New vs Used Watches - Which is the Better Buy?
"Should I buy a used watch or new one?" This is a popular question that we get often from customers that visit or call our boutique in Miami looking for high end watches.
In the Watch Your Style video above, Eric Rivera tackles this question head on and gives you a clear example using the Rolex brand. Used or "pre owned" watches are not like used cars, which typically differ significantly in appearance and condition when compared to a new vehicle.
As Eric shows in his video, a pre owned luxury watch in a "like-new" condition might look strikingly similar to a brand new one. In fact, most watch buyers might not be able to tell them apart. So then why the big fuss surrounding used-vs-new? Why do so many people can't make up their minds when it is time to buy? It may be psychological. Seriously!
Some people will only get a warm and fuzzy feeling inside if they know with 100% certainty that they are buying a new, out-of-the-box model. Even if they were able to buy a preowned version of the watch in question that looked identical to the more expensive newer variety, they wouldn't be able to live with themselves. Arrrggghhh, the suffering!!!! All kidding aside, when should you buy a new watch instead of a used one or vice versa? It depends on three factors that Eric explains well.
Used or New - 3 Factors to Determine which Luxury Watch to BuyAs Eric lays both a pre owned and a brand new two-tone Rolex Yacht-Master II next to each other in front of the camera, he spells out the factors he uses to determine whether to buy new or used.
- Watch Dealer's Reputation – As Eric explains, when buying a watch, you need to make sure that the dealer selling it to you is trustworthy and reputable – so make sure to check reviews and the dealer's reputation online. It's better to buy a used watch from a great dealer than buying a new one from an dishonest one.
- Condition of the Watch – In order to justify the purchase of a preowned watch, its condition must be relatively good. Eric goes one step further and states that in order for him to be swayed in favor of pre owned, the watch has to be in “like-new” condition; otherwise, it wouldn't make sense to purchase it.
- Watch Price – A used watch, even in like-new condition, is going to cost less than an unworn model. This is the main reason that customers who want to get the most bang for their buck gravitate towards the preowned market. If the difference between the new and used model is significant enough, Eric feels buying used is the better option.
“When buying new, you can expect to pay an additional one thousand to two thousand dollars more on your purchase, depending on obviously where you buy it. If you're going to buy it an an AD, you're going to pay full retail...no mercy.”
The one to two thousand dollar difference between new vs used Eric mentions applies to the Rolex Yacht-Master II model he shows in his video (as well as to other similarly priced Rolex models). Certain higher end models might see a wider price difference between pre-owned-like-new and unworn models. When he makes the statement above, Eric is also referring to the purchase of both versions of the watch at a discounted price; that is, not at the retail price one would pay when buying at most Authorized Dealers or APs. When comparing a new retail purchase vs a pre owned one, the price difference could easily be relatively larger than the 1,000-2,000 USD figure Eric quotes.
Will this be Your Last Watch Purchase?Price becomes an even more important factor if you're planning or might trade in the watch at some point in the future, which could take place if you get bored of the watch or simply want to sport something different to impress your friends. Eric, like many watch fans, typically trades in his watches over time. Thus, he recommends...
“Unless you're planning on making this Rolex purchase your last one ever and you plan on never selling it or trading it, you might want to think twice about buying new.”
Since a luxury watch experiences a given amount of depreciation the instant it goes from new to used, a watch owner would lose a lot less money when trading in a pre-owned watch, which is immune to the new-to-used loss in value.
What do you Get with a New Watch that You Don't Get with a Used One?If most pre-owned, like new watches look identical to their brand new counterparts, what are all the extras that you get with a new watch? Not many really! Eric explains...
“Now, what to expect with that new watch? You're going to get stickers on the case, dealer tag, and the standard hang tag – and an open warranty card.”These stickers and tags can be seen attached to the new Rolex Eric shows on the video – and all of them will obviously be removed by the owner before showcasing the watch to the world. They are not important. Eric continues...
“You also get an open warranty card.”The warranty card is just, as Eric mentions, “a piece of plastic,” that is first given to the initial buyer of the watch. As he explains, when a watch enters the used watch space and starts moving from owner to owner, the warranty card might eventually go missing. There are a few reasons for this. The original owner might lose or misplace the card. He or she might also not want to turn in the card due to privacy concerns, since it might show some of his or her personal information on it. A missing card does not mean that the watch is fake either, as Eric clearly states, especially when you buy the watch from a reputable dealer, who might also offer their own separate warranty on the timepiece. In the used watch market, a Rolex warranty card might be worth around $200. Even though Eric wouldn't mind having the card if possible, he states...
“At least for me, it will never be a deal breaker.”
It is obvious that if the conditions are appropriate, Eric prefers pre-owned vs new when it comes to high end watches. First of all, pre-owned watches in great condition can look practically identical to their brand new counterparts. Second of all, they will not experience the depreciation that new watches do when they move over to the used-watch space. Finally, used watches can also come with the additional warranty of a reputable watch dealer. This combination makes them extremely attractive for a lot of customers.
If you enjoyed Eric's video, please make sure to like it and share it with your friends using the social media buttons on this page. Also, please subscribe to our YouTube channel to stay up to date with our Watch Your Style video series. To see a wide variety of pre-owned watches and and fine jewelry, click here.