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5 top tips for buying a Vintage Watch

by Michael Weare
8 September, 2010
1 Comment | Discuss this article

About the author

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

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In the market for a pre-owned or vintage watch? Like everything in life there are a few guidelines to follow:

1. First buy the seller

The watch may appear to be 100% authentic, but if you do not trust the seller, walk away from the deal. How do you do this if the seller is online? Read his descriptions, contact him for clarifications. Honest sellers will tell you if they are not sure if a certain part of the watch is original. Honest sellers will give you as much information and as many pictures as possible to help you make an informed purchase.

So for example, if you are not sure the dial or hands on that beautiful 1930’s Rolex Prince are the real deal, ask. Then check to see what his reputation is amongst Rolex watch collectors. You can find several online forums available on vintage watches, where participants can tell you if a seller is to be trusted or not.

As for eBay, good feedback dating back at least a couple of years tells it exactly as it is.

2. Do your homework

Just as in everything else, knowledge is power in the world of vintage watches.

You can research by trawling websites, blogs or forums, but sometimes you may have to do it the old fashioned way and resort to a book. A number of brands like Omega and IWC publish their own reference work and publishers like Italian Mondani have standard reference books on brands such as Rolex and Patek Philippe. These books provide hundreds of pages with detailed descriptions and photographs of watches, parts and accessories. Books such as these can be expensive; maybe £300 or more, unless you can find a secondhand edition, but what if a £300 book saved you from a £7000 mistake? And such books really help to develop your knowledge and passion for vintage watches.

3. Don’t act in haste

Buying a vintage watch has as much to do with emotions as with investment logic. Don’t get into a bidding war online unless you really know you have found the exact watch you want. If the price exceeds your budget or the price seems too good to be true, stop and take stock.

4. Think twice about the watch being sold

Do you really need the original box or papers? Many good quality vintage watches don’t have the original box or papers, and such items might double the price in some cases; is it worth it to you? Decide on this before you buy as such things can add significantly to your budget.

5. Pay in person

Before you agree to buy whenever you possibly can, arrange to see the watch in person. If not, ask if you can arrange to examine the watch for 3 days and return it if not satisfied.

Do you have any tips you would like to share?

Do you have any useful tips for buying a vintage watch? Join in and share your useful tips below.

Michael Weare | Website

Michael Weare has been a professional writer for 30 years, writing about Japanese technology, German and Italian cars, British tailoring and Swiss watches. Michael manages the editorial content of Click Tempus and will be keeping the magazine fresh and informative with regular features, as well as bringing great writers to the magazine. Email: michael@clicktempus.com

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