How to Buy Vintage Watches Online
Buying vintage watches online can be a either be very rewarding, or a huge nightmare.
The answer to all this is quite simply research. You will have to put the time in if you want to save and get an amazing watch at the same time, which is doable.
In order to help you on your quest, I have compiled a list of tips and advice that can help you get something of quality and value, instead of an outcome in which you lose your money and get a piece of junk in return.
Dangers of buying Vintage Watches Online
The main dangers of buying vintage watches are the following:
- Frankenwatches – Frankenwatches are watches that are only partially made from parts originally from that watch, and mainly from either counterfeit parts or parts from the same watch model but from a different time. You may think that having parts from different times in a watch isn’t that big of an issue, but it has negative impacts on the resale price of the watch.
- Fakes (‘Replicas’) – Watches that are built to look like the original piece but not by the company written on the dial. A very commonly faked watch brand is Rolex, and even though some of the fake Rolex watches look very close to the originals, the quality is much much worse; the watch will probably stop running within weeks of our purchase.
Sounds pretty scary right?
It is, but only if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Here are a few tips you can utilise when you next buy a vintage watch online:
Tip #1 – Common Sense
Sounds silly, but it really isn’t.
Trust your instincts, if the watch looks dodgy and the pictures are very vague or blurry, chances are the seller is trying toi hide something from you which is obviously not a good sign.
Also, if you are buying from a site like eBay, then look at seller ratings and feedback.
Personally, when I see a seller that has less than 100% positive rating and under 20 reviews, I will usually try to stay away from them. Should this happen I also go look at the reviews to see what other people have to say.
Sometimes sellers get bad reviews, for the stupidest reasons, so in these types of cases I make exceptions.
If the seller has less than 100% positive feedback, send them a message and ask why they got negative feedback, and judging by how they reply you can usually tell if they are lying or not.
But again, the most important part to this tip is to trust your instincts! Does the watch look dodgy? Does the seller have bad reviews? Is there a return & refund policy?
Even though this is definetly your first card to play, it doesn’t have the solutions to all problems, so read on for tip #2.
Tip #2 – Research
Does the watch the seller sell even exist? What can you find out about the model?
Search online for answers to these questions, and if you have the watch’s model name/number go and look up images of it and compare the watch on sale with those pictures and pay close attention to detail.
Also, you can also search for the following and almost always get results: “how to spot a fake *insert watch brand here*”.
Tip #3 – Resourcefulness
Make use of all resources available to you, namely watch forums.
Go to a watch forum such as watchuseek, sign up if you haven’t already (it’s free), and start a thread with a link to the sale and ask whether it’s fake or not.
Watchuseek even has sub forums made only for busting fake watches, so the odds really are in your favour in this day and age!
Just post a thread, and you will almost always have at least one reply within 24 hours, and use that as a second opinion.
This is a very important tip that you should always utilise unless you are an expert and even then it’s always good to get a second opinion.
I have bought several vintage watches online, mostly on eBay, and through following the above tips have never bought a broken, fake or frankenwatch, and I hope that these tips help you in reaching the same success!
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