Buying a second-hand watch
The purchase of a second-hand watch, whether contemporary or a collector’s item, needs a few guidelines and warnings
Why is it better to buy a watch with its box and papers ?
Acquiring a watch complete with its presentation box and papers is always preferable, as these help to authenticate the watch and its source.
A “complete” watch is often the guarantee that the piece has been well maintained, and has only a few previous owners, each of them sufficiently careful enough to have kept everything.
Besides which, it will be easier for you when you in turn wish to sell your watch.
Can I buy a watch that doesn’t work?
Do not take the risk of buying a watch that that doesn’t work.
One that works, even very badly, can almost always be repaired at very little cost, whereas a watch with a blocked mechanism can be extremely expensive to repair, or completely beyond repair.
What should appear on the purchase certificate?
Have the seller fill in and sign a dated certificate of purchase, complete with his/her proof of identity (number of passport, driving license or identity card) and include on it all information to do with the watch: brand, model, serial number, as well as the amount of the transaction and means of payment.
How should I pay for my acquisition?
If possible, never pay the total amount of the transaction in cash, as you are prohibited by law above a certain amount, and for you, a cheque cashed by the seller is proof of good faith in the case of litigation, for example if the watch was stolen.
What precautions should I take during the purchase of a very valuable watch or one that has many complications?
For extremely expensive or complicated watches, only the revision and maintenance bills will reassure you.
However, when buying a very valuable watch, it would be entirely legitimate to ask the seller to apply to the brand for an authentication and valuation of the watch (at your expense) and if necessary, a servicing estimate.