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Buying an expensive watch without the accompanying "papers" - risks?

theyare

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What are the downsides/ risks here?

I'm thinking of buying a watch - the seller is very reputable seller on timezone with tons of references on good guys. I have been in a lot of contact with him over the last month as he tries to find the right watch for me.

It's a pre-owned watch I would be purchasing for a about $3500, maybe a slightly older series but the model is still out now with MSRP of $8k.

So I'm fairly confident in the authenticity of it.

But as far as resale value - there's really no way to have the company "re-authenticate" it with new papers - for a fee?
 

Zeppelin

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If it's a common model, simply do some research and find out the street price for that particular watch w/o papers.

You're quite safe if you get a good price in the first place. I wouldn't hesitate buying from a reputable seller from a forum. If you can meet with the guy and pick it up, you could meet at a watch dealer. For a small fee he should be able to open the watch and have a look at the movement.

Regarding an official re-authentication .... it would be best if you contact the watch company directly. AFAIK some are able to validate the serial number or something like that.
 

Pundit

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I would make sure you have everything in writing from the seller including a right to return the watch if it is not what he states it to be. You'll need someone to open the back to confirm what is on the inside, ideally this is someone familiar with the brand -- this is worth a trip to your local metropolis if necessary.

At your price point I assume this is a mechanical watch, you might consider having its first service (usually every 5 years) done by the manufacturer. In this way you would have some form of "certification" that it is in fact the real deal for a future resale. I know that Patek will provide a certificate form the "Archives" (for a fee) for watches without papers -- not sure if other brands do this.
 

theyare

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Interesting - for some reason I was under the impression that they wouldn't do a servicing if you didn't have the papers. I suppose that once it's services by the original manufacturer, that paperwork should be enough to give it a reliable record?
 

TheTukker

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Curious: what are you looking to buy?
 

dwntwnjay

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I'm hardly an expert, but I think most original manufacturers will not service a watch they cannot authenticate, and that process doesn't rely on papers.

I once bought a breitling superocean for only a couple hundred $ because of the lack of papers - local dealer said it looked genuine, sent it to Breitling for service - they validated that it was, and that was just included in the cost of the servicing.
 

ter1413

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theyare

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I'm hardly an expert, but I think most original manufacturers will not service a watch they cannot authenticate, and that process doesn't rely on papers.

I once bought a breitling superocean for only a couple hundred $ because of the lack of papers - local dealer said it looked genuine, sent it to Breitling for service - they validated that it was, and that was just included in the cost of the servicing.

Thanks - is there any reason the original manufacturer could not authenticate their own product without the papers?
 

Winston S.

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Interesting - for some reason I was under the impression that they wouldn't do a servicing if you didn't have the papers. I suppose that once it's services by the original manufacturer, that paperwork should be enough to give it a reliable record?

You're probably not referring to an Omega, but Omega will service your watch without papers, you only need to produce papers if you are looking for in-warranty service.
 

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