10 things to consider when buying a watch

PUBLISHED: 00:00 22 December 2015

Choosing between premium watches, like this impressive Rolex, is a nice predicament to be in – savour it

Choosing between premium watches, like this impressive Rolex, is a nice predicament to be in – savour it

Archant

How to find a watch that ticks (and tocks) all the right boxes

A vintage-inspired Panerai Radiomir 1940 combines comfortable size with refined eleganceA vintage-inspired Panerai Radiomir 1940 combines comfortable size with refined elegance

Buying a premium or vintage watch, rather appropriately, takes time. It’s an exhilarating experience, but one that can be daunting the first time around. To give you a hand (hour, minute and second of course), we asked expert Lloyd Amsdon, co-founder of the UK’s biggest pre-owned watch retailer, Watchfinder & Co, to reveal his 10 top tips for making the perfect purchase.

1. Don’t let anyone tell you what you want

Whether you’re a budding enthusiast or seasoned collector, it’s no secret that different brands attract different fans. If you like it, then it’s the one for you. Watch enthusiasts sometimes behave like Ferrari’s passionate and dogmatic Tifosi. Learn to filter the useful knowledge from the noise.

This Bullhead Omega offers an interesting alternative to the traditional chronographThis Bullhead Omega offers an interesting alternative to the traditional chronograph

2. Be prepared

Whether you’re looking for something contemporary or vintage, there are myriad ways to spend your heard-earned on a shiny timepiece. The choice can be daunting, but there are ways to narrow down your search. Browse enthusiast websites and get a feel for what’s out there, then when you begin your hunt, you’ll be forearmed rather than overwhelmed.

Take a good look around, you might find a brand that surprises you, like this intriguing ALSTake a good look around, you might find a brand that surprises you, like this intriguing ALS

3. Choose with your heart

Some brands depreciate more than others. That’s not a slight on their quality, but it can influence your buying decision. If you can, ignore it. If you buy with your head, chances are you’ll end up selling later to get the watch you really wanted. This will cost you more in the long run.

4. Enjoy the thrill of the chase

There’s no rush. Enjoy the search, the study, the learning. In time, you’ll look back and laugh knowingly at how naïve you once were. This is part of the process to be enjoyed and not overlooked, a part that draws many enthusiasts back time and time again. Earn that purchase by studying it like it’s your third year finals.

5. It can be too good to be true

People selling watches tend to know what they’re worth. Aside from very rare occasions, if a watch seems cheap, it’s because it’s not what you think it is. Unless you have near-oracle levels of watch knowledge, these little honey-traps are best avoided. There’s a big market in fake watches and no matter what you think you know about them, you don’t know enough. If you must seek out a bargain, treat each purchase like an investment—the value can down as well as up.

6. Compare and contrast

We’ve all done it; with job interviews, car purchases, house buying or the like, we get excited about the first thing we see and convince ourselves to dismiss the rest, against every screaming fibre of common-sense. Avoid impulse buys. Browse popular alternatives, if only to confirm that your choice is right.

7. Use technology

The internet is your friend. Boutiques are nice, but free next day delivery straight to your door is even nicer, especially with the protection of distance-selling regulations on your side. There are even apps that can show you what a watch will look like on your wrist. What a time we live in!

8. Get your financial hat on

Some retailers offer interest-free finance (a good way to keep your capital stacked up and earning interest) while others negotiate on price. But there’s more to it than that. A solid warranty and good after-sales service can be worth their weight in gold. And what about running costs? A watch needs servicing every two to five years and costs can vary dramatically. Leather straps also need replacing every year, so budget for that too.

9. Buy insider knowledge

You wouldn’t buy a car from a dealer who can’t drive so, when it comes to buying a watch, look for solid investment in a company; bricks-and-mortar locations, servicing credentials and something that tells you ‘we’re in it for the long haul’. Independent third party sites like Trustpilot are worth scouring to get a decent look at real-life customer opinions.

10. Don’t be in a rush to part with your money

For that extra peace of mind, pay by credit card (unless you opt for finance). The Consumer Credit Act holds your credit card company jointly liable with the company that sold you your watch, so if anything goes wrong and the seller chooses not to play ball, you can still get your money back. w

For more information and expert advice, visit Watchfinder’s northern flagship store at 32 County Arcade, Victoria Quarter, Leeds, call 0843 770 6389 or click on watchfinder.co.uk

1 comment

  • All very valid points well made but I'd argue there really are only two things to consider when buying a watch. 1, Is it an Omega Grey Side Of The Moon? 2, Will my wife figure out its worth more than her car? If the answers are yes and no, in that order, well, case closed.

    Report this comment

    Toby Lee

    Wednesday, December 23, 2015

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