to the buyer’s location. Then the process of a buyer evaluating your Rolex watch and cutting you a check takes about 45 minutes. Los Angeles Jewelry Buyer has a main office and satellite offices throughout the greater Los Angeles area. The process of visiting Los Angeles Jewelry Buyer and shipping your item via Fedex or UPS probably takes about the same amount of time.
Am I comfortable shipping my Rolex watch to someone I don’t know?
This is a personal and individual question only you can answer. Of course, there are reviews you can read, and you can do some research on a business through the Better Business Bureau, or Google the business to see if there are any red flags, but in the end you will need to decide whether you want to trust a business enough to ship them your Rolex watch based on the information you have gathered and your gut feeling.
That said, we are living in an increasingly digital world and what was once considered a non-starter has now become more commonplace. The major benefit of selling a Rolex watch to a local business is the watch stays in your possession, and you don’t have to go through any more logistical steps if you decide to keep the watch besides putting it back on your wrist.
While Los Angeles Jewelry Buyer is a local buyer, we often receive shipments from sellers who don’t want to drive through LA traffic, but still want to sell locally. We’ve received shipments from sellers in Santa Monica, 15 miles away! Some of these sellers have done business with us in the past, or they read our reviews, know we’re local, and feel comfortable with us enough to ship their watch.
I’ve recently had a client joke: “I’ll just ship it to you. I know where to find you, haha!”. Of course, our address is right on our site and on Google maps, and we’re practically a stone’s throw away.
But all kidding aside, this is a personal choice, you will need to make on your own and, ultimately, be perfectly comfortable with.
Will I receive more money selling my Rolex watch to a local business or shipping out my watch?
Great question. I wish there was an easy answer. There are legitimate, reputable buyers both online and local, so it’s very difficult to give a black and white answer.
There are two basic buying practices in the second-hand watch business. One is to pay the lowest price possible — the buyer will get less deals but will hit a home run when a deal does go through.
The second (which we practice at Los Angeles Jewelry Buyer) is to offer as high a price as humanly possible without losing money, try hard to beat our competitor’s offer every time, and do a lot of deals, even if each deal is only a small profit. The reason we are able to do this is we keep a modest overhead and run an efficient and tight ship.Get a Quote
Why do some companies make offers over the phone, then lowball when it comes time to pay?
In both business models (local and shipment based), you will have some buyers who knowingly will make you a high price estimate over the phone that they have no intention of paying, just to get you in the door. It’s a bait and switch tactic that’s an unfortunate reality of this business.
Some may say that an online watch buyer who is trying to persuade you to ship (when your “prudent” instincts are telling you to sell locally and don’t leave the watch out of your site) can only persuade you by overpromising on price. In reality, bait and switch tactics can be used by local and online watch buyers equally. And it’s a terrible practice either way, and we denounce it.
We believe that the key word here is Intent. Our intent is to give as accurate an estimate as possible by phone, text, or email. Even with the best of intentions, a situation can arise where the item wasn’t exactly as described. Maybe it was damaged or the watch was not in the condition it appeared to be from the photos. We’re talking about a product that needs evaluation by at least 10 x magnification and has a working mechanism with hundreds of tiny parts. It would be unrealistic to think that every estimate from a cell phone photo will exactly match up with the final in-person offer 100% of the time. 90% to 95% of the time is more realistic.
An example I like to use is when you go to sell a used car. I recently sold an old Mercedes I had in my garage to one of the big, highly advertised used car companies. I called them and gave them a description of my car, and they said there’s no way they could give me a price over the phone without seeing it in person, so I brought it in. It took them 2 ½ hours to give me a printout with an offer for my old car. The offer for the entire vehicle was what it would have cost me to replace one side view mirror – and the Mercedes still ran pretty well!
After receiving my printed offer, I had to take the document over to another office in the back, where I waited another 30 minutes for my check. So, 3 hours later I had my payment. I’m not complaining, I was happy to get that old junker out of my garage. But it also made me think that our process for buying Rolex watches here at Los Angeles Jewelry Buyer is pretty efficient in comparison.
What we do guarantee is that we make every intent to make an accurate estimate before you come in, and that’s the most you can expect from any honest and reputable company.