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Purchasing an expensive watch on ebay??

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
I am thinking about purchasing a rather expensive watch on ebay. Has anyone ever done this? If so, what steps did you take to verify the authenticity?
post #2 of 27
Don't. Not worth the risk. Jon.
post #3 of 27
My only EBay watch-buying experience is in buying a Paul Stuart watch -- a used one; one that PS sold in the early 80's or so. I figured it was so unusual and unique that there was no way it could be a fake (though I suppose the insides could have been switched or something). I've also been tempted by some older Omega Seamasters. Again, I guess people are capable of anything, but I can't see someone faking one, especially since they usually sell for under $1000.
post #4 of 27
I concur with Jon. The only exceptions are a few B&M stores that have a presence on Ebay... the 2 most likely suspects are Jewels in Time and Proworth. The prices from those two companies aren't really that much better than most gray market retailers. For internet shopping, I recommend the Watchseller (AR) and Bernardwatch. The latter has better prices while the former usually stocks a fair number of mid-market luxury brands ($5-15k). I purchased both of my watches from private sellers I encountered on Timezone. For my last purchase, the seller and I actually met at a local Starbuck's about 15 minutes from my place. I think I lucked out. NCT
post #5 of 27
You'd be better off looking on the Sales Corner at You can also go to the main forum on TZ and ask some of the members there about the Ebay seller you are thinking of purchasing from.
post #6 of 27
My general view is not to do it. 1. With many expensive watches, you don't have a warranty unless you buy it from a dealer. The people who sell on Ebay by and large aren't official delers. If you don't mind a gray market product, fine. 2. Many Ebay auctions declare that watches are 99.9% new. This is sketchy, in my eye. It is also usually not true. I have also seen watches declared "New" where the strap has clearly been oiled and adjusted, and so on. 3. I think this applies to almost all expensive things on Ebay. Cars are the perfect example. Never, ever, buy an expensive car off Ebay sight unseen. Conduct a PPI. Most Ebay auto sales take place offline anyway, for good reason. Ebay is more of an advertising tool, in that regard. My general message is stay away from very expensive items on Ebay unless you are sure. Good luck.
post #7 of 27
I am thinking about purchasing a rather expensive watch on ebay.  Has anyone ever done this? If so, what steps did you take to verify the authenticity?
Too dangerous unless the seller is a known shop or if you can see the watch in real
post #8 of 27
Well .. Like buying clothing on eBay, it takes product knowledge and help from a watch forum to identify authenticity of a watch on eBay. I am gearing up for purchasing Navitimer on eBay. I went to autherized Brietling dealer and tried on Navitimer many times and studied the model. Now I am at the level where I can identify fake Navitimers on ebay just by looking at the pics. Plus, if a seller is selling authentic Navitimer, the seller can answer most of my questions. However, like clothing, there are watch brands I would not buy on eBay; Rolex and any diamond watches. The Rolex replicas are really good in some cases. It is so good that the official Rolex dealer people cannot tell any difference cosmetically. They even put extra matal inside a replica to make the watch's weight as same as real one. Study the model you want to buy; serial number pattern, design, workmanship etc .. Once you put enough effort on gathering information on the watch that you want to buy (hopely not Rolex) you should be able to identify fakes on eBay for that watch.
post #9 of 27
Expensive watches are just too risky. They are, of course, the ones that get faked, and some of them are damned good. Now, I have purchased inexpensive watches which I (sort of) collect off eBay, but these are early 20th-century American made brands that just don't bring in enough bills to justify faking. I also never, ever bid unless they have good photographs of both the dial and the movement (I know what to look for). Once it runs into four figures, however, I've got to have it in my hands before I'll even think of shelling out the dough.
post #10 of 27
I have been looking at Patek's on eBay for some time now. I was watching this auction: Unfortunatley, it ended early because the item was "lost or broken." Drat. Bic
post #11 of 27
Run Away. Run Away quickly. There is a reason why every post on Timezone calls Ebay "Eprey". The thieves abound and they have all the advantages. With vintage watches you have the condition issue-- the better vintage watches these days sell at retail jewelers (I paid $500 for a 1924 rose gold Wakmann chronograph at a Main Street jeweler), so there has to be a reason why the watch is on Eprey. That reason is usually a condition or originality defect. The most common is that the jeweler takes in a piece with a rusted solid movement (remember it doesn't take much to ruin a movement when the gears have teeth .008 inches thick), replaces it with a $25 mechanical generic movement from LaRose, and closes the case back up. The movement has swiss ebauche markings and real jewels, etc., but it's not corect for that piece. Sometimes the jeweler can transfer a marked bridge to even give the movement a marking. Sometimes you'll find a white nylon spacer ring inside, but lots of real period pieces have those too. Other times the hands will be too new. But you have to be very, very, very good to know the difference. With new high-grade watches you now have a HUGE amount of energy going into fakery-- some of the latest Breitling and Rolex fakes are so good it's absolutely terrifying. We're talking marked mechanical movements, very good silkscreening, and case castings (in zinc, which feels about as heavy as steel, and takes a nice plating) that are taken from genuine pieces. I was suckered into a fake Rolex Oyster band two years ago at a watch show. I looked it over with a 10X loupe, reviewed it with three other highly knowledgeable sellers for nearly an hour, and finally bit. It had slotted screw heads, the full rollmarks (USA-- suggesting that it was a middle period band, as would be correct for that style), proper polish contrast, a fliplock, and marked endpieces. The best darned fake band I've ever seen. That's just the BAND. I also bought a Corum Admiral's Cup at a pawnshop in Colorado five years ago that had a fully marked movement, accurate bezel screws, a marked crown, and a picture-perfect metal bracelet. I paid very little, but decided that on the 50% chance it might be genuine I couldn't afford not to pay $80. I also reasoned that Corum was not a brand highly likely to be faked, since the yobs don't know about it. Under magnification and chemical testing it turned out to be fraudulent, but the amount of imitative energy put into this piece was unbelievable. Remember that you have ZERO legal protections. Paypal only cares that you got something in the box. Even in your own state, you would bear the burden of proving it was a fake-- an impossible task. I would love to see the expression on the face of a state's attorney, too, as you outline why he should waste his time on a criminal prosecution built around your expensive watch purchased eyes wide open on Ebay. Out of state, fuggedaboudit.
post #12 of 27
Some of the Ebay retailers look legit. What about Watch Boutique? They offer a warranty and an authenticity gurantee. The price on the above link looks about right, if you don't have the overhead of a B&M. Jon, you know these guys? They are in Boca Another one that looks legit is the Watchery. You know they are guranteeing authenticity and offering a warranty. Isn't that enough to make one feel comfortable buying there?
post #13 of 27
Thread Starter 
I went to last night. I saw the same watch I want there. Just so happens, it is the same guy with the ebay auction. Pictures look real. He claims to have serial numbers, papers, box, etc.
post #14 of 27
I've also been tempted by some older Omega Seamasters. Again, I guess people are capable of anything, but I can't see someone faking one, especially since they usually sell for under $1000.
Actually, there's something of an epidemic of fakery among vintage Omega's -- Feux-megas, if you will. If you're going to consider buying an Omega through eBay, you'd do well to educate yourself on some of the most common hallmarks of ersatz Omegas.
post #15 of 27
I went to last night.  I saw the same watch I want there.  Just so happens, it is the same guy with the ebay auction.  Pictures look real.  He claims to have serial numbers, papers, box, etc.
There are many fakes companies out there selling fake Rolex etc with papers and boxes and serial numbers etc. Be careful. I get these everyday in my email at the store.
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