On eBay and Craigslist, every Apple Watch is pure gold

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Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
The Apple Watch is a hot ticket on eBay and Craigslist as owners cash in on long wait times. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
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With shipping dates for new Apple Watch orders slipping to July and beyond, some owners are selling their devices in hopes of turning a quick profit.

It seems to be working. There’s a brisk trade of Apple Watches on eBay and Craigslist, with some used devices fetching up to twice their retail value.

“I am wearing the watch as we speak,” said one seller, who identified himself as Ben and has a stainless steel Apple Watch on Craigslist for more than $200 over the list price.

“I’ve been wearing the Watch since I posted that hoping to get a small profit,” he said. “Part of me hoped nobody would offer me the extra few hundred because I really wanted to wear this gorgeous first-gen product! I haven’t worn a watch in 10 years.”

Apple Watch Kid
Andrew Jing is trying to sell his Apple Watch on Craigslist for a quick $100 profit. Photo courtesy Andrew Jing

The Apple Watch is a hot-ticket item. Shipping times have slipped since the first batch of wearables sold out in minutes when preorders started in mid-April, and new orders are now estimated to arrive in July. Times vary, however, and the smaller, more feminine models seem to be shipping sooner than the more masculine ones. The gold Apple Watch Edition isn’t expected to hit wrists before August.

eBay listings for the sellout gadget popped up almost immediately after preorders started. Now early adopters, some of whom have worn their devices for a few weeks, have decided they’ll part ways with their Apple Watches to capitalize on the sustained demand.

“The cash is more valuable to me than what I have with it on my wrist,” said one seller, Chris Ingle, in an email to Cult of Mac. Ingle listed his $399 aluminum Sport model for $900 and quickly sold it for $680. “I think it’s a great product and I definitely want one and will buy it again,” he said.

“The cash is more valuable to me than what I have with it on my wrist.”

On eBay, there are about 1,000 active Apple Watch sales and 5,572 sold listings. Most of the eBay watches are selling for at least a couple of hundred dollars above retail prices, and some are attracting dozens of bidders. Many of the completed listings are almost double the list price. One stainless steel Watch with a classic buckle, for example, sold for $1,199.99 (it costs $700 from Apple).

Some of the watches have been sold weeks before the seller even gets them. For example, this eBay seller offloaded two steel Apple Watches for $1,499 apiece — about $500 over the list price — with the seller promising to dispatch them as soon as they are delivered. The date is still a week away: May 13 — 27. Still, that’s two months sooner than buyers are likely to get them from Apple right now.

Andrew Jing, a product manager at San Francisco airfare startup FLYR, bought an Apple Watch on a whim, not sure if he’d keep it or not. An Android user, he was hoping it’d grow on him when he got it in his hands. Instead, he has his unopened Apple Watch listed on Craigslist for $895.

“I have a couple people who are willing to commit about $100 or so above my cost, which I think is pretty good for the buyer, considering the egregious prices on eBay,” he said. “I never really came into this trying to gouge people. I’ll probably wait until tomorrow to collect any more offers and try to seal the deal.”

Jing said if he wanted to maximize profits, he’d give it to relatives to sell in China, but the red tape is putting him off.

“I could probably sell it to some tuhao from my homeland — I’m Chinese — for a truly handsome profit,” he said. “But the problem is getting it there. Dealing with all the customs regulations, applicable duties, etc., is actually quite stressful — and that’s assuming you export these things legally.”

Ben, the other Craigslist seller, said he regrets just one thing — not ordering more watches. “I should’ve just ordered two to profit from the second one like everyone else does.”