Buying used Ebay watches can be fun. With these 10 rules.
If you want to buy used watches on ebay, you can do so with confidence. The selection is huge. In the following I give 10 rules to help you recognize the dangers of buying used ebay watches. The goal of this article is to help watch fans to get started when buying used mechanical watches on ebay. Problems are originality, condition, price and what to do if you have a complaint.
I have been buying old watches on ebay for more than 10 years now and I can say that it is hardly worth it.
The 10 commandments buying (vintage) watches on ebay
- Ebay has no bargains in the area of old mechanical watches.
- Know what you are looking for and if not:
- look carefully. Picture comparison of cases and movements
- Fakes and Frankensteins
- Does the watch have a history?
- Paypal is crucial
- The description is very short – hands off!
- If the description says, the clock runs, go to the service!
- European foreign countries – sometimes lost in translation
- Watches from India, rather not.
1. No bargains on ebay
For more than 10 years I have been on ebay and have experienced everything. In summary, one can say that the watches here are now all close to or even exceed the prices of chrono 24. Sometimes there are even completely exaggerated fixed prices. You can save yourself this, unless the seller is a top seller when it comes to service and the price is right. Not always expensive is better.
2. Know what you are looking for. Homework
You should have a rough idea which watch you are looking for and read in here. Since I started with an Autavia from Heuer, it helped me a lot in the beginning to look around on onthedash,com. The site was then an Excel list with pictures and is now the institution when it comes to vintage Heuer watches.
3. Look for every detail!
With old things comes a history of repairs. The question is whether this was done well. With watches, it is certain that they were most likely repaired if they were in use for a long time. History helps, but also pictures. Are the hands original? The dial? Does this match the case? Are the serial numbers visible or are they allegedly polished for beauty?
4. Fakes and Frankensteins
Why should you look closely? Because even experts in emotional intoxication sometimes forget how original a sweetheart is when you are addicted to her. Depending on the price, you should already know your way around. There is a lot of counterfeiting of modern watches and there are even fake Seiko watches.
With vintage watches the topic is more difficult and you should be careful. A good source for movements and picture comparisons is Ranfft.de.
NOS: New old stock. Really?
A watch that has not been sold for 40 years or more immediately after manufacture, but only stored. There are always dubious series that turn up on ebay. If you come across a NOS watch, you should definitely look for other offers of the same model. If several can be found, caution is advised. A fake of an old watch, which never existed.
These are watches that can be from more upscale brands. For example, the counterfeiter has only one dial of a Heuer Autavia or an Omega, or whatever. Now he looks for a case and a movement that matches the movement. Together with hands, this will make a watch that is made entirely of vintage parts. You can only see something like this in pictures by details like the dial and whether the hands match. Then comes the movement, you should ALWAYS see a picture of it if the watch costs more than 80 Euro 😉 But even then you are not immune. Price and risk have to be weighed up when buying on ebay.
The picture in the title shows a very easy to recognize Frankenstein specimen. Only research can help. If there would have been this year, it would have been from the 50s or 60s and chronometers from that time would have cost around 20.000 – 100.000 dollars. It’s worth looking at.
Watches without history are the norm, not only on ebay. If somebody is looking for a Rolex, I would buy only with history anyway. For the rest, you have to look at everything very carefully and weigh up the risk. Even the smallest repair slip helps. If a watch has demonstrably been overhauled, the owner has at least taken “a little” care of it.
Paypal is very important on ebay. Because only with it you have a protection against fraud, or defect. Some months ago I bought a watch from Paris, a BWC, which was completely defective, but according to the description in a “bien etat”. I do not need to say more. Paypal is practically a must. With foreign countries absolutely!
7. The ebay article description
If it is too short, turn around and walk! I find myself thinking that maybe this is someone who doesn’t know what a great piece he is selling. NO! No matter what you buy. A short description is always written by strange people. Hands off! See 6. 😉
8. in runnig condition – maybe the seller?
The watch is in running condition or “funziona” in whatever language means internationally: It is going completely wrong and may even be irreparably defective.
If the seller says that it runs a little faster, a defect is almost certain. Maybe only one service is due at a later date. But maybe the seller takes the money and runs. Sometimes spare parts are not available. Then you need Maurizio 😉
9. Europäisches Ausland – lost in translation
Italienisch für Anfänger: buone condizioni oder gar perfetto gibts nicht. Orologio tutto originale bedeutet, dass wenigstens das Armband nicht original ist. Man kann auf ebay ein Gehäuse, ein Werk und ein Zifferblatt kaufen, dazu eine originale Box und schon ist die Uhr perfekt. Das können aber auch andere, nicht nur Italiener, Franzosen oder Portugiesen. Ich will sagen, dass man beim Kauf aus anderen Ländern sicher sein sollte, dass man versteht, was zwischen den Zeilen steht. Für ein Land gilt das nicht:
Uhren aus Indien, das ist das zehnte Gebot, die kauft man einfach nicht. Hier ist Risiko unverhätnismässig zur Wahrscheinlichkeit eine echte Uhr zu bekommen. Enicars aus Indien sind immer Fake. Sorry. Ich mag Indien sehr, aber bei Uhren gilt wie bei Vespas: Meiden!