Guide to Buying a Pre-owned Timepiece

in Learn | Sunday, April 20. 2008

If you are considering purchasing a pre-owned timepiece, it is important to follow a few simple steps to insure you are buying the best product possible. Knowing what to look for in a pre-owned piece could keep you from wasting your hard earned money on a malfunctioning or unusable wristwatch or even worse a replica!

Here are a few things to consider when shopping for a used watch:

Does the watch come with the original box and paper?
Having the original box and papers with the watch can add to the watches value and in turn will add to how much you will be paying for the watch. It is always best to look for timepieces with original box and papers. It will be easier for you to sell it  should you choose later on, and it also lessens the risk that you will end up with a replica.

Does the seller provide a warranty for the watch?
While a pre-owned watch in most cases will not have a current manufacturer’s warranty, any good watch dealer should provide some kind of warranty on the pre-owned timepieces the sell. Pay close attention to the lengths and terms of the warranty, it is best  to get a full-coverage warranty.

Is the watch guaranteed authentic?
The number of replicas being passed off as the real thing is enormous, especially online! Make sure that you have done your research on the watch dealer you plan to buy from. Do they guarantee the products they sell to be genuine? It is a good idea to check out the Better  Business Bureau website and read up on the company before you purchase.

Has the watch been serviced recently?
Some pre-owned pieces are still relatively new, so this point may not be as important. But for older watches, find out if the watch has been serviced recently and what, if anything was done to the watch.

What is the condition of the watch?
A watches condition is rated using the following terminology:

  • New old stock - An older watch that has never been worn. 
  • Mint - Worn but shows very little wear.
  • Near mint - Worn but shows some minor wear.
  • Excellent - Shows slight normal wear.
  • Very good - Shows normal wear. 
  • Good/Average - Shows heavier than average wear.
  • Fair/Below Average - Some damage or other serious problems.
Anything less than excellent condition, unless it is a very rare or collectible piece, is not an ideal purchase choice. If you are interested in purchasing a watch despite some obvious flaws, there is much a good watchmaker can do to help restore a watch to its original condition. A scratched case can often be restored to near mint condition by having it professionally polished.

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