Buying a preowned luxury watch: 9 things to know

Watches tell stories – some mark milestones, others are treasured gifts, and some become heirlooms. The story of pre-owned luxury watches is often unexplored. Why do people choose pre-owned luxury watches over new ones? Many people want to own timepieces that were previously owned by admired figures-seniors, bosses, celebrities-fulfilling a dream that was previously unattainable.

Pre-owned watches offer a rare opportunity to turn coveted aspirations into reality. For watch collectors seeking discontinued editions, the easiest route is acquiring a pre-owned timepiece. This contributes to the substantial and formidable market of pre-owned luxury watches, with sales reaching millions of dollars. Did you know that a recent industry report by Swiss firm LuxeConsult predicts that the market for vintage pieces is poised to reach $85 billion (€79 billion) by the year 2033.

When you buy a pre-owned timepiece, you’re entering a world where watches are loved, cherished, and passed down through years , creating a legacy that transcends generations. Discover the world of  pre-owned luxury watches – where every tick echoes with history, and every watch has a beautiful past and exciting future.

Why buy old when you can buy new?


Pre-owned watches are generally more affordable than new ones, especially when considering potential resale. Depending upon the condition, the authenticity, and the watch edition, you can negotiate with the seller for a more affordable rate.


A pre-owned timepiece's appeal lies in its availability. When a watch is hard to find, buyers may pay more than the retail price. Collectors can buy hard-to-find models or limited-edition watches if a previous owner is ready to sell them.

Value retention

Countless luxury watches hold their value remarkably well over the course of time, and some of them even gain value in the long run.

Vintage watches

Many watches are often vintage or watches from brands or editions that have been discontinued. These watches are unexpected treasures you can find among pre-owned luxury watches.

Things to do before you buy a pre-owned luxury watch

Once you decide that you have your heart set on getting yourself a pre-owned luxury watch, don’t just jump headfirst into a buying spree. A contentious buyer will pace themselves and think carefully before they take the next step. Here is a pathway for you to follow.


Pre-owned watch shopping begins with research. It’s not as scary as it sounds, you’ll enjoy it as you learn. With this knowledge, you can spot different versions of the watch and understand their unique characteristics. This will help you verify authenticity or issues. Focus on your purpose when choosing a watch, if you plan to invest, consider models that increase in value over time.

 If you just want to wear it and enjoy it, your criteria should be more about your style and taste.

Authenticate Watch’s originality

It’s important to make sure you’re buying an authentic pre-owned luxury watch. Find a seller with a good reputation for dealing with genuine timepieces. Make sure the watch is original by checking the serial number, hallmarks, and any paperwork that comes with it.

Condition of the watch

Be sure to examine the watch carefully. This includes the physical state of the piece. Look for abrasions, dings, dent marks, chipped crystals, color changes, and bracelet sagging. Make sure the dial is in good condition as well.

Know your seller

To get a handle on a company that sells used luxury watches, check their website, reviews, and talk to previous buyers.Ensure that you research the watch’s history if you’re buying it from a former owner. Watch box, papers, and other details must be in order. Ask the relevant questions about the watch’s condition and its history, and the reason for the sale.

Check the watch

Images don’t do justice to the real product. Apart from closely examining the watch you also must ensure that all parts are authentic. Get it checked at a trusted luxury watch repair centre or luxury watch care shop near you. Have them run a performance test on these watches to know their condition better.

Read between the lines

 Terms and conditions are just as important as the condition of the watch. Be sure to read and reread their terms and conditions. If you ever have ‘buyer’s regret’ or need to return the purchase, you need to know everything about their policies. The purpose is to protect you and to ensure you don’t get what you don’t want. Furthermore, it makes sure the seller pays for mistakes.

Importance of boxes and papers

Access to the original box, accessories, and documents is essential. Not only does it prove the watch’s authenticity, but it can also increase its value. If available, any service history notes should be included, as well as the original documents. These papers include the owner’s manual, certificate of authenticity, certificate of warranty, and box.

Service History

Ask about the watch’s service history and frequency of watch servicing.

You should have the watch serviced as soon as possible after your purchase. It’s important to keep a close eye on all aspects of the timepiece, even if everything else seems to be fine. You never know what could turn out to be a serious issue down the road.


If you’re buying online, make sure you know how the watch will be shipped. Check if they have free pick-up and drop services. If they don’t, find out if the watches are sent by a trustworthy courier. This is especially important for an expensive luxury watch.

Watch out for too-good-to-be-true-deals

You should be careful about watches that seem too good to be true – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Often called Frankenstein watches, these watches could be counterfeit, stolen, broken, or assembled from multiple pieces.

I bought a pre-owned watch, now what?

Once you own a pre-owned luxury watch you should treat it well

Basic care

Get the watch checked and tested by a reputable luxury watch service centre. Once it gets a certificate of good condition, you should focus on basic care to maintain it. When not in use, keep it in the box it came in. Avoid dust, harsh lights, chemicals, etc.

Ensure shock resistance and water resistance before exposure to water or adventure activities.

Service and Repair

If your watch needs service or repairs, you should only trust those who specialize in luxury watches. Watches like these require specialized care that can only be provided by experienced professionals. Machines and equipment designed specifically for a higher level of care will be needed. You won’t find this at your average local watch repair shop. Hence, you should only trust professionals

My Watch Merchant – A trusted resource for pre-owned luxury watches and their care

Buying pre-owned luxury watches requires a reputable seller among other things. Imagine having an established luxury watch care center in addition to a reputed seller. My watch merchant has what you need. We have been repairing and servicing luxury watches for 70 years.

Having experience and expertise in luxury watches makes us unique. We are watch enthusiasts at heart, and nothing makes us happier than helping someone choose the right watch and cherish it for a lifetime. We also have a large network of watch collectors that use our services and frequent our website. We offer some of the best and biggest preowned luxury watches on our website. This includes Rolex, Omega, Rado and many more.

Let My Watch Merchant help you start your impressive luxury watch collection   

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