Watches can last a lifetime, if you pick the right one. We take a look into how to invest in a timepiece, or buy one pre-loved.
At a time when smart watches are starting to hit the market, and owning the most up to date technology seems to be one of life’s little pleasures for so many people, the notion of buying a second hand watch made several years or even decades ago barely registers in most people’s minds. There are however several advantages to seeking out pre-owned watches from trustworthy retailers like Watches of Switzerland, The Watch Expert, or smaller reputable retailers.
You may have noticed recently that people from almost any background can be seen using iPhones. So many people prioritise buying the most up-to-date technology that these products lose their status symbol appeal – many people are now buying HTC phones instead, for example. With watches it can be the same. The amount of advertising we see for Rolex and Omega mean that there is rarely anything unique about being seen with one. By looking for pre-owned watches, you can find something that not only saves another watch from a rubbish tip but conveys a greater sophistication and sense of taste.
The reason a lot of watches are sold as pre-owned is because they are extremely well crafted. One problem in modern society is that people spend far too much money on products that they replace within two years and have little or no re-sale value. A pre-owned watch can last a lifetime, which is better for the environment – especially when labour is taken into account – and can save far more money in the long run. In fact some can be investments and actually gain value.
No one will know it’s used
Image: Assef Elweter
Pre-owned watches tend not to have much wear and tear; if they did their prices would drop dramatically. This means that, for all anyone knows, you could have owned the watch since it was new. Many pre-owned watches will be almost new anyway so buying one fresh off a production line can almost be nonsensical.
In order to keep up with competition, many watch makers will be using methods of manufacture that are less ethical then general practices in the past. Buy buying a watch from the middle of the last century you could be buying something that was built under far better working conditions and with methods that impact less on the environment. This will obviously vary company to company, and there have certainly been some positive advances in the treatment of workers and fuel efficiency in the last few decades too, but it is worth bearing in mind.
A thoughtful gift
Choosing a pre-owned watch often takes a little more time than buying the most up-to-date or trendy watch from a catalogue. Many pre-owned watches have interesting stories as to why they were so successful/well engineered. Watches that were actively used in both world wars can be purchased, or – if you wanted to get something even more memorable – try pocket watches. These can make far more unique gifts and will often suit certain personalities better than something modern that hasn’t stood the test of time.