There is a rule when buying watches on the secondary market. You’re not just buying the watch, but you are also buying the seller. What this means is, you need to know who the seller is. If the seller is trusted in the watch world, it lowers the chances of you losing money.
You might have heard stories about people paying for a watch and receiving an empty box, and you do not want to be in this position. By taking special precautions you can minimize your chances of being scammed. The key is in finding, and only doing business with trusted sellers.
Below I have listed the three key elements to researching your seller after you have found the watch you want to purchase.
- Search Seller’s Reputation
- Make Contact With The Seller
- Ask Questions
1. Search For Reputation
In today’s digital age, it is effortless to find out almost anything about everyone. All you need is access to the internet, and you will be able to find the information you are looking for.
When searching for a seller you will want to find out if the seller is a watch dealer, has an actual store, the quantity they deal in, and if they are a watch enthusiast.
If the seller is a more significant watch dealer, you should not have any issues locating any public reviews. But keep in mind that not all reviews are the same. Some, especially on the site, can be faked.
One of the trusted reviews is from Google store, Trustpilot, as well as Yelp.
If the seller uses watch forums such as Watchuseek, Rolex Forum, or Reddit, then you are in great luck because WatchCharts has RepCheck to help you get to know your seller much faster. All you will need to do is search the seller’s user name selecting the appropriate website. Other platforms like eBay have their own review systems where you can learn about the seller’s past transactions.
Some platforms have their review system such as eBay, where you can learn about the past reviews of the watch sellers.
In the end, you should not have a hard time finding a digital footprint left by the seller, and if you do have a hard time, it might be because the seller is not reputable.
2. Connect with the Seller
The next step is to connect with the seller. If the seller is reputable, he or she will do everything in their power to make the sale. This means they will not hide any facts about the watch and try to help you feel comfortable, especially if you are purchasing an expensive watch. Building a reputation in the watch world takes a long time and can be lost in seconds.
This is the essential step you need to take if you are buying from a private party. There is a very slim chance that a reputable seller would not take the time to make you feel comfortable with your purchase.
How to connect with the watch seller?
- Over the phone
As you can see, there are many ways you can connect with the watch sellers. The best way to connect is over the phone. By talking to them, you will gauge if they are hiding something, especially if you are using WhatsApp or FaceTime.
During the phone call, you should ask to see the watch, because you will be able to tell if the seller has the watch.
Let’s say you are talking to the seller, and he or she does not have the watch on them; you can always tell them to take a picture with the watch set up at a specific time with a written statement such as “your name and today’s date.”
In general, if the seller is hiding something, it’s wise to move on.
I had a watch seller, who had a well priced Cartier Roadster on eBay. I won the auction and paid for the watch right away. The next day, I got a call from the seller that he had to cancel the offer. He was super convincing, and I did not suspect anything wrong. I was asking him why did he do that, and his reason what that PayPal would be holding his money because my account was too new, which was not a correct statement. I asked him to connect online, but he said that he sells the watch for his business partner and does not have any social media. That was the first red flag. He offered me to purchase the watch over Cash App, but I said I would rather pay by wire. Paying wire is the most secure way to accept the payment; however, he said, that he was scammed in the past. That did not make sense at all. My gut feeling was telling me to move one, and I did. A couple of months later, a friend of mine mentioned that he got scammed by the person I wanted to buy a watch from. If your gut feeling telling you not to, don’t do that. It’s more likely right.
3. Ask Questions
When you ask questions about the watch, the trusted seller will be more than happy to answer it. Yes, some buyers keep on asking questions and don’t have any motive to purchase the watch.
But that’s the price of selling watches online. If people are paying a lot of money for a watch they did not see in person, I feel like they should be asking questions. Why would someone wire you thousands of dollars without really knowing the actual condition of the watch?
There are times that the pictures and descriptions are very accurate, and the buyer will get what was represented at the watch add. Unfortunately, the sellers sometimes forget to put some specific information such as timekeeping accuracy, scratches on the crystal, etc. Those are some of the questions you should be asking as well.
If the seller is hesitant to answer some questions, it might be because he or she is hiding something. Any reputable seller will do anything they can to help you make a smart educated decision.
When sellers can connect over phone or at least searchable on social media platforms, you should be able to figure out whether the seller is trusted quickly. By asking specific questions about the watch, you will be able to find out how much the seller wants to sell the watch. If they have nothing to hide, they will help you as much as they can.
This blog post was written by Honza Hroch, the founder of Value Your Watch Marketplace.