5 things to check before buying a luxury second-hand watch

Choosing the right luxury second-hand watch is no easy task. With thousands of makes and models available on the pre-owned market, how d’you possibly know where to start?

Add to the confusion the endless amount of online and high street retailers ready to take your money, and suddenly it all seems a little overwhelming.

But don’t worry. Because we’re about to make things a little simpler for you with a checklist to help you make the right decision when buying a second-hand luxury watch.

Is buying a luxury second-hand watch a good idea?

It’s common knowledge luxury watches tend to hold or increase in value. And in recent years, that’s never been clearer to see.

Perhaps the latest surge of interest in the second-hand watch market is due to the excessive waiting time for new models. For example, if you want to own a new Rolex, you could be waiting up to 24 months for your order to be made. Production can’t keep up.

However, second-hand luxury watches are ready to own straightaway and have already absorbed the immediate depreciation that comes with owning a brand-new model. You might also find a rare or discontinued model that’s likely to yield a strong return on investment.

But with popularity increasing in the pre-owned market, it’s very likely you’ll have to pay top prices for a luxury second-hand watch. The good news is you should retain your investment value at the very least, with prices on the pre-owned market continuing to go only one way.

Feel free to get in touch if there’s a particular model you’re looking for – we will check our stock.

Anyway, let’s get to it. Here are 5 things to check before buying a luxury second-hand watch.

1. Is the price correct?

Once you’ve found the make and model you’re after, do some research online to get an idea of the market value for the same watch of a similar age and condition.

If the price seems high, question the seller why it’s more than the market value. And, equally, if the price seems too low, you might be looking at a damaged, stolen or counterfeited watch.

Our advice? If the price seems too good to be true, get an expert opinion before committing to any purchase. We’d be happy to help.

2. Who is the seller?

As you may already know, the luxury watch industry is the most counterfeited in the world, with scammers going to extraordinary lengths to win your business.

That’s why we strongly recommend you ‘buy the seller, not the watch’. Do your homework. If you’re buying online, check their website, social media channels and Google reviews. What have other buyers said about the seller?

It’s also worth checking the buyer’s contact details. Are they operating from a registered business address? If they claim to be a high street shop, are they registered with Companies House?

If your seller has a physical shop within a reasonable travel distance, go and pay a visit. Get a feel for the store and whether they seem trustworthy enough to win your business. Though these checks may seem excessive, they could save you handing over thousands of pounds you’ll never see again. Always approach a sale with caution.

3. Does the watch have its original box and papers?

Purchasing a luxury second-hand watch with its original box and papers will help to validate its authenticity, as well as protect its value.

As standard, a second-hand watch that claims to have all supporting details in its description should include:

  • user manual
  • certificate of authenticity
  • warranty card
  • original box

Of course, if the second-hand luxury watch you wish to purchase doesn’t have its original box and papers, it doesn’t mean it’s not genuine. But you will need to conduct extra research before making a purchase.

4. What about the warranty and returns policy?

Both will differ depending on the make and model of your watch, as well as who you’re buying it from.

At GA Jewellers and Pawnbrokers, we offer a 12-month extended warranty period on our luxury watches from date of purchase, complete with a 28-day returns policy for credit or exchange.

For your peace of mind, always check what you get with your purchase before handing over any money.

5. Does the watch have a full service history?

Just like buying a vintage car, checking your luxury watch has a full service history will provide assurance everything’s in working order.

Of course, you might expect a little wear and tear with older models, but as long as there’s no obvious risk to its value, you should be okay.

An immediate red flag is a seller who’s reluctant to let you fully inspect the watch. More often than not, it means they’re hiding something which will impact its value.

At a minimum, make sure you inspect:

  • original paperwork and authenticity documents
  • mechanical movement of hands and bezels
  • watch strap mechanism
  • serial model and serial number
  • scuffs and scratches
  • all original parts are still intact

For £11.99, you can also use the Watch Tuner Timegrapher app which displays a frequency diagram measuring the rate, beat error, amplitude and beats per hour of your watch.

Looking to buy a luxury second-hand watch? Get in touch to enquire about any of our items, or find your nearest GA Pawnbrokers using our store locator.