Is Buying Watches You've Never Seen a Given?

View Poll Results: Is Buying Watches You've Never Seen A Given

88. This poll is closed
  • It is a given. I don't need to have seen a watch in person before buying it.

    38 43.18%
  • I try to avoid it, but it is often unavoidable

    30 34.09%
  • I avoid it, but could see doing it if it was unavoidable.

    10 11.36%
  • I'd never do it.

    10 11.36%
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Thread: Is Buying Watches You've Never Seen a Given?

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  1. #1
    Member Ray916MN's Avatar
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    Feb 2006

    Is Buying Watches You've Never Seen a Given?

    With the tremendous variety of watches and the limited bricks and mortar retailing of them if you want to acquire watches it can be very tough to actually see a watch you want to purchase in person before purchasing it. There are also models which are not available in your market, models which sell as soon as they arrive at dealers, presold limited production models, rare vintage and used models and micros. So many of the watches that are discussed and shown on this forum can not be seen at retailers or boutiques even in the largest cities in the world. Even if you have a good sized circle of friends who are interested in watches, it is unlikely that your friends own all the watches you might be interested in and given the inclination of people to own watches to reflect their individualism, seeing a watch you're interested in on a friend's wrist can be an inhibitor to buying one for yourself. My guess is all this means being actively interested in buying watches generally means buying watches without first seeing them in person.

    How do you feel about this? Do you agree? If you agree, how does it impact your watch buying? Do you limit what you buy because it seems insane to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on something you've never seen in person? Is your watch flipping somehow connected to buying watches you've never seen in person? Do you avoid vintage and used, because it is one thing to buy new watches you've never seen but another to buy used watches you've never seen? Do you think it is crazy that people buy watches without having ever seen them in person?
    Last edited by Ray916MN; September 14th, 2018 at 04:17.

  2. #2
    Member yankeexpress's Avatar
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    Apr 2013

    Re: Is Buying Watches You've Never Seen a Given?

    I can see them online, research photos and measurements as I have enough experience to know what is too big and too bulky. This way I avoid flipping, mostly.

    Have no problem buying used, pre-owned or vintage, given the right circumstances.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2013

    Re: Is Buying Watches You've Never Seen a Given?

    Almost all of my watches I never actually saw or tried in person before buying. It's not a problem for me honestly, in fact it makes the anticipation of the delivery of the watch even more exciting.
    Breguet Type XX, IWC Aquatimer Chronograph "Jacques Yves Cousteau", IWC Portuguese 7-Day Automatic, JLC Deep Sea Cermet, JLC Tribute to Polaris 1965, Omega Speedmaster Professional, Panerai 233 "Dot", Panerai 439 Oro Rosso, Patek Philippe 5130 World Time, Rolex Datejust, Rolex Seadweller, Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph, Vacheron Constantin Overseas World Time. Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Traditionnelle Chronograph.

    IG: bvllitt

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  5. #4
    Member rdoder's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013

    Re: Is Buying Watches You've Never Seen a Given?

    From the beginning, I've always bought from brick-and-mortar authorized dealers (ADs) at as much discount as I could get.

    I don't buy if I haven't seen in-person. In general, I don't feel I missed out, because there are many ADs within walking distance from me that sell more brands and models than I'm interested in or could afford.

    The only exception was Grand Seiko. For years, there were no GS ADs near where I live. I didn't want to buy without seeing in-person first, because somewhere along the way, I learned seeing/feeling/putting-on-wrist in-person is so different from looking at online pictures and videos. So for what seemed like years, I was interested in GS but never saw in-person so never bought, until recently. When I first saw it in-person, for me it was amazing.

    I don't ever flip mainly because I don't want hassles/scams of selling, but also because I have no immediate buyer's regret in receiving a watch by mail that turns out I don't like in-person. I've seen every single one of my eight watches in-store before I bought. (My other five watches were given to me.) If I'm not wowed in-person, I don't buy.

    Yes, I avoid vintage and used, because I don't know what happened to those watches along the way, plus buying a watch I never saw in-person is no-go for me. If I were rich and losing money on watches that turn out I don't like in-person is no biggie, that would be different, but every dollar I spend matters to me. Plus, I just like brand new watches more, like the new tech, like the least scratches to begin with. YMMV.
    Last edited by rdoder; September 14th, 2018 at 06:46.

  6. #5
    Member timefleas's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    Hiroshima, Japan

    Re: Is Buying Watches You've Never Seen a Given?

    Living where I do, there are few shops that carry the kind of watches that I am interested in, and if they do, they are at prices far above the market rate. I also follow a basic rule of allowing a first time buyer to buy the watch and take the often up to 50% out-the-door depreciation, and as such have bought 99% of the (more than 200 over the course of many many years) watches I have owned second hand, sight unseen.

