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What are some good cities you have found (or heard of) for finding affordable watches, of good value/quality, in thrift stores and pawn shops?

I won't ask to limit answers to any particular region since I know everyone is all over the world.

I will say however that I happen to live in Baltimore, and I am still exploring what can be found. So far, a lot of flashy Invictas everywhere. Very hard to find an automatic that isn't a Rolex. I would say the one place to consistently look for a good find is Greenmount Loan & Jewelry. They used to be an authorized Seiko dealer with a lot of 5s in the shop a few years ago. But they told me their dealer "left". At any rate, they may be the best in the city. Of course, I am naturally interested in stops between here and Delaware, and Southern New Jersey, between here and Wilmington, between here and Philadelphia, and between here and DC.
 

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Goodwill has their own "ebay" site, so I would be surprised if any good selection of watches actually make it to the sales floor.

Not sure if this is viable or not, but maybe check around to local church donation/thrift store organizations in nicer neighborhoods, as maybe more of a chance of gems slipping through?
 

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I’m in thrift stores and pawn shops 6 days a week. Obviously the most common things seen are cheap fashion watches and no name digitals. I have bought a few Seikos, a Mido OceanStar among others. But you never know what you might find like the guy that found a rare JLC at a Goodwill last year, it was with around $35k IIRC. Keep hunting, sooner or later it will pay off.
 

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On the other side of the world, when I “accidentally” stepped into Cash Converters in Singapore 4-5 years back.




EDIT: It was 10 bucks at that time and now runs kinda "meh". I can't confirm you can these kind of prices anymore. There are a few of these Cash converter stores IIRC


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

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I think the internet has killed a lot of the lucky finds. Perhaps estate sales and garage sales are best. Somebody unloading an old Tudor, Seiko, Philips, or any watch that doesn't say Rolex from their Uncle's old cigar box.
 

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There's a flea market once a month (?) at the Rose Bowl, a huge football stadium in Pasadena which borders northeast LA. The market is vast and intimidating due to its size but I've seen some attractive vintage watches on offer. I've bought furniture and antique fly fishing gear there but never a watch. Planning to visit on October 14th with a small wad of cash to see if I can pick up a bargain.

(not my pic)
Rosebowl-flea-market-All-rights-reserved-by-Basic-LA.jpg
 

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There's a flea market once a month (?) at the Rose Bowl, a huge football stadium in Pasadena which borders northeast LA. The market is vast and intimidating due to its size but I've seen some attractive vintage watches on offer. I've bought furniture and antique fly fishing gear there but never a watch. Planning to visit on October 14th with a small wad of cash to see if I can pick up a bargain.

There's definitely a lot of things there, but it's so big I've never been able to check out the whole thing at once. Of course, that may be me stopping to examine every little thing my eyes fancy!
 

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Save yourself the cost of a trip to anywhere in Yorkshire. Bargains are like hen's teeth here.
Yes I think that's UK wide. I spoke to the old biddy (Mrs's "cup of tea Dearie?") in our local Garden House Hospice shop. You must have noticed how they've all really smartened up in the last 20 years or so.

She said anything like that goes off to their distribution center to be looked at by the experts. They all do it now because they get donated a lot of stuff, some of it extremely valuable. Often neither the person who's donated, or the staff will know the value of things. They use google and Ebay to value stuff in the shop, but with some stuff that's not possible. She told me this about watches, they send them of to the depot experts.

I worked briefly in a Keech hospice charity shop and have seen all this first hand. The manageress told me that in the depot they'd see lots of high fashion label clothes, and £10,000 fir coats.

They're not infallible though. I have some experience with art. You must have seen all the boxes of 'naive' art (it is the actual term :) that charity shops have. If you're not used to looking at art you don't really know the difference. I remember being brand new at the Keech and being told to price up a box of the stuff, we'd make a game of pricing them up, trying to work out a value.
Because it's big, unless it's obviously a Picasso it doesn't get sent to the depot. As all the stock gets rapidly rotated around different shops the idea is that someone will spot something if it's valuable; if it had not automatically been sent to the depot as it's jewelry, watches, furs,etc.

As I said they're not infallible. In my local shops I've bought a Neville Smith original (not a print) watercolour that's in the low four figures, and two original Nick Grant RA's that are both approximately worth low/mid-hundreds. All cost me less than the price of a F-91w each.

However, I did see a ladies Cartier dress watch, with 'cabochon', in our Garden House Hospice shop, it was for a pound. I was a little shocked that they were selling it, it's against the law to sell moody stuff here.
 

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Have an inkling Las Vegas should be good hunting....Pawn Stars and all.
Yeah, except that pawn shop is basically a museum of the stuff they bought on the show and they make their money off of Pawn Stars merch now.

Now let me get back to my Eat Fresh™️ Footlong©️Subway®️ sandwich.
 
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