Watches are one of the few functional and fashionable items that never go out of style. It’s a classic collection for men and women, regardless of age. If you’re looking to growing your watch collection, a low-cost way to do it is by purchasing pre-owned watches.
Here are 7 essential things to keep in mind when buying second-hand watches:
- Due diligence
There are a lot of pre-owned watches for sale online. With due diligence, you can find the right watch and also check the quality of the item for sale. Watches can be a sizable investment, and there are a lot of sellers who may be out to fleece you out of your hard-earned money. Do your research on the item and dig up the credibility of the online seller. Does he have a good reputation in the online market? Does he specialize in watches? Does he give a rating of the item for sale?
- Age of the watch
There is an almost arbitrary differentiation between vintage and relatively new. In most cases, watches made before the 1980s are now considered as vintage watches. On the other hand, post-1990s watches are considered relatively new. The era between 1980 and 1990 is considered as a gray area. Some brands are vintage pre-1990, while others are not. The significance of the age is in the depreciated cost. Watches, like office equipment, depreciate. However, not all brands depreciate in the same manner. A few luxury brands depreciate less, while most depreciate more.
A case in point is Swatch, which is considered as modern type of watches. It is a brand that started in the 1980s, and all of their models are quartz watches. Even their oldest watches are fairly young, compared to other brands. Compare this to luxury Swiss watch maker Patek Philippe, which depreciates less, and some older models have shown appreciation in price.
There are watches which have been repaired or restored with parts from other models of the same brand. These are called Frankenwatches and may look like the original, until you have it serviced with an authorized service center. They may not accept the watch due to the non-original parts.
- Original packaging
The original packaging, including the manual, raises the value of the watch. In most instances, the box also includes the serial numbers and other details like the specific model and sub-variant. Unfortunately, unless presented as a gift, the original packaging may have been thrown away as soon as the original buyer left the store.
This does not only pertain to the working condition, but also to any dents, dings or scratches. Watches were designed to be worn, and they will have signs of wear and tear. Older watches are most likely worn daily by their previous owner and would show more scratches and dents. These may seem cosmetic, and in truth, the older the model, the less pristine it would look. However, the patina which is associated with age is also a sign of character for the watch.
Like any other commodity or mass-produced item, there are some models which are rare, or were made in limited editions. These watches command high prices, and may even appreciate in value as time goes by. These models are usually documented and it is relatively easy to research. However, there may be no photograph of these rare watches and it would be hard to verify. Needless to say, the seller would most probably also not know of the item’s provenance also due to the rarity.
- Sports watches
There are some sports watches which are considered collectibles. The Casio G-shock, for instance, is a well sought after line of sports watches. Popular diving watches from Omega, Tag Heuer and Breitling, to name a few are also very popular. It is not a coincidence that high-end sports watches are also chronographs. These are expensive watches with complex movements and multiple complications. Before there were quartz watches, chronographs were the most accurate wrist watches available on the market.
Pre-owned watches may cost less, but they’re still an investment. As a buyer, you should always do your research about the item and the seller before shelling out your hard-earned cash.
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