How To Inspect A Watch [Checklist Included]

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Planning to buy a new luxury watch or settling for a used one? Either way, you need to examine the watch in order to save yourself from the cost of repairing the watch after taking the charge. Also, it’s common for luxury watches to have a fake copy selling in the market. So you should inspect the watch before buying it to save yourself from getting ripped off.

In this article, I will share with you a checklist that will help you inspect a luxury and vintage watch. So without any further delay, let’s start!

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How To Inspect A Watch

Here’s a complete checklist of things you should examine closely before buying your next luxury watch. If you follow the checklist shared below then you can easily save yourself from buying a duplicate or a tatty watch.




Check for dents and scratches on the case


Look for the print and color quality


Check the condition and accuracy of the watch movement


Look for scratches and missing links in metal strap


Check if its closure is working fine and is in good condition


Check for damages and scratches

How Do You Examine A Watch?

Here’s how you can closely examine a watch by checking the different parts of the watch carefully.

1. Case & Crystal

examine the case

The watch case is an important part of the luxury timepiece, it is also the biggest metallic part of the watch hence you should inspect it clearly for scratches and dents. You should observe the front and back of the case for damages and abnormalities.

If there are deep scratches then you can see them with your naked eyes but for a better inspection, you should use a watch loupe to check for hairline scratches that are not easily visible. To check for dents you can move your finger over the watch case, if there is any dent even a minor one you will feel it.

Similarly, you have to check the watch crystal for scratches and damages. Look at the crystal from different angles because sometimes a scratch is only visible when looked at from a certain angle.

If there are scratches or small dents on the watch then you may have to polish it. So check the case and crystal of the watch carefully before purchasing the watch.

2. Dial

inspect a luxury watch

A dial is what sets a watch apart, it’s the most visually appealing part of a timepiece. You should check the color of the dial for dullness or imperfection. You should also examine the print quality of the numbers and logo printed on the watch dial.

The alignment of the watch markers should also be perfect. Some watches have a skeleton dial and some are made of special material like mother of pearl so you need to be careful while inspecting these kinds of watches.

3. Movement & Other Functions

inspect movement

A luxury watch is mostly a mechanical watch that is either self-winding or manual winding in nature. Before buying a mechanical watch you must check its movement for accuracy because it is the heart of the watch. You can check its accuracy with a timegrapher machine like these. If you don’t have this machine then you can also download a timegrapher app from Play Store.

Besides the movement, you should also inspect the other features of the watch prior to buying it. If the watch has a chronograph function then you should also check it by starting and stopping the chronograph by pressing the buttons provided on the side. Similarly, you should also reset the watch and see if the watch’s hands go back to their initial position or not.

Moreover, if there is a date or day window on the watch then you should also check it’s working by changing the date or day respectively by rotating the hour hands.

4. Strap & Buckle

Most people don’t give much attention to the watch strap and buckle while purchasing a timepiece because they think it’s not important. But you should not do the same mistake. If you are going for a watch or a smartwatch with a metallic strap then look for scratches and see if any link is missing. Generally, there are 12 to 15 links in a watch strap. If you are buying a new watch then it should have a full strap so you can customize it according to your wrist size.

Similarly, the buckle of the watch needs to be examined closely. If you feel that the buckle closure is not working fine then you can skip the watch.

5. Weigh The Watch

An original luxury watch is heavier than non-luxury watches due to the fact that it uses precious metals in its construction. If you are buying a Rolex watch then weighing it can be a good way to find out if a Rolex is real or not. If the weight of the watch does not match the weight mentioned on the box or the official website then you should not purchase it.

6. Match The Serial Number

The serial and reference number are printed on the Rolex and similar luxury watches like Omega, Patek Philippe, and more. You can find them printed on the dial or between the lugs. You need to match the serial number printed on the watch with the Rolex papers you get in the box like the warranty card, or the bill.

7. Check The Watch Box

watch box

While examining a watch before purchasing you should not skip the watch box because it contains important papers and accessories like a User manual, warranty card, service guide, bezel protector, and much more. If you take the watch and find out that some paper is missing then it’s nearly impossible to get replacement papers. So check carefully in advance.


Be it a modern luxury watch or a vintage timepiece, you need to be very careful while purchasing them, especially, when you buy a pre-owned timepiece. As these things cost a lot, if you miss something at the time of inspection then you will have to pay a lot of money to rectify it later. If you are a watch collector or a watch enthusiast then you must have a watch magnification loupe and Timegrapher machine handy as they will help you inspect a watch in a better way.


How Do You Examine A Watch?

Look for physical damages and test the functions of the watch.

How Do I Know If My Watch Is Accurate?

You can make use of Timegrapher machine or phone app. Moreover, you can compare the watch with an atomic clock to check it's accuracy.

How Can You Tell If A Watch Is Real?

You have to closely inspect the watch to tell if it is real or not.

Tom Nielson

Tom's love for watches started when his grandfather gifted him his Rolex watch when he turned 18! Being a teenager it was a big deal for him. Later when he got his first job he bought Fossil Palm Pilot back in 2003 which was a smartwatch. Since then smartwatches have come a long way and so is Tom's love for them. His experience with watches inspired him to start Wearholic and share his knowledge of wearables including watches, smartwatches, smart glasses, & smart clothing.

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