Here’s What to Look For When Buying a Used Luxury Watch

used luxury watch

As anyone with experience buying luxury watches can attest, navigating the high-end timepiece market can be a daunting industry to jump into.

From learning how to spot fakes to knowing the best techniques for extending the life of the product, much of the advice on how to shop, care for, and purchase a used watch tends to differ from seller to seller. Similar to the process of selling a used car, there exist a slew of lemons masquerading as genuine timepieces, and those pedaling them just looking to earn a buck. But who should a prospective luxury watch owner actually trust?

Considering the amount of money needed to buy a used luxury watch, there exists a need for buyers to remain diligent and aware of what they’re purchasing — i.e. avoiding the sleazy watch salesman. To help, we decided to connect with Hamilton Powell, CEO and founder of Crown & Caliber, otherwise known as the internet’s leading buyer and seller of used luxury watches. In addition to providing us with a literal well of knowledge pertaining to the industry, Powell shed light on four things used luxury watch buyers should be on the lookout for when shopping.

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Start with what you like

For anyone looking to buy their first used luxury watch, Powell says to look for something you like, plain and simple.

“I’d actually start with a real, maybe, counter industry observation in that the first thing I’d say is you should look for something you like,” Powell told The Manual. “Something that you think looks good, that you’ll actually enjoy wearing. Don’t get caught up in the industry or what it says about you. Just get something you like.”

Like the look of a Rolex? Start there. Fancy a Hublot and have the dough? Then there’s your answer to “what to buy first.”

Keep in mind what you want to use it for

Though it seems a no-brainer, breaking into the luxury watch industry is often challenging enough that the idea of choosing a watch based on what you want to use it for can be easily forgotten. Sure, a luxury watch has fashion and style in spades but there’s also a wide range of features and benefits they offer outside of simply looking good.

“If you want to go swimming in it, make sure you’re getting a waterproof watch,” Powell added. “If you want to actually time things with it, make sure you get a chronograph. Buy the watch with the uses in mind.”

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Be aware of the depreciation of the brand before you buy

Acknowledging the fact not many people think of this before making a purchase, Powell says to do some homework on different watch brands — and even models within the brands — to figure out the type of relative depreciation. Having done a load of his own research, Powell points to brands like Chopard, Piaget, and Hublot which “absolutely tank on the secondary market.” On the other side of the coin, he points to brands like Rolex and Jaeger as those capable of holding value incredibly well.

Buy the watch knowing what it says about you

While it seems as though this goes against what Powell recommends up top, he goes on to clarify that you should buy to your strengths, interests, and image. In other words, don’t buy something which doesn’t go with your style or personality.

“If you’re not a showy kind of guy, don’t get a big Audemars Piguet,” Powell stated. “Even though you think it’s nice, it’s going to tell the world something about you that you may not agree with. Just understand what the perception of that watch is on your behalf.”

Photos courtesy of Crown & Caliber