Nobody wants to experience buyer’s remorse, whether it’s shoes that hurt your feet, a car that’s always falling apart, or a watch that you simply don’t want to wear. In my role as a Private Client Advisor for Chrono24, my main goal is to help people find the watch that’s right for them. There’s much to be said about strategies for buying a watch, and they vary a bit depending on whether your focus is on history, investment, daily practicality, etc., but there are three sure-fire tips to keep in mind no matter who you are or what you’re looking for. Let’s take a look:
Rule #1: Pay Attention to Condition
There’s no point in buying a bad version of a good watch. As a first step when considering a watch, find out what shape the piece is in. There are plenty of great watches out there that might need a little mechanical work upon arrival, but you’ll want to have an idea of how much work your new project will involve. This is most important for vintage watches where the parts are older and harder to find.
Visually speaking, pre-owned watches will naturally have some dings and scratches. This can add character to sport watches, showing a life well lived, and you may not even notice them after a week or two on the wrist. But if there are big gashes or dial blemishes that catch your eye every time, then it’s best to avoid these distractions from the start.
Rule #2: Make Sure the Watch Will Fit You
There is some flexibility of course – think more along the lines of sweatshirt sizing than shoe sizing – but you’ll want a watch that looks and feels like it was made for your wrist. This may mean, for example, that larger sports models aren’t for you, but this realization will save you trouble in the long run. It’s better to search around for alternatives than to purchase a watch that doesn’t feel as good as it looks.
The watch world could learn a thing or two from the suit world when it comes to fit and sizing. To put it simply, if a watch is too big or too small, you just won’t want to wear it. In general, the lugs of a watch should not extend beyond the bounds of your wrist, and thin watches are best if you need something to slide under a cuff.
Rule #3: Have some fun with it!
Always, always ask yourself “Does this make me happy?” Watch collecting begins and ends with passion, and the most interesting collectors are those who seek out the oddball models, the forgotten histories, and the hidden gems that no one else is paying attention to.
The natural inclination is to play it safe and choose a watch that’s already a crowd favorite, but greater joy comes from taking a risk and adding something new to the conversation. You’ll be the most popular person at the watch meetup, and you’ll smile every time you look at your wrist.