What To Look For When Buying A Used Watch

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You might be familiar that the market of second-hand or pre-owned products has witnessed a drastic change over the years; positively, of course. Nowadays, where everything has become expensive, some people come as our savior and sell pre-owned things at a low price. However, the market for pre-owned products is enormous, which can make things a little confusing for you.

Investing in an excellent handed-down watch can be a wise choice to save your money. However, it has got several stumbling blocks as well. Purchasing a used watch can be risky at times, so don’t forget to do your part of the research beforehand. This will preserve you from being cheated by the sellers. Well, I am here to let you know what to look for when buying a used watch.

And when you go on reading the further article you will also get to know things to look for when buying secondhand luxury watches and smartwatches.

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Should You Buy A New Or Old Watch?

It’s well known that some reputed brands keep the value of their luxury watches constant, but most often, the watch prices shoot up with time. Of course, the price of a new watch also affects its second-hand cost. However, a pre-owned watch’s price is always less expensive than the new one, so you can save money for further purchases. Therefore, if you want a luxurious watch to flaunt on your wrist, no matter whether it’s the latest model or not, you could definitely go for a used watch.

Also in the past few years, the second-hand division is believed to have the fastest growth in the watch sector. There are numerous watch enthusiasts who are willing to grab excellent deals offered by the sellers without a second thought. But, trust me when I say that not every seller in the market is genuine. And if you don’t want to get fooled by the fraud sellers then always keep in mind the below factors.

What To Look For When Buying A Used Watch?

1. Don’t Always Fall For Low Price

low price pre-owned watch

I believe that as of now you have already made up your mind in terms of budget. So, the first step that should be taken is to do proper research on the watch you are looking forward to buying. After that, check its online presence and have a look at its market value. It will give you an idea of the original price and how much second-hand value is worth paying for. In case you got an offer where the watch seems to be priced at a very low amount then just take it as a red signal, as there’s likely to be a suspicious reason about that. It might be either fake, stolen, or damaged.

2. Buy From A Trustworthy Seller

trustworthy seller

Have you ever thought about why several people who complain about being cheated by a seller actually get tricked? Ok, I will not say that the buyer is entirely at fault. But they are partially responsible as sometimes the buyer doesn’t research enough about the sellers. I have also seen some of my knowns make the same mistake.

Buying a second-hand watch depends on the trust level you put on a seller. Never blindly trust someone without doing your homework. If they claim to be a certified seller, start looking out for their social media profiles or check out if they have any website. Also, do the watches sold by them have any pictures on their social media accounts? And do they have any reviews online? Do as much research as possible as it will help you know how genuine they are.

Also, a truthful seller will always have a physical showroom where you can give them a visit and try out the watches before buying anything. On the other hand, if it’s an individual seller and you have to shop online, then you have to be more careful. For instance, you should ask the seller for the pictures of the watch as well as a video in which the overall mechanism needs to be shown.

3. Know The Maintenance History

check maintenance history

If you are a fan of vintage watches then let me tell you that the older the watch, the more maintenance it requires. This is something that you should never forget to consider before buying a used watch. It’s especially true with old watches that are less durable, and due to which they need to be serviced more often as their parts are fragile and can get damaged easily.

Also, when it comes to older watches, it’s generally hard finding their original parts in the market. So, repairing a damaged part in these watches can become really troublesome. And that’s why it’s really crucial that these timepieces are handled with care and taken through timely maintenance. But sadly, not all people get their watches serviced on time, which affects the timepiece’s longevity.

So, it’s really important for you to get the maintenance history from a seller to figure out if the watch is worth buying or not. If there isn’t any maintenance record, then it’s possible that you are spending your money on something that doesn’t have much life left.

4. Get The Original Box And Billing

get the box of the second-hand watch

The original box and billing papers signify that the watch is not stolen. We all know that a wristwatch is a very small wearable, so it’s normal for people to forget their watches on park benches, buses, or office tables. And most often, these lost watches don’t go back to their real owners, meaning they get picked up by someone else. So, when you are buying a watch from an uncertified seller, there are chances that the watch might be stolen.

If you are not thorough in your background check then you might end up buying a stolen product. And in case the seller is unknown, the only way to verify the ownership is through billing and the original box. Also, getting the receipt and box is not an uncommon practice; we often ask for these when buying any second-hand product.

get the receipt

On top of that, it would be easier for you to get all the details about the watch through the original box. But, the original papers and box don’t always ensure the originality of the pre-owned watch. This is something that can be figured out by the watch lovers by taking the watch in hand.

Finally, if the second-hand watch is still under warranty period then it would be easier for you to claim the service through billing.

5. Checkout That The Watch Works Smoothly

If you are investing a good amount on a used watch then check the overall watch once before making the full and final payment. Don’t forget to do a thorough inspection to check whether the crown is rotating smoothly, the bezel is moving as it should, and the watch hands are working properly. Most importantly, take it as a red signal if the seller does not allow you to examine the watch. If that’s the case, then it clearly means that even the seller themself is unsure about the watch you’re about to purchase.

