Should You Buy a Pre-Owned Rolex from a Private Party?

Updated: Mar 22


Rolex President Women's Gold Watch
A Pre-Owned Rolex President 69178 Women's Gold Watch

For many people who want to sell a pre-owned Rolex in San Diego or in other cities across the United States, selling privately is an appealing option. What about the other side of the equation, though? If you want to buy a pre-owned Rolex wristwatch, should you seek out an individual or is it best to avoid that? Here is the quick answer. There are advantages to a private party purchase but you need to know what you’re doing.

Okay, now the details.



The Biggest Private Party Selling Point Is Price

The reason sellers go to craigslist, Facebook Marketplace and other, similar online sites to sell is because they don’t want to receive only the wholesale amount when they sell their timepiece. However, they also understand they are not going to be able to charge retail price because, all things being equal, people feel more comfortable buying from a store than a stranger. This means private parties tend to price a pre-owned Rolex for somewhere between wholesale and retail, which usually means you’ll get a great deal.



There Is No Real Recourse in a Private Party Sale

Perhaps the biggest drawback to private party sales is that there is no real recourse if the transaction doesn’t turn out as you’d like. You can’t give a private party a bad review on Yelp or Google. A private party won’t have return policies in place, insurance to deal with problems or, for that matter, any motivation to maintain a good reputation for other Rolex buyers. You’re relying on the honesty of a person you don’t know. If you deal with a completely honest person, you’re still relying on them to handle the sale competently, which has nothing to do with honesty at all.



Selection with Private Party Sales Is Limited

If you have a very specific model in mind when you want to buy a pre-owned Rolex, this may be the biggest drawback you face. If you want a Rolex Submariner, a call to few brick and mortar stores or a visit to a few online retailers is certain to give you options immediately. However, the likelihood of you finding a local private party that has one is far lower. Private party sales tend to be sales of opportunity in that regard. You happen to come across the watch you want at the right time. If you don’t mind being patient and checking the sites regularly over weeks or months, this won’t be much of an issue for you but if you want your Rolex now, other options are probably better for you.



Be Careful with Your Safety

There are guidelines for meeting with strangers to handle transactions. You can find them on the sites for classified ads such as Craigslist. Be sure to meet in a public place and it’s usually a good idea to bring someone with you when you meet. Keep yourself safe and remember than not everybody is kind and honorable, as much as we all might wish they were.




For some, the reward of an attractive price makes buying a pre-owned Rolex a great option if the can find the watch they want and can avoid the pitfalls. If it works for you, that’s great. If, on the other hand, you’re looking for a professional pre-owned Rolex seller, make sure you deal with someone who is reputable and knowledgeable.