    With that said, of course I haven't kept all 200--I have four at the present moment, so 98% of those that I have bought didn't work out--not necessarily because I discovered something in hand that I didn't realize from the pictures, but often, that was indeed the problem--maybe it just didn't wear right on my wrist, maybe it was higher/taller/wider/heavier/lighter/cheaper/cheezier than I expected, maybe it just didn't look nearly as great as it did in the huge beautiful macro shots posted online.

    However, buying used, and flipping most of them, has not been a problem at all--due to a lot of pre-purchase analysis and review (of both the watch and the seller), almost none have had problems, almost all transactions were with good people, and almost all were later sold for what I paid for--sometimes a bit less, sometimes a bit more--all in all, a safe and comfortable approach.

    Of course if there were a place I could go that a huge collection of great used watches, I would go there--but there isn't, so, I buy unseen--don't see that as a "given"--just a necessity of both where I live, and what I'm looking for.
    Last edited by timefleas; September 14th, 2018 at 04:57.

  7. #6
    Member Gary123's Avatar
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    Oct 2009
    Washington DC area

    Re: Is Buying Watches You've Never Seen a Given?

    Most of my watches were purchased without seeing the watch in person. It is very tough to find watches you are interested available for try on before purchase. A few, yes, but mostly no.
    watchcrank likes this.
    Chronographs: Breitling 2 tone Chronomat, Roger Dubuis Easy Diver, DeWitt Academia Sequential, Franck Muller Conquistador, IWC Aquatimer, Hublot Oceanographic 1000, Parmigiani Pershing 45, Royal Oak Offshore Gstaad, Franck Muller Vanguard Carbon, Franck Muller Conquistador, Chopard Mille Miglia, Zenith Defy Aero .. 3 Hand: Angular Momentum diver, Bucherer ScubaTec 2-tone, UN MM Diver 2-tone, Omega Ploprof, Ball Hunley, Omega SM 300 Master Co-Ax 2-tone, Zodiac Super Sea Wolf, Panerai Sub 106, Muhle Glashutte Rasmus blue

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    The Gathering Place

    Re: Is Buying Watches You've Never Seen a Given?

    In the early years everything was purchased without benefit of holding them first since they were all from smaller, niche houses and/or not available locally. It was those times, before I fine tuned my tastes and size restrictions, that brought on the non-stop flipping. After a year or so of that I got pretty good at buying only the ones that satisfied, though the reselling continued just because of the newness of the addiction. I've been through pretty much all the aesthetics that entice so not many watches are acquired now. But any watch I buy now without benefit of seeing it up close pretty much is spot on in terms of delivering specs/satisfaction . . .
    A.Lange & Sohne * Audemars Piguet * Blancpain * Cartier * Dornblueth & Sohne * Invicta * Jaeger-LeCoultre * Meraud * Rolex * Revolution Watch Company * Tiffany & Company * Tudor

    "the deeper the roots, the higher the reach" - author unknown

    Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself. - Rumi

  9. #8
    Member Raza's Avatar
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    Jul 2010

    Re: Is Buying Watches You've Never Seen a Given?

    I've found that I'm so particular that I basically need to try them on first. There's only one watch left in my collection that I bought sight unseen--all the others are gone or slated for sale. Some I tried on multiple times before deciding on them. I'm done with micros and I don't really do vintage. If I'm going to buy a watch I've never tried on it better be (1) really cheap or (2) easy to flip. But I prefer doing my research, trying them on, thinking it over, and then buying for life.
    MarkSeattle likes this.
    TAG Heuer Monaco LE|Omega Speedmaster|Seamaster 300MC|Rolex Submariner|Tudor Ranger

    How did it get so late so soon?

  10. #9
    Member BarracksSi's Avatar
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    Feb 2013
    Washington, DC

    Re: Is Buying Watches You've Never Seen a Given?

    I've been disappointed often enough when trying on watches (some forum favorites, too) that I don't think I'll ever buy one that I can't see in person.

    Sure, that limits my choices to what I can find locally, but that's still several dozen brands and hundreds of models to choose from.

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2014
    Sydney, Australia

    Re: Is Buying Watches You've Never Seen a Given?

    I've been disappointed by every watch I've bought without first seeing in person, and sold them all. Try and spend as much time as possible checking out ADs and pre-owned dealers and eventually you will get to see pretty much any watch you could want to see.
    Prince Escalus likes this.
    Breitling Navitimer | Omega Speedmaster Professional | Tudor Black Bay | Oris Aquis | Breitling Colt

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