To some, watches may seem like a thing of the past. Who needs a watch when you have your cell phone to tell time?
To others, watches are an essential tool and wardrobe staple. Their beauty, sentimental value and practicality make them timeless (pun intended).
The continued appeal of watches means that you do have some options when it comes to recycling them. People may be willing to purchase your working watch when you decide you no longer want it. Companies that do watch repair may be able to buy your non-working watch and strip it for parts. And even if no one offers you money for your old watch, there are several ways you can get it to people who may want to reuse it.
How do you find potential watch buyers and takers? We offer lots of advice below.
How to recycle watches
Watches are made with a huge range of materials. The watch and band can contain cheap or precious metal, soft or hard plastic, real or fake leather, glass, even wood. Watches have lots of little pieces, most of which are not particularly valuable. As a result, it is difficult to truly recycle watches.
However, there are plenty of ways you can recycle some of your old watch parts, or even reuse the entire watch. Search online for “we buy watches” or “we buy non-working watches,” and you will pull up plenty of results. The only catch is that almost all of these online businesses are interested in luxury, vintage or specialty watches (like pocket watches).
Companies that buy watches online (or in your city) are looking for items they can sell to someone else or use for parts. Many watch manufacturers stop making parts for their older models, so they can be difficult to come by. Recycling watches is often the best way for repair shops to get the parts they need.
In the U.S., companies like Renaissance Watch Repair
and A. Tifaney & Son
(both of which have a great online presence) are looking for old watches. Renaissance specializes in pocket watches, while A. Tifaney will accept a wide range of luxury watches.
People in Canada can send their watches to Perfect Timing
, a watch repair business that recycles watches. Nothing that goes to Perfect Timing ends up in the trash. According to its website: “Whenever we have children in our store, we invite them to play in our ‘treasure box’ of old watches; they often pick out one to take home as a piece of jewelry to add to their collection of special things.”
How to reuse watches
Even though most people now use their cell phones as their time-telling device, watches still have value. Pocket watches and vintage pieces are prized by collectors. Luxury watches from brands like Rolex, Cartier and Tag Heuer are still considered status symbols. Even your typical day-to-day watch can be valuable to someone who does not carry a cell phone all the time or just likes having a watch.
Besides looking online for watch buyers, there are several other places you can take your old watch for resale or reuse. All mid-size to large communities should have a watch store. They may be willing to purchase old watches. If your watch is made of metal or another quality material, you can also check with local jewelry stores to see if they are interested in your watch.
If you want to sell your watch yourself, a site like Craigslist will be your best friend. You can also ask around to see if any friends or family members are interested in your watch (especially if it is a family heirloom).
You may be able to donate watches you no longer want to charity. See if your local thrift store can take them and resell them. If your watch is in great condition, see if your favorite nonprofit would be interested in selling it at a silent auction fundraiser or including it in a raffle. Either way, your donation is tax-deductible.
Watches can be upcycled into beautiful designs. Take a look at this Pinterest page
, which shows watches used in jewelry, mosaics and other craft projects. An Etsy seller with a shop called Recycloanalyst
makes amazing jewelry from working and non-working watches.
Another option is to take a cue from the folks at Perfect Timing and let your kids (or someone else’s kids) use old watches for dress-up.
How to recycle the Apple Watch
Given that the Apple Watch is practically brand new, you are probably not ready to recycle it quite yet. But when you are, there is good news: Apple takes back many of its products for recycling. They will even give you credit toward a new Apple device. Visit their website
for more details.
If you are already tired of your Apple Watch, and it still works, forget recycling. The watch will fetch good money on Craigslist or a similar site.
How to recycle clocks
Everything that is true of watches is true of clocks. Luxury timepieces should have some value to dealers. Your standard, run-of-the-mill clock will not. Look for ways to sell high-value clocks (working or not) and reuse lower-value clocks.
The biggest difference is that you may be able to salvage the hands, motor and other parts of a clock and use them for other projects. The Internet abounds with suggestions for making clocks out of old records, CDs, bicycle wheels, kitchen gadgets and many other reusable items.