If you’re a watch connoisseur, odds are you’ve done a fair amount of watch buying in your time. However, if you’ve never looked into used watches, you may be losing out on legendary watches from countless eras.
Brand new watches are nice and beautiful and deserve the respect of even the pickiest watch collectors. However, there’s something about a classic watches that new watches can’t compare to, and many watch connoisseurs recognize that.
Alternatively, you can’t go wrong buying a used watch, regardless of it is 5 years old or 50 years old, and saving money. But how do you go about it? Doesn’t the used watch market leave a lot of room for error?
Your Ultimate Watch Buying Guide
While learning how to be an expert watch connoisseurs takes time and experience, there are some tips out there that can help you get started. Keep reading for all of the best advice in our used watch buying guide.
Research the Watch in Question
Never buy a watch without researching it first. While you can feel relatively safe in the arms of credible used watch dealers, there are a lot of scammers out there. Just because a watch is authentic, it doesn’t mean the price is right.
For any watch you’re considering buying, make sure you look it up online to determine its true value based on age, condition, special edition, etc. Once you’re satisfied with what you’ve learned, then make your purchase.
Learn How to Spot a Fake
New and used watch buying demands you learn (or at least try to learn) how to spot a fake. However, keep in mind that counterfeiters are getting cleverer and cleverer, selling $1.08 billion in fake watches every year.
While it’s not an exact science for most, paying close attention to the details of the watch may tip you off. Check for the following things:
- A heavier weight (from lots of moving pieces and precious metals)
- Precision writing and/or serial numbers (genuine watchmakers are perfectionists, including what many consider insignificant details)
- Insignia stamps (typically on the face and on the band near the clasps)
- A purple tint on the glass face (Saphire infused glass face used by many high-end watchmakers)
- A higher price (if the price is way lower than expected, the watch is way more fake than expected)
Research the Seller
Another important step in our used watch buying guide is doing a fair amount of research on the sellers you’re considering doing business with. If they’re selling fakes, someone has hopefully found out by now. And once people find out they’ve been duped, they go public with it.
Check Google reviews, website reviews, Facebook, etc. You can also go to local Facebook community pages and ask the people in your area about the shop in question.
Check the Return Policy
Another dead giveaway that you’re dealing with a less-than-savory seller is if they have an obscure or non-existant return policy. The harder it is to return a watch, the more likely it’s fake.
This is especially true of online watch buying. If you’re not allowed to return the watch within 30 days of your purchase for any reason, you may be dealing with a scoundrel.
However, be realistic about buying the watch and reviewing the policy. They obviously shouldn’t cover the watch for certain circumstances such as you dropping it upon opening your mail and shattering the face.
Is There a Warranty?
Next, looking for used Rolex watches for sale, for example, requires a touch of entitlement. You should always opt for watches that come with a warranty.
While we understand that used cars don’t always come with warranties, high-end used watches should be serviced by experts who know what they’re doing to keep them ticking. And if you’re paying high-end prices (even used prices) you deserve a high-end and functioning product.
Does It Come with the Original Box and Documents?
While you won’t always be so lucky, it’s always a win to find a used watch that comes with all of its original content. This would typically include the box, instruction manual, and warranty card.
However, as in many cases, it may come in a non-original, but an appropriate box (referring to time period and brand). This issue may or may not be important to you. Also, realize that with used watch buying, there’s always a price for perks, such as complete sets.
What Condition Is It In?
Obviously, when determining whether or not a used watch is worth the dealer’s asking price, you should look at the condition of the watch. Is it pristine or in rough shape? What kind of imperfections are there?
Paying special attention to these details is important. Just as important as knowing your stuff about how these imperfections should affect the price.
Don’t Let Price Throw You Off
Speaking of price, remember that you often get what you pay for in life. The same goes for watch buying. While you’re shopping, don’t allow high prices to throw you off.
Just because it’s older, it doesn’t mean the watch has depreciated significantly in value. In fact, it’s often a good omen if an older watch has maintained such a high value. This also includes limited and special edition used watches.
Being a watch connoisseur, you must learn to be practical. If you’re looking for high-end watches but are expecting to pay low-end prices, you’re going to have very a disappointing watch-collecting career.
If you find a watch price that’s too good to be true, it is. Don’t look at it as a sign that you were destined to find that watch. It’s more likely a sign that you’re in the wrong store.
Finally, our last tip in our use watch buying guide is a simple suggestion – be patient. Don’t rush or give in to impulse buys. Every used watch you look at is unique and has its own charm.
However, even if budget is no concern for you, only buy a used watch if you love and adore, and settle for nothing less. Watch collecting is a form of art and self-expression, don’t get swallowed up in mediocrity.
Want More Advice?
As we suggested above, used watch buying is a skill you must hone and perfect over time. However, there’s more to men’s fashion and style than just watches. If you want more interesting advice and tips, feel free to check out the rest of our articles!