Monday, February 21, 2011

A pleasant buying experience

The experience of buying a high grade watch should be no different than one of buying a sports car or diamond ring. It should be a pleasant, memorable and definitely a satisfactory event.

At the end of the day, you - the buyer - is parting with a large amount of money,
so you should expect to be treated not just professionally, but with respect. After all, when it comes to buying a new piece of jewellery or a watch, that buying experience is included in the price of your item.

This is exactly why retailers spend a great deal of money to impress you with
the shop fit-out, the luxury packaging, the red carpet and the glass of champagne. Don't get too excited though, you are the one who is paying for the lot (including the fake smile!).

Unfortunately those very same luxury retailers are often the first ones to rob you of that precious commodity.

Indeed, the "fancy" buying experience is often overvalued and poorly delivered.
Why bother buying at full retail price from an authorised and exclusive dealer when
the moment you walk out of that glamorous shop your watch (or car, or diamond ring) loses 30, 40 or even 60% of its value?

Some buyers are victims of their own mindset and they will continue to buy (and pay) retail simply because they are incapable of considering alternatives. There are numerous, but here are a few:

- buying from an authorized dealer located in the suburbs
- buying last year's model on sale
- buying a new, identical item from a non-authorized dealer or
- buying a pre-owned watch in mint or near mint condition from a second hand dealer

You would be surprised how much you can save once you decide to break away
from that 'must be brand new' mentality.

Indeed, some of the finest pieces of jewellery, diamonds, fine watches and clocks, objects 'd art, paintings, books, scientific instruments, motoring - even real estate - have already been passed from generation to generation often increasing in value. All of these objects are no longer available new, yet when sold at auction they generate great interest and attract knowledgeable buyers.

Interestingly enough, based on years of dealing with collectors and savvy customers,
we know that those who actually have more disposable income and can afford luxury
are very happy to buy fine pre-owned items!

To put things in perspective: out of the entire quantity of fine watches in circulation, brand new watches account for just a fraction of a percent. A mere tip of the iceberg!

Therefore if you have consciously excluded the idea of owning fine pre-owned stock, you are not doing yourself any favors.

For an educated buyer, the ultimate buying experience is VALUE FOR MONEY and a thrill in hunting for timepieces which are no longer available
from authorized retailers. They love to save, not to lose money; they buy items which are not necessary the latest hype but those which have already depreciated, have a proven resale record, have reasonable resale value and can be bought at a significant discount.

Finally, in order to get your business and take your buying experience to the next level, many second hand dealers and watchmakers will provide additional services like case and bracelet polishing or adjustment, valuation, repair and servicing, or even a trade-in or buy back option of your timepiece.

As we always say, those who are not in a hurry and have realistic expectations will always get a better deal and ultimately be rewarded with a truly satisfying buying experience.

Omega Speedmaster Professional X-33 MARS Titanium watch
A rare collector's set

Thursday, February 17, 2011

"Selling" online

As most watch collectors are aware, there are a near-infinite number of second hand watches for sale online through a multitude of dealers – some reputable, some less so.

The information age has made it so simple for the dodgy types to cut and paste from websites and use these legitimate sounding ads to con unsuspecting buyers.

I was recently tipped off to this ad by a friend. The fact that this particular dealer "borrowed" his product description from my own website is nothing new - I am actually more surprised that one of my ads ended up on Gumtree Cape Town, South Africa (of all places!)

The bottom line here is simple. If the seller doesn’t give you the opportunity to see the item in person, DON’T BUY!

There is a huge difference between “selling” online and selling online. It may seem obvious to say, but many buyers are still falling for it – don’t be one of them.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lost & Found

Have you stopped to think what would happen if your watch were to be misplaced or lost? It's a situation that can happen to anyone, so I thought I'd share this email enquiry that I'd recently received about this very situation:

Hi Nick

Just a superquick query - we found a Breitling watch on the street yesterday morning. My partner knew of the brand & that they were a good quality watch - and expensive! We handed it in to our local Police Station. My partner said there appeared to be some kind of number on the back....Is this number able to be used to track the owner? I'm horrified that someone has dropped such an expensive watch. It was close to the roadway, as if it had come off someone's wrist while getting into a car. There are 2 aged care homes nearby & we've dropped in there with negative results.

Many thanks in advance

Dear T,

First of all, you must be congratulated on your honesty! In your effort to locate the owner of the lost watch, you've gone way above your duty of care. Well done!

To answer your question: Unfortunately, numbers on the case back are not directly related to the owner. There are two lots of numbers on it: 1) The model reference number, which (in the case of Breitling watches) starts with a letter followed by 5 or more numbers. The second lot is the unique serial number.

It is always a good idea to record any numbers or text engraved on the case back of your watch. If it is lost or misplaced, this is crucial piece of evidence which will help in the identification of your watch.

Better still, have your watch valued and insured! Insurance valuation does not cost much (we gladly provide free insurance valuation for all watches we sell). In the unfortunate case of loss or theft, please contact Police and your insurance company promptly.

Back to your situation: We do hope that police will be able to trace the owner of the Breitling, however, if the watch remains unclaimed for a certain period of time, legally you will become it's owner. :-).

The police will contact you and you will have every right to claim it, keep it or sell it - assuming, of course, that it is a genuine Breitling.



More Lost & Found here

Some related stories sent in by one of our readers:

'Some years ago I was running along the beach at Kingscliff, northern NSW and found a watch lying in the sand. The watch was a diving model Tag Heuer – quite an expensive watch back then. Whilst I would have loved to keep the watch I knew the owner would have also loved to get it back so did the right thing and handed it in to a local police station.

Several months later I received a call from the police station to advise me the watch had not been claimed and I could pick it up – I was delighted! However, the following day I had another call from the police to advise me not to bother claiming the watch as it had been stolen, along with some other valuables, during an overnight break-in at the police station. Oh the disappointment!'

Another watch story that had a good ending follows:

'A good friend had his car broken into a couple of years ago at Byron Bay and had his 1970s Omega Seamaster stolen. Several months later a work colleague had his car stolen from the beach at Kingscliff (about 40 mins drive north of Byron). Months later, the police found this car in QLD and advised my colleague of the find and asked if he had lost an Omega Seamaster watch that was in the car’s glove box. On being told this story, I told my Byron Bay friend to contact the QLD police just in case it was the same thief and his watch. He did this and described the watch to the police – yes it was his – it had returned!'

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Dislodged hour markers

The dreaded scenario: whilst admiring the fine details of your new Rolex, it accidentally slips through your fingers and finds itself on a one way collision course with the floor. In the milliseconds before it even hits, a number of possible outcomes flashes through your mind - none of them good.

After the impact, you examine the watch carefully. Although there is no visible major damage and it seems to be functioning correctly, you do find that an hour marker has dislodged itself from the dial. What should you do?
First and foremost, pull out the winder in order to stop the watch and avoid any possibility of the loose hour marker scratching the dial.

Secondly, you have two choices to consider in regards to repairs. You can take it to a Rolex service centre where it is highly likely that service will involve replacing the dial and overhauling the watch altogether, which can set you back roughly $1500. The other option is to bring the watch to us, which will set you back all of $50 – free if you purchased it from us.

Why the drastic difference in price? Because we see this as a simple repair (assuming there is no damage to the mechanism itself). Each hour marker is held in place with 2 “feet”, and can easily be set in place permanently with a microscopic drop of adhesive – no replacements necessary!