Buying a timepiece is a personal and individual choice. While there are of course trends within the watch industry, we always recommend our customers going with their gut instinct when choosing something from us. Whether it be the latest in technology or something that suits their personality down to a tee, a watch is not only a functional accessory but one that can hold great memories for people. That is why so many people are interested in pre-owned watches. They have a rich history, a past, and an abundance of stories attached to it.
Pre-Owned Rolex Datejust Circa 1978
What is a pre-owned watch?
A pre-owned watch is essentially one that has had either one or more owners. They are usually of a premium or designer brand, or a vintage timepiece. Some people may sell their watch to downsize their vast collection or use their old watch as a part exchange to purchase a new watch.
The benefits of buying a pre-owned watch
- Have a chance at buying a classic that may be discontinued
Perhaps you were on the waiting list for a certain watch and missed out, or perhaps you’re a lover of the vintage classics and limited editions. Either way, buying a pre-owned watch is a great way of getting your hands on pieces you may well have never been able to get brand new.
- Less expensive
This is one of the biggest pulls for people in terms of buying pre-owned watches. You can buy some fantastic timepieces at a fraction of the price of when they were brand new.
Pre-Owned Rolex Datejust 26, Circa 1989
What styles of pre-owned watches are available to me?
All manner of luxury watches are available to customers, from vintage timepieces to the last few seasons worth of collections. Vintage timepieces, of course, are a lot more sought after by watch aficionados and may be difficult to find. Some people though, love having a piece of history in their house, or on their wrist, and are willing to go to great lengths to get the watch of their dreams and the hunt is all part of the enthralling adventure.
Top things to look for when buying a pre-owned watch
- Box and papers available
The original box and papers is a vital piece of the puzzle when buying a pre-owned watch, but ONLY if you intend to sell it on. Collectors will want these bits of information and kudos for their own peace of mind, but if you are certain you won’t be selling on your timepiece, it is ok to buy without.
- Scrapes and marks on the dial
Before purchasing the watch, take a look around the entirety of its body, including the case, lugs, and straps. See if there are any dents, chips, or worse, scratches or cracks. Next check the dial and the hands inside. Make sure there is no corrosion or damage there. That is not to say however that you should dismiss a damaged watch. It just means you need to be prepared to pay even further to fix it, and risk that it may be unfixable.
- Loose Bracelets or damaged straps
Straps on watches are made to not only be comfortable around the wearers wrist, but be strong and durable enough to protect the casing of the watch. Check the bracelet/strap of the watch to ensure there is no weakness or damage there. With metal bracelet watches, you need to make sure that the bracelet doesn’t dangle further than it should do. This will mean that the strap has lost a lot of its structure and therefore durability, leaving it open to recurring weaknesses in the future.
- Check service history details
When buying a pre-owned watch, it will often come with a backlog of services and maintenance it has had over the past few years. This is a good indictor into what kind of work the watch has had, including any recurring issues, and should highlight any modifications that you may not have previously noticed. A watch that doesn’t retain its original specs and that has been tampered with will lose value immediately.
- Find a reputable store for maintenance
We understand that buying a watch, even a pre-owned one, can be a costly shopping trip. However, not only do you have the price of the watch to consider, you should also be thinking about how much the watch will cost to repair or maintain. Some brands and watches are easier to repair or restore than others. Bear in mind also that if you are buying a vintage watch and want to keep it in mint condition then finding a reputable outlet is a must. We have brand accredited watch makers in house who offer services to care for the pieces after their purchase with us.
Pre-Owned Rolex Datejust, Circa 2004
How can I ensure I don’t buy a fake watch?
Unfortunately, fake watches aren’t exactly few and far between, and there are people out there who make a living by selling fake or replica watches. To ensure that the watch you are buying is the genuine product, it is always advisable to buy from a legitimate retailer. Outlets like eBay and Depop can’t always regulate the selling of replica products quickly enough to disparage the sellers, and although they do have strict rules, the policing of replicas is not as relentless as a retailer or showroom who will inspect each and every timepiece, giving it their stamp of approval. We have a whole team of experienced experts who have a wealth of knowledge in horology who inspect each and every watch that comes through our doors, before giving it their stamp of approval.
To find out more about pre-owned watches, and what’s available to you, visit your nearest Watches Of Switzerland showroom or take a look at the Watches Of Switzerland pre-owned section on the website.