The world of high-end watchmaking is unfortunately tarnished by numerous imitated or counterfeit products. Beware, especially for high-value watches, there is a plethora of imitations. Most of them can be spotted at first glance: coarse finish, non-conformity with the original, quality of materials. Some imitations are deceptive because they come very close to the original model. In this case, it is the price that should be of interest to you because they are often offered at a price well below the real market value.
It is important to establish a relationship of trust with the seller, he must be available, responsive and answer clearly to the questions you ask him. It is customary to say that you buy from the seller before you buy from him, so it is better to pass by if you have the slightest doubt about the person.
Ask for additional photos, wide and detailed plans, photos of the box and the different papers provided. A photo of the watch at a specific time indicated on the dial will also prove that the seller is in possession of the item.
Don’t hesitate to ask for a copy of identity papers.
Ask for the seller’s phone number and contact him at least once by phone before the transaction, a real conversation is the best way to detect suspicious behaviour.
It is preferable to meet the seller during the transaction, this will allow you to appreciate the person and especially to carefully analyze the object before the purchase.
It is preferable to buy a watch with its original box and as many documents as possible: purchase and maintenance invoice, transfer certificates. This will allow you to know the history of the watch but a complete watch is also a pledge of previous careful owners.
Start by analysing the documents and find out about the last service: who carried it out and when was it done?
Next, analyse the appearance of the watch, its cleanliness, any scratches on the case and glass. The condition of the strap is also an indicator of the proper care of the watch, especially if it is made of leather.
It is time to move on to the analysis of the proper functioning of the watch. Activate the crown and check that all the settings are working: time, date, GMT, etc…if it is a watch with multiple complications, take the time to test everything, such as the chrono with its different pushers.
For a watch of great value, do not hesitate to ask the seller for an authentication, an expertise as well as a revision estimate if necessary from a professional specialist of the brand. This will cost you a little money but the stakes are high.
A physical meeting is preferable, choose a public place indoors and avoid bar or restaurant terraces. If the amount is large, choose to pay by cheque or cashier’s cheque to avoid carrying and being robbed of a large amount of cash.
Refuse a Western Union or equivalent payment method.
Buying from a professional
For a first time buyer, it is reassuring to buy a used watch from a professional. In most cases, after the purchase and before the watch is put back on sale, any good professional will have carried out a complete overhaul of the watch, cleaning and polishing, as well as waterproofing for the watches concerned. Moreover, he will be able to assure you of the authenticity of the object and will apply a guarantee.