Where to buy a pre-owned watch and what to look out for
Hello watch enthusiast. Where Should I Buy a Pre-Owned Watch? How do you avoid ending up with a horror story instead of a stunning timepiece you can be proud of? The old saying of ‘buy the seller’ is especially relevant when you enter into the world of pre-owned watches.
The single most important thing you can do is find a dealer you can trust. There are hundreds of places you can buy vintage watches, both online and in bricks and mortar stores. The more time you take to research the most reputable sellers, the more likely you are to save yourself the nightmare of winding up with a very expensive fake.
Haunt the many vintage watch internet forums and ask for recommendations from other collectors. When you have a list of suggestions, check out each one and look for reassuring signs such as guarantees of authenticity, a no-questions-asked returns policy and a cast-iron warranty.
The original box and papers, along with a well-documented service history, usually put a premium on the selling price. Depending on the age or brand of the watch it may be missing some or all of these, which is by no means a deal breaker, but they can be comforting items to have.
It’s worth mentioning that older watches, like classic cars, are inherently more fragile than their brand new versions and will take more looking after. You’ll need to factor in a more frequent servicing schedule if you want your watch to run perfectly and last a lifetime. The best retailers will have professional and highly trained watchmakers on staff, who will service each watch before it goes on sale, using only genuine parts.
The number one rule for buying a pre-owned watch? If it looks too good to be true, it very probably is. It can be extremely difficult to keep your emotions in check when you think you’ve spotted the bargain of the century on your long sought-after favorite piece, but maintaining a healthy paranoia about it can save you a lot of money, and a lot of heartbreak, further down the road. Arm yourself with as much research and knowledge as you can.
Our personal recommendation? NYC-based Phigora.com, has become a premier source of fine pre-owned watches from, among others, the likes of Rolex, Cartier, Patek Philippe and Omega. Browsing their website, you’ll find some truly breathtaking examples for sale or trade, all backed with a one-year warranty and authenticity guarantee.
What Should I Look Out For?
So, there’s a host of great reasons why you should consider buying a pre-owned watch. But before you jump in with both feet, there are a few issues to be aware of before you pull the trigger.
Unfortunately, because the pre-owned watch business has grown to be so successful in the last few years, it’s attracted its fair share of unscrupulous characters, lying in wait to relieve the unwary of meaningful amounts of their hard-earned money.
The number of fake watches on the market is staggering. In fact, it’s believed there are now more counterfeits of some models, such as the Rolex Submariner we spoke about earlier, than genuine ones. Whereas these imitations used to be easy to spot, some have now become so sophisticated that even trained watchmakers can find it tough to identify them.
Along with the outright fakes are what’s known as Frankenwatches. These are the genuine item but containing inferior parts. An outwardly authentic watch might contain a movement from an entirely different manufacturer, completely destroying its value and ensuring that the original maker won’t service the watch for you in the future.