Buying a fine watch can be an intimidating process if you’re not familiar with them. Following are some important questions to ask a watch seller before you buy, courtesy of Forbes.com
Seems like a basic question, but it is among the most important. Many watches simply offer the time and the date. More complicated watches include chronographs, calendars, or other features that add utility, but but also a learning curve. Make sure the watch seller is able to give you a full and thorough explanation of how to use a watch, adjust its settings, and very importantly, how not to break it.
Like the latest smartphones, the newest luxury timepieces are usually the most expensive, and watches are frequently updated with improved models and features. It isn’t that you should get the newest watch possible, but an older watch may have pre-owned models available or could also be harder to get. You’ll be surprised how often salespeople have no idea when a particular timepiece hit the stores.
This question is a bit like asking the car dealer what kind of engine a car has. You may not care about the answer, but this is probably the most pivotal question when it comes to establishing if the salesperson is or is not a watch expert. This question can be answered in a number of ways, but what you’re looking for is the actual name of the movement, who produced it, and some details about it. Let them access reference information if they need as it’s not fair to expect them to memorize the details of everything they sell, but they should be able to answer your questions fully and competently within a few minutes.
Most consumers want to know what the alternatives are when buying a big-ticket item, and luxury watches are no different. Most watches exist in some type of category or genre. That means there are alternatives for about the same price. If you have a specific watch or brand in mind, ask a watch retailer what the competition is, and what watches they would recommend at the same price which offer a similar wearing experience. You can also follow that up by asking what they would recommend if you wanted to go a step down or a step up in price.
Like an expensive car, most fine watches experience a nice long life before needing to be repaired or serviced. But watches are still machines, and mechanical watches especially have very real service needs. Quartz watches pretty much only need battery changes from time to time, but depending on the model there may be special service needs. Mechanical watches need a service every few years, which often just includes cleaning and oiling. Nevertheless, these visits to the watchmaker can be pricey, so it’s a good idea to know what a basic service for a watch might cost, and to see whether or not the retailer even knows.
Whatever watch you prefer, choose carefully and don’t allow yourself to be rushed into buying. Do your research, and if necessary, ask the dealer to hold the watch for you for a day or two while you consider buying it. Make sure you are 100 percent satisfied with the watch and the purchase — an expensive watch is an heirloom item that should last your lifetime and be handed down to the next generation.
Source: Forbes.com, “Five Questions To Ask A Retailer Before Buying A Luxury Watch”