When you buy anything second-hand, there is always an extra layer of caution you have with your scrutiny of the item in question. Few people would worry about whether a car dealer is the true owner of a brand new vehicle, for example, but you might want to check the registered owner status of a used car that is being sold by a private seller. The same goes for pre-owned luxury watches. When you are considering buying one or trading your current watch in for another model, it is best to be diligent in your checks. What should you bear in mind when assessing whether a pre-owned watch is worth the price being asked for it?
- Look for supporting paperwork. This means whether or not the current owner can provide a receipt or a bill of sale that proves they are the rightful owner. What you won’t want to do is to buy something inadvertently that turns out to be of questionable origin. That will make it harder for you to sell in the future if you ever decide to part with it, of course. Some watches are inherited rather than bought. If so, find out more about why the seller has it and whether their story sounds plausible or not.
- Ask about original boxes. If the watch seller has the original box that the watch was sold in, then this is a very good sign. Original boxes are sought-after by collectors and the rarer the watch in question, the better news it is if the box it came in is still in use. Don’t be put off by an original box that has obviously been opened and closed a great deal. An old watch – even one that is in good condition – with a pristine box might be a little too good to be true.
- Look carefully at the watch. This is important whether you are assessing a pre-owned watch in person or online. Not everyone has a jeweller’s eye, so ask for it to be independently assessed for you if you have doubts about the precious metals or stones that might feature in the design. If you are purchasing from an online seller, then ask them to provide video evidence of the watch’s condition so you can see it from multiple angles. Ideally, this will be provided live and not from a recording so you’ll know that it is up-to-date.
- Review the service history. Sometimes watches that are in good condition will not have been serviced very often. This does not mean that you will not want to look at the service history, however. It is one way of checking how long the watch has been in the possession of the current owner, after all. With older and antique watches, it should also give you confidence that the timepiece was properly maintained by previous owners.
- Buy from a reputable dealer. Some private sellers provide little buyer protection and you can leave yourself exposed if something were to go wrong. On the other hand, dealers often provide limited warranties for pre-owned watches. What you want is a company with a good reputation, such as Bonds of Brentwood in Essex. Such firms have a standing in the pre-owned watch market they want to maintain whereas a private seller could try to overvalue their item with little or no comeback that will affect them.
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