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by Perth Ophaswongse
Buying your first luxury watch can be an overwhelming experience. With so many things to consider, you might find that you’re spending a lot of time deciding on what watch you want and where to buy it. While it’s certainly a good thing that you’re putting a lot of thought into buying an expensive watch, here’s three questions to ask yourself in order to help narrow down the search.
One question that first-time buyers often have is whether to buy their watch new from an authorised dealer/boutique, or to buy it pre-owned from a third-party seller. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, and you’ll need to decide which makes more sense to your personal situation.

First and foremost is cost. Generally speaking, buying pre-owned will be cheaper than buying new from an AD or boutique. Depending on the brand and model, you can get a price that’s up to 20-30% cheaper for a watch in excellent or perfect condition, but more often the discount on a “like new” watch will be around 10-15%. The downside to this is that you won’t have your name on the warranty card, so if that’s important to you, then it’s worth considering.

Another downside is that you will have to be much more vigilant about the condition of a watch you buy pre-owned. Often, it’ll be up to you to ensure that the watch is really “like new”, and not just polished or refurbished. If you’re not overly concerned about your new watch being perfect, however, you can save quite a bit of money by buying pre-owned.

Buying at an AD or a boutique, on the other hand, gives you the chance to handle the watch as well as ask questions which can hopefully be answered in more depth than at a pre-owned store. For example, you can talk to the sales staff about aftermarket options, such as buying a separate strap or a deployant buckle.

Finally, for some brands, you’ll have to be wary of fakes. The best way of avoiding this is to pick a trustworthy pre-owned seller that either allows you to see the watches in person or is willing to send videos. Spotting fakes is, however, a topic for another day.
Ask any watch enthusiast and they’ll tell you that watches, even the rarest and most valuable examples, were made to be worn. However, it’s also true that for many people, buying a luxury watch will represent a significant expenditure in relation to their income. Because of this, it might feel awkward or even dangerous to wear your first nice watch on a daily basis knowing that you could knock it into something.

Make sure you’ve thought about whether you’re willing to wear the watch every day, as this might affect your decision-making process. If you’re buying a watch for a special occasion that you know you’ll want to treasure and keep safe from excessive wear, you might not need to worry too much about toughness or durability.

If you’re happy with beating up your watch and wearing it everywhere, you might want to think about what water resistance rating it has. It’s generally accepted that 30 metre water resistance isn’t suitable for anything more than a splash of water while washing your hands.
It’s very easy to become fixated on a watch you want and have thought about for a while. However, don’t forget that the market is quite large, and for any price range you’re bound to have plenty of alternatives. Look online at blogs and publications for any possible alternatives to the watch you’re considering, since you want to make sure that your first watch will be something that you won’t come to regret.

And that’s it! Hopefully these three questions will structure your approach to buying your first watch a little bit more, and give you an idea of what to look out for. Good luck, and hopefully you’ll end up with a watch that you’ll treasure for years to come.

Perth Ophaswongse
Perth Ophaswongse is a young Edinburgh-based enthusiast. Growing up in a family of collectors meant he often spent weekends peering over the counter at familiar (and some not-so-familiar) names in watchmaking, picking up knowledge about movements, bezels and other things a 10-year old had no business knowing about. Since then, he has developed a passion for independent horology, but still retains an interest in vintage and contemporary watchmaking. As a university student, he enjoys converting his casually interested friends into full-fledged watch fanatics.