Watch trading is an excellent way to experience different timepieces, while making a profit, but how does it work if you are not in the USA? Being a Canadian, I was curious to see if I could make watch trading a viable source of income, while owning pieces I would only dream of.
My journey to trading watches started in the summer of 2019, with the purchase of a Breitling Navitimer World. This was my first luxury timepiece, and it was an absolutely stunning first piece to own. I had purchased this watch locally in Vancouver and was able to sell it for a profit a month later, while enjoying it in the meantime. Wearing this Navitimer made me feel different compared to my previous fashion watches. This Breitling was built better and felt better than any other watch I had in my collection. After owning this Breitling, I was hooked, and began trading luxury timepieces part-time.
Fast forward to March of 2020, and the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning to grow. With my other investments falling, I decided to get off the sidelines, and really give watch trading proper push. Previously, I had only been trading two or three watches a month since I am a college student with a busy schedule, so this was going to be a change. I decided to focus on purchasing inventory only from Canada, as I was previously purchasing from both Canada and the US and going across the border to pick up my watches. Since the virus was spreading, and the Canadian dollar’s value was dropping, I decided it was in my best interest to look at Canadian watches only for the ease of purchase.
Finding inventory was a little difficult at first, but I found one method that worked quite well. There are many different Facebook group’s available for watch enthusiasts, dealers and traders, but there are also country specific groups. If you type your country, followed with “watch”, or “timepiece” in the search tab on Facebook and click on groups, you would be surprised at how many different groups are available to you. This also works well if you replace the country with your province / state / city, for example, “Vancouver watch” and hit search. After joining these groups, I decided to scroll through and see what everyone had for sale. Many of the watches listed were from other traders/dealers, but there were still quite a few available from watch enthusiasts looking to trade for a new piece, or to send their piece off to a new home. After finding a watch I was interested in, I would search up the watch model that was being sold on sites such Chrono24 and see what I would be able to sell it for and make an offer where I can leave room for a good margin of profit. I would also look locally for watches on Craigslist, and other online classifieds and do the same. Of course, not everyone would accept my offer, or make a reasonable counteroffer, but I was able to pick up a few watches from doing so and began building my inventory.
Once the watches had arrived, I would clean them up, and take some photos showing multiple angles of the watch so the buyer could have a good idea of its physical condition. I am not a professional photographer, but good lighting and an iPhone camera worked wonders. When it came to the description, I would keep it simple, but still list many of the specifics of the watch, such as the movement, case size, reference number, accessories and more. I would list the watches for sale in as many places as I could think of, including Facebook marketplace, Facebook watch groups, local classifieds, eBay, Chrono24, watch forums, Instagram and more. The key is to get your watch in front of as many eyes as possible in order to get it sold.
After listing the watches, the offers began rolling in and I started moving my inventory. For the month of March in 2020, I had sold 7 watches, 5 of which I had purchased the same month, at a total profit of just under $5k CAD. The margins on these watches were incredible, as the return on investment (ROI) for the majority of sales were anywhere from 35% to 60% on an Omega Speedmaster that had sold in less than four hours after I had purchased it, and within two hours of me listing it for sale. While many would consider March being a “recession” with no buyers, it is just your mind playing tricks on you because watch buyers are out there, and you just have to put in some effort to find them.
Now to answer the big question, can you trade watches if you are not a US resident? The answer is yes, and while it may not be as easy, the potential to make a great income is there, even in times where the market is “down”. I look forward to learning more about watches and wearing some of the most beautiful pieces on the market.
Best of luck to everyone out there!