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Review: 10 Watch Buying Mistakes You Should Avoid

Buying a new watch should be one of the best things you can do. Forget getting married or the birth of your first child—strapping on a new watch for the first time after money has changed hands is a feeling that’s pretty much biblical. But not everyone gets that feeling, because buying a watch isn’t as simple as all that. With more pitfalls than Raiders of the Lost Ark, the experience of buying a watch can very quickly go sour if you’re not prepared. So, to give you a helping hand, here are ten things you should look out for when buying luxury watches.

Skipping The Test Drive

We’ve all done it, deciding that something is the perfect choice because it works out well on paper. Trouble is, the real world—and our puny human brains—don’t quite work like that. What can seem like a great idea in theory can have all sorts of untold consequences when presented in real life—consequences so easily avoided by, in the case of a watch purchase, trying the damn thing on first. Then you won’t fall foul of discomfort, unexpected proportions, variations in colour between pictures and real life—and any number of things only a proper test drive will reveal. That doesn’t mean you have to take a long trip, however; some places will let you try on at home and return if it’s not the right choice for you after all.

Falling In Love

This next mistake is one you perhaps might not expect, but it’s one of the most important things to bear in mind. Don’t buy a watch just because you’ve fallen in love with it. Sure, loving a watch is a great reason to buy one—but one reason of many you need to consider. Imagine marrying someone based on the squelchy feeling in your chest and not considering whether they’re actually a good fit for your life? The same is true of a watch. Is the price realistic, can you afford the servicing, is it comfortable, does it work with your style—all these things and more should be considerations when you buy a watch, otherwise you’re going to have a honeymoon period that ends very quickly indeed.

Ignoring Finance

When I grew up, I was always told that finance was a bad thing. Get a mortgage, buy a house and never borrow a penny again. But these days, finance is offered in such a way that it can actually work really well for your lifestyle. Now, I’m obliged to tell you that this isn’t financial advice, so I’ll speak from my own personal experiences instead. In buying a watch and in being disciplined to keep it through the term of the finance, using a zero percent deal means that I have that lump sum in my account instead. I can use it to overpay my mortgage, invest, or just have available if needed. Think of it like peace-of-mind that doesn’t actually cost you a penny. And if you’re lucky enough to use it to buy a watch that goes up in value, then well—it’s worked out even better.

Underestimating Warranty

There’s a lot more to the purchase price of a luxury watch than just the watch. For a private seller, there’s an expectation not to lose money on their initial purchase, and for a business, there’s overheads like staff and buildings and whatnot. But some of that extra spend when you purchase from a business can be to your benefit, even if it doesn’t seem like it at first. A good warranty, underwritten by a respectable company, could be the difference between a great, functioning watch and a useless collection of metal parts. We all hope that our purchases stand the test of time and live up to the manufacturer’s credibility, but every now and then a watch can have a little trouble that, with a warranty, is no headache at all. For a bit of extra spend upfront, it could make all the difference a bit further down the line.

Buying The Wrong Watch

Okay, so this might seem a bit obvious, but don’t buy the wrong watch. Well, yeah, but what exactly does that mean? Well, you might think you want a great big Richard Mille because you love the way they look on your heroes, or you may want a Rolex because it’s the watch to get when you’ve made it—but there are so many different reasons to choose a watch that choosing the right one can be a little bit more complicated than you might first think. Really, this is a point that can expand into a whole discussion by itself, and perhaps we’ll do that, but find yourself a good guide who can ask you the right questions and show you the best selection and you’ll be fine.

Purchasing For Convenience

Now, I don’t know about you, but I am properly lazy. If I can save myself two minutes, I will, and it’s for that reason I’m suggesting that perhaps shopping with convenience in mind when it comes to watches isn’t always the best thing. Sure, the watch is closer, it’s available now, it can be shipped tomorrow—but if that means you have to compromise elsewhere, just don’t do it to yourself. Being patient can net you a better deal, the exact specification you want, a better part exchange offer and so much more that will ultimately leave you feeling more satisfied with your purchase.

Trading A Favourite

Part exchange is a fantastic way to keep your collection fresh without breaking the bank. Watches, as hobbies go, are often fantastic for residuals, leaving the option open to upgrade or just try something new relatively wide open. But sometimes there’s a watch in the collection that should just stay in the collection, no matter how tempting it might be to get your next watch sooner. Perhaps it’s an heirloom, perhaps a gift or perhaps a watch you got for a great price. Whatever the reason, make sure you fully consider whether or not you’re done with a watch before you let it go, because you may find in the future it’s not quite so easy to get. Believe me, I’m speaking from experience …

Going It Alone

Unless you’re a super mega watch enthusiast, you’ll probably find yourself getting a little overwhelmed. Even the most experienced watch collectors can find themselves with difficult decisions to make—decisions made easier by bringing someone else along for the journey. Whether that extra pair of eyes stay peeled for a better deal, spot the issues with a watch or just keep you from getting ahead of yourself, having someone join you when you purchase a watch is never a bad thing. I mean, it’s also nice to do things with likeminded friends anyway, so that’s a double bonus!

Letting The Seller Take Over

If you’re like me, you might be a bit of an introvert, someone who finds themselves swept away by people who are more forthright. That’s great if you’re talking to someone you trust, someone who has your best interests at heart, but you might find yourself face-to-face with a seller who’s a little bit more interested in their back pocket. If that happens, if you find yourself being coaxed into an agreement you don’t feel comfortable with, don’t be afraid to end it there. There are more watches and more sellers, believe me.

Being Afraid To Walk Away

Likewise, you might find yourself sat in front of a watch that’s a great deal, sold by the most delightful salesperson, but ultimately it’s just not quite right. For any of the reasons we’ve already mentioned, it just might be that this watch doesn’t work for you. But yet you’re there, you’ve taken up the delightful salesperson’s time and you don’t want to be the bad guy. Don’t worry about it. Walk away. Like there are more watches and sellers, there are more customers too. A good salesperson will understand that the watch just isn’t doing it for you and, if they’re worth their salt, will understand that doing the right thing for you will more likely net them more custom with you in the future.

If all this makes it sound like buying a watch is a complete nightmare, don’t worry. Being aware of yourself and your surroundings, and having a trusted friend or salesperson alongside you for the journey can all make such a difference, leaving you free to enjoy the purchase to its fullest.