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Buying a used watch

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by msulinski, Apr 11, 2012.

  1. msulinski

    msulinski Distinguished Member

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    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?
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012


  2. Twotone

    Twotone Distinguished Member

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    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!
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012


  3. antikantian

    antikantian Senior Member

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    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.
     


  4. RSS

    RSS Stylish Dinosaur

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    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.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012


  5. JayJay

    JayJay Stylish Dinosaur

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    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.
     


  6. RSS

    RSS Stylish Dinosaur

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    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012


  7. Cant kill da Rooster

    Cant kill da Rooster Distinguished Member

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  8. RSS

    RSS Stylish Dinosaur

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    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.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012


  9. msulinski

    msulinski Distinguished Member

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    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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