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Beyond just being useful, watches are an expression of personal style. Unfortunately, they can be expensive, especially if you are looking to buy a luxury watch. If you are a watch enthusiast, you may be wondering how you can find good quality watches at a low cost.
Some of the best places to find watches for cheap include discount websites, second hand stores and pawn shops, watch outlets, utilizing sales, or purchasing watches from authorized dealers. Some people also choose to trade their current watches in for a new model.
A low budget does not mean you have to go without a cutting-edge watch. Keep reading to learn more about where you can find the best watches even on a limited budget, and to learn more about places to avoid when searching for an inexpensive watch.
Where Can I Find Cheap Watches?
In the world of watches, price tags can quickly climb to a level that is hard to meet with a small- or average-sized budget. Fortunately, there are many ways you can still get a good quality watch without draining your bank account.
Search for Watches on Discount Websites
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to get a high-quality watch is by purchasing it secondhand in good condition. The Internet can be your most helpful asset in your search for watches. Consider the following websites as you begin your hunt for the perfect watch.
This online classifieds website is popular for boasting a wide variety of different products, and watches are no exception. You can find watches on Craigslist by conducting a simple search, or by looking for a particular brand and style.
One benefit of using Craigslist is that you will most often be looking at available listings in your area. This is useful because you can arrange to view the watch in person before deciding to buy it, ensuring that you know exactly what you are purchasing and are confident that you are getting a good deal.
Additionally, Craigslist allows users to post wanted ads. If you are not able to find the perfect watch, you can create an advertisement stating exactly what you are looking for and your ideal budget. If someone has a watch that fits your needs, they can get in contact with you.
eBay is a popular option because it allows people to see products from all around the world. This can be especially useful if you live in a rural area or are struggling to find watches near you. When you search for watches on eBay, you will be able to find second hand watches in countless styles and from different brands.
When you shop on eBay, though, keep the following considerations in mind:
- Shipping cost: If you buy a watch from an international vendor, the cost of shipping could be steep. Factor shipping into your total budget before making a purchase.
- Return policy: Some vendors allow for returns and others do not. Especially if you are buying something sight unseen, you should be able to count on getting your money back if you are unsatisfied. Narrow your search to vendors who allow for returns to give you some peace of mind while you shop.
- Look at vendor ratings: eBay allows customers to give vendors a rating based on how satisfied they were with the purchasing process and the product they received. Take a vendor’s rating into account when you consider buying a watch. If a vendor is well-reviewed, you are more likely to have a pleasant experience and get the watch you were expecting.
With the thousands of listings that eBay has to offer, it is very likely you can find something that works for you. Make sure you do some research beforehand and be aware of potential associated costs.
In recent years, Facebook Marketplace has become a popular online marketplace where people can sell a variety of products. When you are searching for watches, Facebook Marketplace allows you the flexibility to look for products only within your area or all around the world.
As with eBay, you will need to be mindful of your shipping costs or any other associated fees. Fortunately, Facebook Marketplace has a reliable process for reporting scams or other unsatisfying transactions, so you can rest assured that you will have support if the watch does not live up to your expectations.
Shopping for Watches at Second Hand Stores
Second Hand stores allow people to buy watches from reputable vendors and see them in person before committing to the purchase. Depending on where you live, you could have access to numerous places where you can find the watch of your dreams.
The following are popular options when looking for secondhand watches:
- Goodwill or other thrift stores: Thrift stores like Goodwill often have an accessory section where you can find watches. It may take some digging, but it is possible to locate a watch that both looks good and is from a reputable brand. Goodwill and most thrift stores typically have return policies in place, too, so you can bring the watch back if it does not work out.
- Vintage and antique shops: If you are looking to buy a watch from another era, a vintage or antique shop can provide you with lots of timeless, vintage, and retro inventory. Most vintage and antique shops also check products beforehand to ensure quality. Just make sure that the watch is functional before you purchase, or you may need to factor in the cost of repairs.
- Pawnshops: Pawnshops are a reliable place to find luxury items at a fraction of the cost. As you search for watches at pawn shops, ask the shop if they can provide a certificate of authenticity to prove that a watch is really what it appears to be.
Shopping in person for watches is fun and can improve the chance that you will be happy with the product you buy. When you buy a secondhand watch, you will have an eye-catching and high-quality product at a fraction of its retail cost.
