3 Things You Need To Know Before Purchasing a Pre-Owned Timepiece
Purchasing a pre-owned luxury item can be overwhelming. Working with an informed, honest, and trustworthy retailer can ensure you get the value in the piece you're looking for. Your best bet is to BE PREPARED. We've asked our resident watch specialist the top three things you need to know to be a smart consumer!
Do Your Research
The easiest way to prevent yourself from getting the short end of the deal or ending up with a pre-owned watch you don't like is to do your research before you go to an actual store.
- Look it up online
- Watch reviews on YouTube
- Visit some watch forums
- Ask questions
The watch community is a very loyal and tight-knit group. If you are honest with your questions, there will be more than a few people willing to help lend some knowledge and make you more confident in your decision.
If you don't quite know yet the exact watch you want to purchase:
If you know exactly which watch you want:
- Do some exploring of different types and narrow it down to a particular style
- OR Choose a few watches that you would like to discuss with your jeweler
- Read reviews and learn some of the more important details of the piece
- Know what kind of movement comes standard
- Ask when the watch was last serviced, if any parts have been replaced or if anything is not original to the watch.
You don't have to be an expert, but a general knowledge will not only help prevent you from getting scammed, but will make the entire process even more enjoyable for you.
Purchase From a Place Who Has Done THEIR Research
Now that you've done your research, it is time to make sure that the company you are purchasing from has done their homework as well. Make sure they are not only educated on each topic, but have the resources to attend to all of your pre-owned watch needs.
STORE 5a has a strict refurbishing policy for all of their pre-owned timepieces. With backing from the Diamond Cellar, we can ensure that before any watch hits the sales floor our expert watchmakers check the following:
- Alignment of all hands
- Cleanliness of case and bracelet
- Examination of dial
- Amplitude testing
- Water resistance check
- Timing Analysis
- Bezel rotation
- Screwing and unscrewing of crown
- Chronograph’s function, start and stop
- Gaskets in correct position
Each certified, pre-owned timepiece is then under a 1 year timekeeping warranty through STORE 5a and the Diamond Cellar. STORE 5a also provides you with an appraisal report completed by a licensed GIA Gemologist, so you know exactly what you are purchasing.
Beware of scams, fakes and Frankensteins.
The ugly truth when purchasing a luxury watch is now, more than ever, you have to be worried about replica watches and their increasing ability to fool even a trained eye. A replica watch is a timepiece that is created to look like a known piece from a luxury brand, but is often made with cheap, low-quality parts and no quality control. The resulting watch is often fraught with problems and almost no watchmaker will work on them, since you never know what you're going to get on the inside. Plus, selling replica items is copyright infringement and is against the law.
A “Frankenstein” is slightly different, it's when you take an authentic luxury watch and start mixing and matching parts from other authentic luxury watches to create a combination not offered by the brand or not original to that watch. Switching dials, bezels, hands, and sometimes even cases has unfortunately become a relatively common practice among shady jewelry stores and online sites alike. Luxury brands like Rolex have a very strict brand identity, and in order to maintain that and the value that comes with it, the brands and collectors alike want every watch to remain the way it was born. Something as simple as switching a dial out on your Rolex for another color will drastically reduce the resale value of your watch, even if the replacement dial is authentic. Not only that, but the next time you send your watch to Rolex (or a Rolex Certified watchmaker), you will be faced with the choice of paying to replace your dial to its original state, or having Rolex refuse to work on your watch and send it right back to you. The places trying to sell you on switching dials won't tell you that part.
Be wary when purchasing online from auction sites or dealers with no reviews, and always know the return policy. When purchasing watches from unknown sources, you can't always guarantee the watch is authentic, if it's a Frankenstein, or that 100% of the parts in the watch are authentic.
Another way to severely devalue a luxury watch is to replace authentic parts with generic parts. For instance, only a Rolex Certified watchmaker can order authentic parts from Rolex, everyone else has to get them from third party suppliers. If a dishonest watchmaker can't find a part they need, or want to boost the profit of the repair, they will purchase cheaper, non-Rolex parts and use those to repair the watch. The owner of the watch, unless they are a trained watchmaker, won't know the difference until the part fails or they take it to another watchmaker who tells them about it. Knowing and trusting the person or business you are buying from is paramount when purchasing luxury items, so do your research.
The Diamond Cellar is an authorized Rolex vendor. That being said, our personal relationship with Rolex allows us to be honest, trustworthy, and completely confident in the authenticity of your pre-owned timepiece.
Work with a reputable dealer.
The easiest way to avoid all of the pitfalls and costly mistakes described above is, of course, to work with a reputable dealer. A true jeweler is someone who cares more about finding the perfect watch for you and less about closing a quick sale. Do some research on the store or site you plan to purchase from, read reviews from customers or ask friends who have shopped there. When you go into a store, be wary of a salesperson who is pushy; a warm welcome and a relaxed demeanor is the mark of someone who is there to help you instead of trying to get you out the door quickly. Taking the time to talk to you and accurately inform you of all of the details and technical aspects of a watch is the reason the jeweler is there, and the knowledge they impart on you helps build trust and confidence. As with any large, luxury purchase, don't be afraid to ask questions, you have all the time in the world to make your decision, but it takes just seconds to get buyers remorse, so make sure you get all of your concerns addressed. A knowledgeable and honest dealer will take the time to ensure you are confident and comfortable with the purchase you are about to make.
As a part of Diamond Cellar Holdings, STORE 5a is backed by one of the largest independent jewelry companies in the United States. Together we have almost 70 years of experience in the industry, with a team of highly trained and certified jewelry and watch buyers, goldsmiths, watchmakers, and sales associates. With our collective experience and education, our job is to make pre-owned shopping trustworthy, easy, and efficient.
Start your research today. Take a look at our fine timepiece collection to determine a style and contact our experts with any questions you may have!