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Thread: Advisory - some tips on buying pre-own watches (local and overseas)

  1. #1
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    Default Advisory - some tips on buying pre-own watches (local and overseas)

    starting this thread to consolidate all the pointers for buying preown watches locally (Singapore) and overseas

    before you buy the watch, you need to set your budget. it can be say under 5000 or between 5000-6000. never stretch your budget beyond your means.

    once you set your budget, look at what are the brand(s) you are interested in. then isolate the model(s). ideally you should not have more than 3 choices. the more choices you have, the harder it is decide which one to get.

    once you have isolated your watch. do some homework on the watch in concern. if you are looking for a sub no date, which version you want. the COSC version or non COSC version. is there any way to spot on the watch physically without having to open the caseback. if you want to get the GMT II with 3186 movement, how can you tell? if you want a sub date (16610), are you looking for tritium dials or otherwise? if it is tritium dials, how to tell if it is one.

    for rolex, you may want to find out what type of end links are used for which models. this will enable you to know if parts are exchanged with a different models. if you getting date just models, note which models come with diamond bezels which do not. if a dj does not have a diamond bezel and the watch comes with one, it is likely considered to be 'aftermarket'. if you bring the watch to RSC for service, RSC can deny to service the watch or if they accept the watch, RSC may want you to replace the diamond bezel. remember, RSC does not return parts back to customers.

    for some buyers like me, if i get a preown watch i will want a complete package. this means that the minimum is watch, warranty paper/certification and box. anything less, i am unlikely to be interested. for others, it does not matter if there is box and papers. having box and papers can also determine the selling price. usually a watch only is sold less than one with watch with papers and box.

    if you are buying a preown watch, always get it authenticated, the moment you hand over your cash, you are on your own. you are already paying like so much for a watch, a verification cost @ RSC is currently 107 which is a fraction of the cost. if you approach 3rd party authentication, it cost less than that. but you have to absolute trust in them that they will be able to spot. i have seen some watch technician failing to spot issues in the watch movement.
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    disclaimer : all opinions expressed are personal

  2. #2
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    first, after identifying the watch you want to buy. please do homework on the watch you want to buy. find out as much as you can about the watch. try to search the forum or better still google to find out more information about the watch. try to ask members via pm or before posting, search with keywords, isolate to certain sections of the forum so that the results will be limited to what you want, if you can find in one section, search another section. this way, you will not be overwhelmed with the search results. when you ask members, please be polite. they are not obliged to help you. dont ask generic questions. if you ask generic questions, it is hard for them to answer. try to ask specific questions to get better response.

    for example

    don't ask what is the price of a submariner. the submariner can be classified into sub date and sub no date. then with sub date, there is so many different models from vintage sub to modern sub. then with modern sub, there is different material.

    take some time and effort to look at the relevant garage sections to have a gauge of the price. you can even look @ the sold items section to get an estimate. do understand that the listed price may not be the transacted price.

    sometimes, when you do such homework, you will be able to guess-timate the price. do note that condition of watch is one of the indicators that can determine the selling price.

    you feel that the homework done is enough, start to look for the watch.

    whether you intend to buy the watch locally or overseas is buyer's choice. there is no hard and fast rules. one of the major difference is that if buying locally, a buyer can see and feel the watch and get it authenticated prior to purchasing the watch.

    there is more risk associated when buying a watch from overseas. sellers may not deliver the actual watch in concern. it is hard to authenticate the watch prior to purchasing. more important, the watch will be handled by more than 1 person which means anything can happen.

    does not matter you intend to buy from a local or overseas seller, approach them politely and ask smart questions. for seasoned sellers, they know how to tell if you are a newbie buyer or seasoned buyer if dealing for first time. it is not possible to tell you what are smart questions because the less you buy, the questions you ask tend to give you away. seasoned buyers ask certain questions and look for certain questions to ask about the watch. the way to ask and the questions asked comes with buying experience.

    pictures always speak a thousand words.request for sharp pictures of the watch. pictures taken with smart phones may not show the details required such as dings and/or major scratches. sharp pictures can also reveal if the watch is heavily polished.

    refrain from buying from sellers in facebook group. this is because the profile can be fake. there is no reference check on the seller.

    Local

    if you after seeing the watch pictures, you are still unsure if you will want to buy the watch, ask the seller if it is possible for non obligatory viewing. if you are ready to buy, arrange a suitable time preferably day time to view the watch you are interested. if can only view at night, please arrange to meet where there is bright white lights.

    please inform the seller that should you want to buy the watch, you like to get the watch check and authenticated. most sellers will have no issues. but inform them which watch technician you are going to, as you trust your own technician to advise you accordingly.

    if you have a regular third party watch technician, inform them that you may need their assistance to check the movement if needs service and check authenticity of the watch. let them know what time they can expect you. if eventually you do not go to them, inform them so that they do not wait for you.

    confirm what comes with watch, i.e. papers/warranty card, box, how many boxes, accessories and so on. if anything is not as per describe, ask

    i know you are keen to buy the watch. but always respect the seller. the seller still own the watch before the deal is completed. ask permission to handle the watch if the seller does not hand you the watch. please handle with care.

    if you dont have a loupe, get one. examine the watch closely and look for things you have already isolated when you doing your homework.

    if you are happy with the watch i strongly suggest that you make arrangement with your watch technician of your choice or service centre to get the watch authenticated and check internal movement.

    if the watch check out alright and you are happy with the watch, then proceed to pay the seller.