Attending Watch Auctions and Estate Sales
Watches are such a popular staple in many people’s lives that auctions and estate sales have become promising ways to get a nice watch often at a lower cost.
Attend a Watch Auction
Watch auctions take place both in-person and online, making them a convenient way to purchase a timepiece. At a watch auction, you can bid on different watches and hopefully end up with the watch of your dreams.
Take the following considerations into account before attending an auction:
- In-person vs. online auctions: In-person auctions are exciting and will allow you to see the products in person. Online auctions are convenient and can be attended from the comfort of your own home. Decide which one is the most desirable and practical fit for you.
- Look at products beforehand: Many auctions offer a catalog of products in advance of the auction itself. Look at what they have to offer, and see if the watches are within your budget and look appealing to you.
- Research the conditions of sale: Some auctions will mandate that all of their watches are inspected beforehand for quality, and will have parameters to follow for canceling a bid or withdrawing from the auction. Read up on these beforehand to make sure that you are comfortable with the auction’s rules and that they meet your expectations.
- Determine your maximum bid in advance: If you get in a bidding war, it can be tempting to throw your budget away and bid whatever is necessary to get the product. However, this can be financially unwise. Before bidding in an auction, set an absolute maximum budget for yourself. Then, you can avoid bidding over this amount.
Auctions can have all the thrill of an intense game. Fortunately, if you find the right auction, you can also walk away from the excitement with a great new watch.
Attend an Estate Sale
Estate sales allow people to purchase furniture, home goods, and more from houses where all the contents need to be liquidated quickly. Many estate sales feature jewelry and watches from the person who used to own the house that are sold at a cheaper rate than the market price.
Estate sales are common across the country, and most often take place on weekends, making them easy to access and convenient. Estate sales can be easily found on the Internet, and oftentimes you can get an idea of what inventory they will have before you attend.
If you are not sure if there will be watches at a particular estate sale, contact the broker in charge of the sale beforehand to ask. They may be able to share information regarding watches that can help you decide if it makes sense to attend the sale.
Shopping at Watch Outlets and Department Stores
Factory outlets provide overstock goods from brand names at a reduced cost, and this applies to watches as well. Additionally, department stores are a popular way to keep track of sales and find watches from a variety of manufacturers.
Locate a Watch Factory Outlet
Outlet stores are typically found in outlet malls and feature last-season or surplus goods at a low cost. If you are looking for watches, consider searching specifically for a watch outlet or research a brand that you like and see if they have outlet stores near you.
Some outlets even allow for online shopping if it is not possible to travel to the outlet store in person. Do a little research to determine if there is a factory outlet that could work for your watch needs.
Shop at a Department Store
Department stores may have been iconic staples of the past, but they can still be a great place to find watches and accessories in the present day. Common department stores, such as Macy’s and Nordstrom often have extensive watch and accessory sections with various brands, including both luxury and standard watches.
When you search for a watch at a department store, it can be helpful to consider some factors to get the best deal:
- Shop during sales: Many department stores will have sales at intervals throughout the year. After Christmas sales or Black Friday sales are a great time to find products at a reduced price. Keep an eye on your local department store to see when it makes the most sense to do your shopping.
- Consider joining a rewards or membership program: Some department stores offer discounted shopping if you join a perks program or sign up for a card. Ask your department store if their rewards program applies to watches, and see how they can help you get the lowest price on your watch of choice.
- Look for coupons: Popular department stores frequently circulate coupons online or in print. Keep an eye out for coupons that could apply to watch purchases, and do not hesitate to use them when you decide to buy a watch.
When you buy a watch from a department store, you can be confident that you are getting a quality product from a reputable institution. In recent years, many department stores have begun to offer online shopping options as well so you can access their inventory from anywhere in the country or world.
Another popular option for watch collectors is to trade in their current watch for something different or of a higher quality. If you choose to pursue this option, you could end up saving a lot of money and finding a watch that works better for your needs and style.
There are a few common ways to trade in watches:
- Directly with the manufacturer: Some watch manufacturers will allow you to trade in a watch for a discount on a better model. This is especially true for higher-end watch manufacturers or smartwatches. If you bought your current watch directly from a manufacturer, look at their website or contact them to see if you could be eligible for a trade-in.
