What to expect when browsing pre-owned watches for sale
Watches are a simple and classic accessory that will make you look classy and sophisticated, no matter where you're headed. The high-end watches that many people want to add to their collection will often cost thousands of pounds if you buy new. Buying a pre-owned watch usually allows you to dodge the hurdles of paying for a brand new watch, but it does require time, patience and knowledge.
Buying pre-owned items can be a tricky business: between fake watches, damaged goods, and unreliable sellers, you have to be careful when buying pre-owned.
That's why we've written this guide on what to expect when looking for secondhand watches for sale.
1. Some watches don't work
This would probably be the worst-case scenario you could encounter: you find the perfect watch, take it home, and discover that it doesn't work. This could be because of any number of reasons, unfortunately, and it depends on the type of watch you have. Complicated mechanical watches have a lot more that could go wrong in them, and the bill to fix it will be higher if that's the case.
Speak to the seller and examine the watch before you buy it. Also, check the seller's return policy in case you get a broken item. Suppose you're buying from a private individual online. In that case, most buy/sell sites such as eBay and Chrono24 have many safeguards in place to protect the buyer, so use these to your advantage.
If the watch is working, great. If it isn't, make sure you understand precisely what's wrong with it before you buy. It's up to you to decide whether the watch is worth paying to fix or if you should keep searching for one that is in proper working order.
2. Watch out for damage
Besides being broken, many secondhand watches for sale will have damage. This could include scratches, dents, or other wear-and-tear damage.
Let's face it: used watches will have some damage. They're worn on the wrist and can easily be banged up with everyday wear.
Minor damage is acceptable, but it's your call on how much damage you're willing to overlook when purchasing a pre-owned watch. You can often use the condition of a watch to bargain with the seller. You should know how much you want to drop the price by before you go to view the watch. Also, remember to be friendly and polite with the seller. If you're a good customer, they're more likely to be inclined to help you than if you have the wrong attitude.
3. Warranties and Insurance
Even pre-owned luxury watches can be quite costly. If you're worried about damaging or breaking your new precious accessory, some secondhand watch sellers will provide you with a warranty and insurance on the watch. For example, at Watches of Wales, we offer a one-year warranty on our products as standard to give you peace of mind.
You might not think this is necessary, but this is a great benefit to look out for when buying secondhand. You're shelling out big bucks for a luxury item, so you might as well look for a seller that will provide you with some protection.
4. Fake Watches
Some untrustworthy watch sellers will try and trick you into paying full price for a fake brand name watch. Fake Rolexes are notoriously common.
You want to be sure that you're getting the real deal, especially when you're paying what amounts to thousands of pounds.
So how can you tell a fake vs a real brand name watch? The first step would be to examine the seller. If they're selling watches on the side of the road out of the boot of their car, chances are the watches aren't legit. But, of course, most scammers are savvier than that.
Do your research on the seller and their reputation. Do they have a professional website? What about customer reviews? Can you return the watch if you have an issue with it?
Asking yourself these questions will save you from buying a fake watch from an unreliable seller. You can also look at pictures of real vs phoney brand name watches so you're prepared going into a buying situation.
5. Complete Set vs Watch Only
You can usually buy a secondhand watch by itself, or with the box, papers, manuals, and service history. These items may or may not be necessary for you. If you're a collector or want to prove that the watch is the real deal, the complete set is crucial.
Another upside to getting the complete set is the access to the service history. Knowing the watch's service history will give you information about both the wear and tear of the watch you're buying and how well kept the item is.
However, if you're going through a reliable seller and you're getting a very good price for the watch you've had your eye on, you maybe won't care if you don't get the papers or the original box with your purchase. It isn't the end of the world if you get a great deal without the box and papers. Just keep both sides in mind when you're looking at secondhand watches for sale.
6. Reliable vs Unreliable Sellers
We mentioned this point briefly when we talked about spotting fake watches. It isn't always easy to spot an unreliable seller; not all of them sell watches out of the side of a van.
Reliable sellers will look and act professionally. They'll have professional, nice looking websites alongside testimonials from previous customers. They'll have guarantees and an option to return if you're unsatisfied with the product or have any issues with the watch. Private sellers who are looking to sell their own watch may not have their own website or reviews, you'll need to get in contact with them and judge it yourself.
An unreliable seller will be hard to get in contact with and will probably have either bad reviews or no reviews at all. Beware of eBay sellers: there might but a reliable one on there, but there are too many eBay horror stories to count. We're not saying that you should never buy from someone on eBay, but you should always exercise caution before heading in. Don't forget that sellers of fake watches will also use dedicated watch sales sites and forums to sell their fakes alongside the usual routes.
As long as you do your research on the seller and stay smart, you shouldn't have much trouble, be prepared to walk away if something doesn't sit right with you.
7. Price Differences
Ever heard the phrase "If it's too good to be true, it probably is"? Of course you have, but it's easy to get caught up in getting a good deal nonetheless. Just think, what are you sacrificing for the lower price? A word of caution: things are usually listed as cheaper for a reason.
If you find a Rolex or another luxury watch listed for way less than other sellers, you should be suspicious. It's probably a fake or has damage that would end up making it a bad buy.
It's hard to shell out a lot of money for a luxury item, but paying the price something is worth can result in a good purchase instead of getting a bargain and ending up with a cheap knockoff or a broken watch.
What to expect when looking at pre-owned watches for sale
Looking for the next watch to add to your collection is exciting and fun. But you want to make sure you get exactly what you're looking for, even if you choose to buy the watch pre-owned.
We have extensive buying guides that can help you during your search. We also offer a wide selection of high-quality pre-owned watches. Feel free to contact us with any questions.