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Buying a used watch

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I am considering purchasing a used watch from a high-end manufacturer, like Patek Philppe, Audemars Piguet, or Vacheron Constantin.

 

I am looking in the < 5k price range.  I would like something mechanical with a leather strap and a relatively simple design.  It looks like, in this price range, that I am looking at a manual wind as opposed to automatic.

 

Is this a bad idea?  Is there anything I should look out for, or any other manufacturers I should consider?

 

Thanks

 

ETA: I am seeing a lot of these watches on ebay with either new or custom cases.  Should I avoid these?


Edited by msulinski - 4/11/12 at 7:32am
post #2 of 9
Buy a used high-end watch from a reputable seller. Check out timezone.com and their sales forums. Buy the seller as much as the watch. I've bought and sold many watches on the site without a problem. Make sure the seller has been on the site for some time, with lots of posts and has good references. Get a three-day return privilege.

Don't buy a watch sight unseen. Buy one you have seen at an authorized dealer, try it on and decide if you like it. Then, shop around for a gently used one with box and papers. Keep in mind any high end mechanical watch will need service every 5 - 8 years and will cost over $500 for cleaning and adjusting (much more if it has complications).

Stay away from ebay!
post #3 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by msulinski View Post

I am considering purchasing a used watch from a high-end manufacturer, like Patek Philppe, Audemars Piguet, or Vacheron Constantin.

I am looking in the < 5k price range.  I would like something mechanical with a leather strap and a relatively simple design.  It looks like, in this price range, that I am looking at a manual wind as opposed to automatic.

Is this a bad idea?  Is there anything I should look out for, or any other manufacturers I should consider?

Thanks

ETA: I am seeing a lot of these watches on ebay with either new or custom cases.  Should I avoid these?

Looking for a Patek for <$5k will really limit your options. The Gondolo I guess is available in this range, or some other vintage pieces; keep in mind, however, that a lot of these pieces will be very small by today's standards (31mm, etc). Also, I see a lot of Patek's on eBay that are vintage re-cases (is that what you meant by new or custom case?). That is, it was either just a Patek watch movement cased by a third-party, or re-cased pocket watch movements.

If you want something more contemporary within that price range, take a look at Jaeger LeCoultre.
post #4 of 9
I have a fair number of pices purchased in the second hand market. I stick with well respected sellers ... be they on TimeZone or various dealers around the country: European Watch in Boston, Wingate Watches in Dallas, etc.

One maker you might consider putting on your list is Jaeger LeCoultre. I especially like their Gentilhomme (see below) which is no longer in production but can be had on the second hand market (in 18KG for less than $5K when I last checked). An advantage -- or disadvantage depending on your view -- is that it won't be as recognized as a Patek, Vacheron, or AP. That said, JLC is certainly in the same league and has produced movements for just about everyone in the business, including Patek.
Jaeger_Gentilhomme.jpg
post #5 of 9
Good deals are available, but as has been stated already, buy from a trusted dealer or seller. Due diligence is an absolute must when purchasing a used watch. Good luck, and please be careful.
post #6 of 9
Here is a vintage Patek watched priced at just barely < $5K.

http://www.tic-tock.com/wingates/watch-detail/38180

You could always make an offer.

But beware ... some vintage watches are equipped with a plastic 'crystal.'
post #7 of 9
Why are you interested in vintage only, what is it you like about them? Is this your first major watch purchase? I'm not sure why you think you would have to get a hand wound.


http://velociphilewatch.blogspot.ca/2005/10/guide-to-buying-watch-part-2.html
post #8 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cant kill da Rooster View Post

Why are you interested in vintage only, what is it you like about them? Is this your first major watch purchase? I'm not sure why you think you would have to get a hand wound.
http://velociphilewatch.blogspot.ca/2005/10/guide-to-buying-watch-part-2.html

I especially like and agree with No.14 on that list: "Hold out for a 35% discount, minimum. Don't be in a rush to buy. If you look around, and bide your time, you can find almost any watch at a decent price, even the ever-elusive Portugueser."

That is especially true when buying new. It's less so when buying used ... but I still work toward getting a discount. I typically offer an amount and let them know that I'm prepared to complete the sale on the spot if we can agree on price. It often works.
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cant kill da Rooster View Post

Why are you interested in vintage only, what is it you like about them? Is this your first major watch purchase? I'm not sure why you think you would have to get a hand wound.
http://velociphilewatch.blogspot.ca/2005/10/guide-to-buying-watch-part-2.html


I am not only interested in vintage, but, based on perusing ebay, it looks like that is all I will be able to get from those makers for under 5k.  I also didn't see many automatics in that price range either.

 

I do currently own a watch, a quartz white-faced Longines with a metal bracelet (retailed for about 1k).  I am not sure if that means that this is my first major purchase or not.

 

I am open to other makers as well, like Jaeger, as someone above suggested.  I was actually able to find quite a few of these in my price range that are automatic and more modern.

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