- Contact a pre-owned watch dealer: Many of the secondhand stores that specialize in watches could be interested in a trade-in. Contact a pre-owned watch dealer to see if they are interested in your current watch, and to see if they could be open to a trade.
- Create an online listing: Many online classifieds websites allow you to create listings that allow for trades. If you have a watch that you are willing to part with, create an ad on eBay or Craigslist that explains you are willing to make a trade, if possible. Then, people can contact you with their watch options.
If you do wish to trade in a watch, you may have to be open to different possibilities for a new watch. It is less likely that you will have a successful trade if you are determined to get a certain make or style of watch, especially if you are trading on a classifieds website.
Keep in mind that trading watches is usually most common with high-end or luxury watches. However, this is not always the case. Many watch aficionados can find opportunities to trade in their current model for something different. Be vigilant of scams with this option, and ask to see watches in person before committing to a trade.
How to Get Luxury Watches for Cheap
Most watch aficionados know that luxury watches occupy a world of their own. Luxury watches have unique certification processes and other considerations that standard watch buyers do not have to take into account.
Fortunately, there are still several ways that you can find a luxury watch at a lower cost.
Purchase From an Authorized Retailer
The most reliable way to purchase luxury watches either online or in person is through an authorized retailer. An authorized retailer is a vendor or department store with a reputation for legal dealings and providing clients with exactly the product that is promised.
Many authorized luxury watch dealers have online websites that will allow you to shop conveniently and see a wide array of merchandise.
Companies such as Watch Warehouse have a large selection of watches at a discount. You may also do some research in your community to see if there are any jewelers or watch vendors with whom you may be able to work.
Buy Watches Internationally
Many people consider other countries to be great sources of inexpensive, high-end watches. If you are someone who travels a lot, you may wish to investigate the luxury watch market to see how goods are priced. Large cities such as Dubai and Hong Kong are renowned for having luxury goods at a lower cost than the United States.
Whether you purchase a watch in-person, online, or internationally, you should always make sure you are legally purchasing a watch that is certified to be of the quality it says it is.
Use the following strategies to make sure you are avoiding scams when shopping for luxury watches:
- Ask for a warranty: many authorized watch retailers have warranties on their products. If you purchase a luxury watch and it breaks or is not functional, you can rely on the warranty to get your money back or find a replacement at no cost to you.
- Demand transparency: luxury watches are a big investment, and you deserve to know what you are getting. If details about a certain watch are unclear, ask the vendor for more information. If they cannot provide this information, this is usually a red flag that the watch is illegally procured or a knockoff.
- Look for certifications, if possible: some watch manufacturers provide certificates of quality for their most high-end watches. If you are buying a watch that is manufactured by a company that usually does this, ask the vendor if they can provide this certificate.
- Examine pictures: If you are buying a watch online, be wary of listings that have no pictures. These are usually fraudulent. Only purchase watches that have photographs of what you will be getting. Reputable luxury dealers will have both photographs and extensive descriptions of the product they are selling.
- Ask for a tracking number: if you are getting your watch shipped to you, ask for tracking information on the shipment. A common luxury watch scam is purchasing something that never arrives. If you buy something online, a tracking number with a postal service will give you real-time notifications on where your luxury watch is and whether it shipped.
- Trust your gut: if a dealer or situation seems unreliable or illegal, do not take the risk. Even discounted luxury watches will still cost you some money, and you could be at a great loss if you buy something that is not real or is not what is promised. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
If it is your first time buying discounted luxury watches online, be sure to spend some time researching your vendor or how you can make sure that your watch is as promised. Purchasing luxury watches shouldn’t be a gamble, and with some time and dedication, you can find one that works for you.
Watches are an exciting accessory for people of all ages and genders, and they can also be a timeless collector’s item that can stay in a family for generations. The world of watches is truly versatile, and anyone interested in purchasing a watch will quickly find that there are many things to know about watches when purchasing one.
If you are on the hunt for an inexpensive watch, investigate your options. In a digital world, you will have more access to the watch market in various locations and can see inventory from around the world. As you shop, consider your ideal watch and the way you feel most comfortable purchasing it.
Whether you are looking for a luxury watch or something to wear every day, there is probably something out there that works for you. Finding a good watch at a low price can take some time, but finding your dream watch without breaking your budget is well worth the wait.