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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
You hear a lot about "flipping" here, like "flipping my way up to a Sub" and such.

Is anyone really making money through flipping watches? My guess is that you'd only make money if:

1. you "add value" via repair, cleaning, restoration (e.g., buying broken watches cheap and fixing them)

or

2. arbitrage (e.g., buying low in one region and selling high elsewhere).

or

3. random good luck (e.g., finding something cheap at a pawn shop or listed incorrectly on eBay)


Obviously, #1 will make money, given the right tools and skills.

But #2 and #3 seem like false lures. Given how huge and liquid the watch markets are here on WUS and eBay, I wouldn't imagine many arbitrage opportunities. And good luck is too erratic to pull off consistently.

Unless someone is doing repair work, I suspect a lot of "flipping" is just "churning with a lot of long-run small gains and small losses."

Anyhow, is anyone really consistently making money flipping? How're you doing it?
 
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You hear a lot about "flipping" here, like "flipping my way up to a Sub" and such.

Is anyone really making money through flipping watches? My guess is that you'd only make money if:

1. you "add value" via repair, cleaning, restoration (e.g., buying broken watches cheap and fixing them)

or

2. arbitrage (e.g., buying low in one region and selling high elsewhere).

or

3. random good luck (e.g., finding something cheap at a pawn shop or listed incorrectly on eBay)


Obviously, #1 will make money, given the right tools and skills.

But #2 and #3 seem like false lures. Given how huge and liquid the watch markets are here on WUS and eBay, I wouldn't imagine many arbitrage opportunities. And good luck is too erratic to pull off consistently.

Unless someone is doing repair work, I suspect a lot of "flipping" is just "churning with a lot of long-run small gains and small losses."

Anyhow, is anyone really consistently making money flipping? How're you doing it?
Option 4.: Buy good, used watches which are just badly marketed on ebay. This usually includes asking the seller crucial information that isn't in the text or photo. By selling them again with much better photos and description, you can often get a higher bid. However, shipping, ebay and paypal fees usually eat up all the gain, so it's a good way to get pieces you consider to keep, but it's not a business case. On top of that, it's still risky, even with proper checking, contacting the seller, etc.
 

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My guess is that anyone who manages to consistently make a profit re-selling watches probably isn't keen to share the details of their methodology. And I do think that making money - consistently over time - is very much the exception to the rule.
 

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Hi

I flipped about 30 watches here and I always start my listings compared to similar watches on Watchrecon.

Every watch has a target price when it will sell. Price it too high and it won't go, too low and it will go instantly, almost to the point of raising concerns.

Some watches I sold were discontinued, out of stock or just rare. I made a few bucks with them because I sold them at the market value, which is higher that the price I paid. Other watches that are still in production, you will obviously lose a bit of $$. My thinking is that if the watch just sits unused in your safe, you are better off selling it to get something else you'll actually wear.

Some brands have quite poor resale value, caused by high volumes and frequent blowout sales. If I get one of these, I am quite sure of losing $$ if I flip it unless I bought it on sale.

Cheers,

S.

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Most of the time when you flip you lose a bit of cash. Its normal.

Some guys are buying the DaytonaC at retail from ADs that they know well and selling them for a few thousand more. A family member made about 6K that way. But thats not the norm.


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Option 5: Buy watch, leave in box for 10 years, sell for modest profit.

Kidding of course, but when I look back at some of the prices I paid when I first stated collecting years ago (for watches I no longer own), it makes me regret selling some of them. Stow Antea ($340), Seiko Alpinist ($220), Hamilton Khaki Chrono ($330)...
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I get the sense there isn't the "information asymmetry" you need to make money flipping. It is too easy to figure out what watches are selling for most of time, so unless you luck into a deal, you won't get a watch for low enough to make money on.

I've always suspected that watch flipping for profit was like house flipping: it attracts a lot of people who quickly get burned.
 

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When eBay first started, I'd buy used Movados, TAGs, B&Ms, etc., for way below what they were worth by bidding on the ones with either poor pictures or none at all.

