Get ready for used Apple Watch trade-ins

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Apple Watch - useful, or just a trend? Photo: Apple

One of the biggest questions surrounding the Apple Watch is how well its value will stand the test of time. Will Apple offer some sort of upgrade program for the opulent 10K Edition model? Will the tech-laden timepiece on your wrist be obsolete in two years?

Gazelle is banking on there being a thriving market for used Apple Watches as early adopters upgrade, much like there already is for used iPhones and iPads. The company announced its new trade-in program today ahead of the Watch’s April release.

It’s unclear what kind of prices the first-gen Apple Watch, which starts at $350 and maxes out at $17,000, will command on the trade-in market. Traditional watches, especially on the higher end, have been seen as heirlooms to be passed down through generations. With an 18-hour battery life, Bluetooth, WiFi, and a tiny processor, it’s clear that the Apple Watch won’t last more than a few years, much less decades. Imagine trying to use an original iPhone today and you get the idea.

Sellers will determine the value of a used Apple Watch, and even without any indication from Apple as to how often new versions of the wearable will come out, Gazelle seems confident that there will be strong interest.

The first iPad’s trade-in value history is a good indication of what the Apple Watch will go for, according to Gazelle.

The original iPad's value over time. Chart: Gazelle
The original iPad’s value over time. Chart: Gazelle

As you can see, the iPad’s value was basically cut in half from gen one to gen two, then it started devaluing more slowly.

“As the numbers suggest, the first generation iPad held its value remarkably well over the years, even after Apple announced subsequent versions,” said Gazelle’s Kevin Walther. “We expect a similarly strong market demand for second-hand Apple Watches. Bring on the trades and the sales.”