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Wearable Tech

How to sell your first-gen Apple Watch

With WatchOS 5, Apple is ending support for "Series 0" models. Here's how to sell yours if you plan to upgrade.

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Farewell, trusty old first-gen Apple Watch. Has it really only been three years?

Apple

It's the (unfortunate) nature of the tech beast: Hardware makers eventually stop supporting older models.

Case in point: At the WWDC event earlier this week, Apple announced WatchOS 5 -- but said it won't be available for the original Apple Watch.

Thankfully, that doesn't mean your first-gen wearable -- which is also known as Apple Watch Series 0 -- will suddenly stop telling time or displaying notifications (for now, anyway). It simply means it'll be stuck at WatchOS 4, now and forever.

If this development has you thinking about a newer Apple Watch model (or maybe a different watch altogether), you'll probably want to sell your current one. Here's how to do that, starting with the most important step of all.

Read more: The best ways to sell or trade in your old iPhone.

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Unpair and reset your Watch

Before you make it available for sale, you'll need to unpair it from your iPhone. That process will create a backup, useful if you're migrating to a newer Apple Watch, while also erasing it and restoring factory settings.

Step 1: Open the Apple Watch app and tap [Your name]'s Apple Watch.

Step 2: Tap the info icon (the little "i"), then tap Unpair Apple Watch. Confirm the action, then wait a few minutes for the process to complete.

That's it! You're done. Now it's time to sell that old timepiece.

Option 1: Sell it yourself

Selling your Apple Watch by yourself will usually get you the most profit, but it takes some initiative and carries more risk.

Craigslist

Craigslist is a risky option for both buyers and sellers. Sellers risk wasting time on flakes or getting robbed, while buyers risk getting scammed (or worse). But you will get cash for your device, and you can set your price without worrying about added fees.

For a smooth Craigslist transaction, make sure you hash out all the details first. Your buyer should know the specs, price and condition of your Apple Watch before the meetup takes place. You should always meet in a well-lit public place.

eBay

While eBay often requires a bit more work than Craigslist, it's definitely safer -- and often more profitable as well, because you have a much bigger pool of potential buyers. Also, because eBay offers extremely robust protection for buyers, people are more willing to buy expensive items from strangers.

The downside, as always, is the fees: eBay takes 10 percent of the final value (what your item sells for) and PayPal charges a fee of 30 cents plus 2.9 percent (4 percent if sold internationally) of the final value.

How much can you expect to get for your first-gen Apple Watch? That depends on factors like size (42mm or 38mm), color, condition, bundled accessories and so on.

I checked recent sales of first-gen Apple Watch Sport models and found they'd fetched anywhere from $90-$150 -- surprisingly good considering that Walmart was selling the Apple Watch Series 1 ($217 at Amazon Marketplace) new for $149. Your mileage may vary, of course, especially as more people look to sell their outdated models.

Swappa

Swappa is a user-to-user marketplace for used tech -- things like phones, tablets and smartwatches. It allows listings only for working devices in good condition (no cracked glass or water damage).

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At press time, Swappa was suggesting a $145 sale price for your used first-gen Apple Watch. Not bad!

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Unlike eBay, Swappa charges a flat $10 fee per item sold, and that charge is tacked onto the sale price -- so the buyer, not the seller, pays it. Swappa does do payments through PayPal, though, so you will still incur the PayPal fee of 30 cents plus 2.9 percent (4 percent if sold internationally) of the price your item sells for.

At this writing, Swappa recommended listing a first-gen Apple Watch Sport for $145 (plus the $10 fee, so $155 customer-facing). The lowest competing price from another seller was $130. Assuming Swappa is able to deliver a buyer, that's a pretty good return on a piece of gear that's likely a few years old.

Option 2: Trade it in

Trading in your Apple Watch is easier and less risky than selling it yourself, but usually less profitable. However, you get the guarantee of cold, hard cash, something to consider if you're in a hurry.

Different trade-in sites will offer different amounts depending on size, color and all that, so it's worth getting multiple quotes to see who's offering the most cash.

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If you want guaranteed cash for your Apple Watch, a trade-in service like Maxback will give it to you.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

For example, Maxback is a trade-in site that pays you via check or PayPal. It will accept your Apple Watch even if it's not in perfect condition (though obviously you'll get less if that's the case). But you must include all accessories: charging cable, AC adapter and so on.

At this writing, a first-gen Apple Watch in "good" condition (as determined by Maxback upon receipt) would earn you $79. If it's merely "fair," however, meaning you can see deep scuffs or scratches, you'll get only $55.

Nextworth is a similar trade-in site that accepts Apple Watches, but my quote for a first-gen Apple Watch Sport 42mm was a mere $27 -- despite it being in very good condition. Similarly, Apple's own buyback program offered me just $25, and that was in the form of Apple Store credit. Best Buy's quote: a much better $63, but also in the form of an e-gift card.

What's your plan for your first-gen Watch? Keeping it? Selling it?

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WWDC 2018: Everything Apple announced at its annual developer shindig.