Hi, I would appreciate your feedback on the appropriate next step in this situation I have been dealing with over the past year:
- In July of 2015, I purchased a Tudor Black Bay from a member of this site. He was the second owner of the watch, and told me “the prior owner only wore it a few times before trading it in” which I erroneously assumed meant trading it in to the Rolex dealer that my seller got it from.
- The price was typical for a Black Bay with bracelet at the time, and the seller had a safe internet footprint (good posting history on this site, legitimate social media accounts, etc.).
- When I received the watch, it looked great! However, the crown didn’t feel right, and pulled completely off while I was attempting to wind it. This was obviously a huge red flag, and I contacted the seller. He assured me he never had any trouble with it, and it was fine when he sent it to me.
- I was traveling at the time, so rather than push the issue with the seller and try to return it, I took it in to my nearest authorized Rolex dealer for review/repair. They returned it to me with a receipt showing I had been charged the labor for the repair, along with the cost of a new crown.
- About a year later, I sold the watch to another member of this forum. He was a newer member very excited to purchase his first “nice” watch. This gentleman also had a safe internet footprint.
- Last summer, the guy I sold the watch to contacted me to let me know that I had sold him a fake watch. I was shocked, obviously, and pressed him for more details. He had taken the watch in for a service, and the service department notified him that it was an inauthentic item with an Asian movement.
- I contacted the person I bought the watch from originally, and he assured me it was genuine, asserting that the service department must just not be familiar with Tudor watches, etc. etc.
- Since all parties involved were being open and patient, we proceeded through multiple steps to check the authenticity. Another service technician indicated it was an Asian movement; I sent my buyer a case back opener so he could personally inspect/take pictures, etc. Based on these details, I purchased the watch back (with apologies). I've tested it myself, and it does have the "phantom crown setting" in between winding and time setting where the date setting would be that I have read is an indicator of an Asian movement.
- The guy I bought the watch from has been communicative throughout, but there have been a number of red flags. He was initially evasive-- “that was so long ago, it can’t be fake, anything could have happened over the past few years, etc.” Once I established a chain of custody with the serial number and brought up concepts like “fraud” and “statute of limitations” he became more interested in pursuing the person he bought the watch from.
- The “person” he bought the watch from turns out to have been a large (seemingly reputable) pawn shop who sold it to him via eBay. I know right? This did NOT come up as part of our pre-sale negotiations, and his answers to questions pre-sale led me to believe the history of the watch was cleaner than it turned out (lesson learned for me).
- The pawn shop insists that they have never sold a counterfeit watch. My seller made an official inquiry through the Chamber of Commerce, and the pawn shop responded with a poorly written letter that basically told everyone to go pound sand.
- I am relieved to have the watch back in my possession now having made my buyer “whole”. Now I want to wrap up things with my seller and make myself as whole as possible.
- I have consulted with a lawyer in the city where the seller lives. They confirmed that I should be able to recover, for a fee of course. That is a last resort-- I would prefer to give the seller one last chance to make it right before I pull that trigger.
Are there any other steps you suggest I take? Would a Tudor dealer be able to confirm the validity/history of the serial # on my watch? If that confirmed that the case was fake (and not just the movement), it would eliminate any remaining arguments from the seller I think.
Mods-- I know replica issues are sensitive here, so please let me know if this isn't the correct sub-forum or if I need to remove pictures.
And my apologies for the wall of text-- it's a complicated issue and I wanted to lay everything out there.