    Overseas

    once you isolated the watch, confirm what is included in the watch package.

    ask the seller to take pictures of the watch including other items that comes with the watch with the seller's local current newspapers. this is to prove that the seller has the watch in hand.

    before you wire the money across to seller, check which courier company is going to be used for sending your watch over. indicate how much you want to insure your watch if it is not going to be full value what you bought. if you buy insurance that is lower than true value, in an event the watch is lost in transit, there is a higher chance of you recoup the money. however, this is likely to incur a 7% when the watch reach singapore. so the choice is the buyer on how much to insure. try to request for item to be tracked so that you can track on your end where the watch is prior to reaching you.

    before transferring money to the seller, ask the seller to place a photo id of himself/herself against the bank statement bearing the seller name and account number. this is to ensure that you are sending money to the right person with the right account. remember that once the money leave your account and goes to wrong account, you lose that money.
    if you have issues with your account, click here for self help and read forum rules here. 90% of your answers can be found in Forum FAQ

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    if you receive no response in pm or email, it means your answers can be found in the Forum FAQ here

    your kind understanding is very much appreciated.

    disclaimer : all opinions expressed are personal

  3. #3
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    please add on additional pointers/advice in an event i did not mentioned.

    please do not post any other comments except additional pointers/advice.

    irrelevant post will be deleted without prejudice. please do not be offended.

    the reason is to keep this thread neat and tidy and easy to read for all members.

    thank you for your kind understanding and co-operation.
    if you have issues with your account, click here for self help and read forum rules here. 90% of your answers can be found in Forum FAQ

    i DO NOT respond to any pm regarding account issues

    kindly email with
    1. subject heading indicating your issue
    2. your nick
    3. your corresponding email address
    4. state what you were trying to do and what the system prevented you to do


    if you receive no response in pm or email, it means your answers can be found in the Forum FAQ here

    your kind understanding is very much appreciated.

    disclaimer : all opinions expressed are personal

  4. #4
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    buying from overseas:

    BUY THE SELLER. don't merely trust what the photos and words convey to you... a good seller will do his/her best to right a wrong deal as his/her reputation is more important than making a little bit of money from selling you one watch.

    don't be afraid of creating an account and asking on popular overseas forum whether a seller is a good guy - the community tries to help buyers and good sellers.

    don't hesitate to ask for more photographs either. a motivated seller would be happy to do so, but don't don't go overboard. when you've decided you want it, DO TELL THE BUYER THAT "yes, i'll take it!"

    before sending any money, make sure the following is figured out...

    1) what is the return policy? eg, how will you return a Rolex watch to a US-based seller? how long is the inspection period? what is covered/not covered? (eg, unconditional return or return only if misrepresented)

    2) who pays for what? eg, who pays for shipping (both ways) in the eventuality of a return? who pays how much of banking fee/paypal fee/insurance? split fees?

    note: if you are making an international wire, using internet banking to do so is cheaper than queuing up at the branch and filling out a form.

    3) what will happen if the item does not reach you? eg, who's responsible for the loss? (usually the buyer) and how long before a refund is initiated? is this a full refund or exclusive of other costs like banking and shipping? what if it is held by customs beyond a reasonable amount of time?

    4) how soon before item ships? this is not a common problem for singapore -> US bank accounts as the funds clear fully within a few days. but sometimes the funds are withheld for a variety of reasons, including reasons which are not caused by you/singapore. 5 days after transfer is a safe period.

    sending a scan/screenshot of the completed transfer form is helpful to ensure the banking details are correct.

    make sure the item has not been damaged during the course of delivery. your recourse should be available from the above.

    make sure the case back has been adequately tightened - dealers usually open it for inspection in preparation for sale and some times they don't tighten it enough for a variety of reasons. if you're sending it for verification after arrival in singapore, this shouldn't be a big problem.

    make sure your name, phone number and address has been conveyed a few times to the seller - and that they're always correct. i've had watches sent to a wrong address before, and thankfully they never accepted the package although i scheduled it for redelivery at least 5 times. in such an event, ask for proof of delivery from the seller. if it's a seller you don't know, ask them to take a picture of the package with your address and a scan of the airway bill - they both contain your address.

    For clarity, the address format for the US seller should be:

    House/Blk number & Street name
    Apartment/Unit number (if applicable)
    Postal/Zip code
    City/State, Country

    eg,

    BLOCK 123 TOA PAYOH STREET 1000
    UNIT 08-99
    SG 899123
    SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE

    eg,

    88 LUCKY STRIKE AVENUE
    SG 123456
    SINGAPORE, SINGAPORE

    finally, if a deal doesn't work out the way you want to despite doing all the "right things" - reach out to the community again in a gentlemanly fashion (ie, don't TYPE IN ANGER - SINGAPOER STYLE!). if you are not in the wrong, the community will rally around you and put pressure on the seller to right the wrong.

    if you take a loss, chalk it up as a lesson learned if you can't right the wrong. at the end of the day, make sure you know this is a hobby, so take it easy and enjoy it for all it is - good and bad. don't pop arteries over it...

    good luck!

    p/s: please don't ask the seller to make a fraudulent declaration - it will be YOUR responsibility if there's trouble.
    Last edited by taxico; 07-11-12 at 12:41 PM.
    “Watches, no matter how much they cost, are better at telling time than making a person happy.” - Thomas J. Stanley

  5. #5
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    I understand that in Hong Kong, a lot of Rolex watches have a Rolex shell but other make movement. Thus it's always safer to get from reputable shop.

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