I'd polish them, replace bad crystals, put on new straps, and sell them right back on eBay. I called it 'buying c**p and selling fertilizer. :)

Back in the day, I'd sell 15-20 watches a month and pocket $3-4k profit a month. But it took a lot of time (which I had more of back then). I doubt that could be done today by anyone, myself included; the market isn't the same, and eBay buys aren't as much a bargain as they used to be on a consistent basis.
 

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People are just too well informed these days thanks to Ye Olde Internets to overpay for much, unless they are just tired or careless. Sometimes on EeekBay you see a regular watch that you know sells for $150 for example, but is listed for $900. I figure they are just fishing for very careless or ill-informed or over-moneyed (is that a word?) individuals. You can make modest money flipping watches but I don't see how unless you are a bit loose with the truth or just hyper vigilant in your watch buying and selling. Not me. I'm in it for all the attention people give me because of my cool watch. /s

Or there is Option 6: Own a crystal ball.
 

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I know a couple people that do it and operate much like an online pawn shop. They offer quick cash when people need it quickly, then usually sell on the forums or chrono24 for a profit.
 

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The amount of knowledge and skills required for flipping a watch is huge. It is not just the case where you get a good buy and sell it for more (everyone would do that if that's the case). Some people invest a lot of time and knowledge when they buy and sell watches(includes servicing, polishing, grading even identifying a timepeice). I would definitely buy a watch from a person who is doing the above. As far as profits are concerned, such a person cannot or should not loose money at least on this forum, eBay may be a different discussion altogether.
Just my 2 cents.

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Ive flipped a few watches and made money on, but nothing crazy.

Its been broken or in need of service watches though that I can fix. Im not sure if the money I made on them though justified the amount of time it took to repair.

Trying to make money flipping watches by buying low and selling high is a recipe for disaster.

I did make some decent money buying low in the recession and then holding on to them until after the economy picked back up, but that is more of a 1 time deal than a sustained model.

Only other thing I could think of is if youre a divorce lawyer, i bet you could buy clients watches for a discount since one or both are trying to stick it to their ex spouse.
 

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As much as we all know watches depreciate in value, I believe someone out there makes money out of flipping watches.. I can compare watches to automobiles, they both depreciate, but some vintage models are sought after which I believe are the ones racking up profits to those who sell..
 

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Making money by flipping watches?

If I hadn't bought all the watches I did in the last few years and saved all the money I lost when I flipped them, I'd be wearing a Richard Mille today.

Well, maybe not a Richard Mille, but you know what I mean.
 

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You have entire legitimate businesses that do this as their sole business. Any pre-owned watch business. So yes, people make money doing it.

Most of us just do it for fun and try to lose as little as possible, making small profits here and there, taking losses other times, getting to try different watches for basically the same initial investment. The key is to buy used and be patient when buying and selling.
 

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In my early days here, I pretty much always lost money--it was more a question of how much I lost, rather than if I lost.

However, over the years I learned more about people, and watches, and now use that knowledge and experience to regulate my buying and selling habits. One thing is, I no longer buy on impulse--almost always a guaranteed loss. Rather, I have specific targets, know more than just about anybody about these targets, know when the seller doesn't know what they're selling (good for me) and when they do (usually not so good for me), know if it has been on the boards long enough to have softened up the buyer, or not, whether the target is an otherwise strong seller, or not, and yes, very vigilant on what's available in my target area of interest--sometimes I get a great deal simply because I got there first. I still always buy only what I actually think I will keep, but I only buy when it is a good deal to me, and these days, every sale I have made over the last year or so have been break even, at least, with an occasional nice profit--it didn't used to be this way, due to my own naivete and impatience--I was a slow learner in this regard--but now, I do pretty well.
 

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It's so easy to get information on the net nowadays so I think it's very rare for someone to find a vintage watch that's cheap enough to make a profit out of it.
Especially with so many fakes now, making people even more cautious in buying.
 
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