Purchasing vintage watches is an enjoyable and rewarding experience, especially if you managed to snag a timeless classic at a good price. However, the process of buying pre-owned timepieces also requires intensive evaluation, a great level of discernment, and knowledge about models, brands, and parts.
1. Always purchase from a reputable seller.
Do you want to be sure that you’re buying an authentic vintage watch? Go to a reputable seller. You can begin with TheRelux.com. We have a huge selection of luxury pre-owned watches that are guaranteed authentic and reasonably priced.
With the vast information accessible in the Internet today, you can easily conduct a background check of a potential watch seller. Always look for client feedback. Testimonials speak volumes about how they do business.
If possible, meet with potential sellers and talk with them personally. Observe how they interact with you, answer your questions, and present their products. This will give you an idea if their priority is to help you or to simply make a sale.
2. Know what you want.
You need to be clear on what watch it is your looking for. Is it a Philippe Patek, a Rolex, or a Cartier? Do you want a lather strap or a metal bracelet? Do you want a watch from the 50s or a timepiece from a more recent era like the 70s?
You need to have a clear idea of what you want, so that your search is more focused. The danger with not having a direction is that some sellers will tend to offer you the most expensive ones they have or the ones that they just wanted to get rid off.
3. Manage your expectations.
Yes, you’re looking for a quality timepiece, but you also need to be realistic about expectations. You can’t expect a watch to look sparkly and new, because vintage ones are not like that. What you should be looking for is a timepiece that still works well and has the original parts.
When looking at vintage watches, determine if all the parts are original or if some have been replaced. It’s important to note that a watch may have all authentic parts, but they are not original to the watch—meaning, they are just replacements. Keep in mind that repairs and alterations done on a watch may have implications on its functionality and its eligibility to receive repair service from manufacturers.
As for the aesthetics, it’s normal to see aging marks on watches. A good quality vintage watch has uniform patina on the dial, hands, and hour markers.
4. Do business with a seller who has a return policy.
Go for a seller that allows returns because you need time to inspect a vintage watch after purchasing it, especially if you’re buying online. A return policy serves like an extra layer of protection for you as a consumer. If the watch is defective or far from what you expected, you can always return the item and get your money back.
Once you have the timepiece, take it to a watchmaker immediately for inspection. This will help determine if the watch is a keeper or not. Watchmakers have machines that will help test a watch’s water resistance, amplitude, movement, and other areas of the watch’s functionality and authenticity.
5. Do your homework.
Learn as much as you can about vintage watches. Read articles, participate in forums, or join social media groups that focus on pre-owned luxury watches. This is a good way to gain knowledge about the industry with fellow buyers and enthusiasts.