Our Guide to Buying a Pre-Owned Watch

As with any investment you make, buying a serious timepiece calls for some serious consideration and research. From the sleek simplicity of the Cartier Tank, to the sharp precision of the Rolex Air-King, the world of haute horology is a treasure trove to the watch enthusiast.
 If you are thinking of invest in a luxury timepiece, be it a classic style, a collector’s edition or a vintage piece, then a pre-owned watch is a fantastic option and great value for your money. These timepieces have all been stringently checked for authenticity and have been given a full service and each come with a 12 month warranty.
 However, as with any luxury products, there is an inevitable circulation of counterfeits; and these counterfeits are better than ever today. So with years of experience in assessing, evaluating and authenticating haute horology, our resident watch expert Luke Stafford shares his top tips for buying a pre-owned watch.
This is the first thing I reach for when assessing any watch. A jeweller’s loupe will allow you to really study the quality and the details of the watch. A prestigious brand has gained their reputation due to their high quality, and this is best highlight through a 10x magnification. All text, be it printed on the dial or engraved on the casing, should be sharp, defined and solid. Anything less than perfect simply is not correct; dials should not be bleeding into text, batons or any other features on the dial.
When it comes to authenticating timepieces, the internet is a fantastic resource. From sourcing information to high-resolution images, you can find a wealth of information to help you in your research. Look out for information about alignment of lettering, font of text and colouring to use for comparisons.
Additional functions, such as date, annual calendar, chronograph, minute repeater etc are known as ‘complications’. These complications are intricate and expensive, and therefore more often than not they are overlooked by counterfeits. Check that everything is working as it should, if complications are not functioning it can be expensive and timely to repair. If you are buying the watch from a reputable source, this should all be done for you.
A box and papers can look impressive, but these too can be counterfeit; don’t assume a timepiece is authentic because it comes with these. For example, a Rolex warranty was originally issued on perforated paper that initially was impossible to replicate. However, over time this changed and there was a rise in counterfeit papers. In 2007 Rolex began issuing their warranty on a plastic credit card style card.
Preferably by someone that is confident that they know what they are looking at. If you are unsure of a pieces authenticity, don’t feel pressured into making a quick decision and make time to get a second opinion.
The very best piece of advice we can give you is to buy a pre-owned watch from a trusted and reputable retailer. This way, you can be assured that you are buying a genuine timepiece. Charles Fish have been buying and selling and repairing all manner of timepieces for over 180 years, so you can depend on us to provide a genuine, authentic quality timepiece.
If you have a query about any of our pre-owned watches, or are looking for more information about our watches, please contacts us on 0844 847 6771 or email watches@charlesfish.co.uk and we’ll be happy to help.
Shop our current selection of Pre-Owned watches.

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