Anyway, if you do not have enough knowledge about how a watch should be inspected then you should ask a knowledgeable friend of yours in this regard who can accompany you to the seller.

6. Return Policy

When buying a second-hand watch from a certified seller, whether in person or online, a return policy is something that should not be neglected. A loyal seller will always promise either return or replacement if the watch stops working within a fixed time period. Even if it’s an individual or uncertified seller, they should at least promise you a return if the watch doesn’t work as promised. In short, if the second-hand watch is coming without a return or replacement policy then you should move on to a different seller.

Factors To Consider When Buying A Used Luxury Watch?

Buying a new luxury watch can be very costly so it’s better to find a seller who deals in second-hand luxury watches. Even though the decision of buying a used luxury watch can save your money to some extent but it can be a possibility of getting duped too. So, consider the following factors when looking for a used luxury watch.

1. Knowing The Watch

It’s still a dream for many to own a high-toned watch. However, it demands a solid investment so many of us put our hope on second-hand sellers. Unfortunately, the wider the second-hand market, the higher the chances of getting trapped by the frauds, selling fake and cheap watches. Hence, you should always be prepared and try to gather as much knowledge about the watch as possible so that you are able to inspect the watch and no one gets the chance to make a fool of you.

2. Spot A Duplicate Watch

It’s not at all a difficult task to tell the difference between the original luxury and a fake/cheap quality watch. However, you need to study the product thoroughly. Some of the factors you should consider are:

  1. A Rolex watch is equipped with all the high-class and solid material that makes the watch weigh heavy. So, a fake watch obviously cannot match the original’s weight due to the low-quality material.
  2. An original high-end watch pays attention to every detail of the watch, whether it’s big or small. In contrast, the fake watch misses out on proper detailing and the cheapness of the watch can be spotted easily. For instance, they come with poor-quality printing. So, based on the printing quality alone, you can figure out which one is the original and which is duplicate.
  3. Every luxury watch comes with a good enough water resistance. So, without wasting time just take the watch through a waterproof test. If the watch stops or the moisture starts getting into it then just run to a different seller. And if it withstands the test then proceed with the payment and make it yours.

3. Find The Perfect Place To Buy A Luxury Watch

what to look for before buying a used luxury watch

You probably should not rely on the websites like eBay and so on for buying a Rolex or Omega watch. A famed showroom could be a great option where you can get a genuine used watch. Or else, if you have time limitations and looking out for a seller online then don’t forget to investigate thoroughly before closing the deal.

Things To Look For When Buying A Second Hand Smartwatch?

Now, let’s proceed with the factors to be looked for before buying a used smartwatch:

1. Inquire About The Functionality

things to look for when buying a used smartwatch

Don’t ever forget to inquire appropriately about the smartwatch you have the will to pay for. Nowadays, people are usually seen wearing smartwatches more than traditional watches because they come with fitness and health tracking features that help you to live and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Hence, the smartwatches are mostly worn by people 24*7.

You never know if the seller is handing you something that might have some issues due to the over-usage. Hence, take time and inspect the watch’s functionality from top to bottom. If the seller is honest then they won’t have any issue clarifying your doubts regarding the smartwatch.

2. Examine The Overall Appearance

The second factor that you should always check when buying a preowned watch is its appearance. Meaning, a smartwatch comes with many essential features so it becomes an essential tool that is worn all the time. Therefore, you definitely have the right to verify if the watch has gone through some physical damage in the past. Also, check whether there are scratches on the dial or the strap holes look stretched. Don’t just go and take the watch without seeing the overall appearance properly.

3. Battery Life

Most importantly, the battery life is something that you should never take lightly. What good is a watch if it runs out of power every few hours? The best way to check if the smartwatch has a good battery life is to charge the power to 100% and use it for a few days without paying the full amount to the seller. While you test it, keep a close eye on its battery life. If the watch is using too much power in a short time, then it’s possible that the timepiece’s battery is nearing its end.

Final Verdict

The factors mentioned above should be considered while buying a pre-owned watch. And if any of these factors seems to be missing then it’s best to refrain from buying the watch. Instead, you should start looking for another seller who offers you everything you require to build trust.


Is It Fine To Buy A Used Watch Instead Of A New Watch?

Yes, it’s better to buy a used watch when you're on a limited budget as they are priced low than a new watch. However, before buying a second-hand watch, do proper research at your end.

Why Is It Necessary To Ask For The Original Box And Billing Papers Of The Second-Hand Watch?

There are several people out there who sell stolen products. So, to protect yourself from getting involved in any kind of illegalities, it is important that you have proof of the watch being genuinely bought by you.

How Do I Know That The Used Luxury Watch I Am About To Buy Is Original Or Fake?

The fake watch cannot ever match the quality of the original one. You can easily figure it out by seeing its low-grade appearance.

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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