Whether it’s an early Heuer Autavia or a classic Rolex, we’ve all lusted for an incredible vintage watch.
The attention to detail, the powerful steel, and a smooth, precise sweep is what makes an exceptional chronograph.
But as the saying goes, “Where there’s money to be made, there’s scams.”
In recent years, cheap imitations have started popping up on e-stores like eBay and Wish. It’s difficult not to fall prey to such gimmicks when they’re cleverly designed to resemble the real thing.
But don’t be fooled. Nothing can compare to the original. You deserve your money’s worth and not some low-priced imitation. If you are looking to buy vintage watches, here are a couple of ways to avoid purchasing a fake vintage watch:
Don’t Trust the Box and Papers
Everything and anything that comes with a fancy, gold-wrapped box and a certificate is the real deal, right? Wrong.
If you’re purchasing a classic Rolex, know that not all vintage Rolexes were certified when they built. If they were chronometer-certified, they came with a perforated paper confirming their genuineness. And if they weren’t certified, they came with a handwritten letter from the manufacturer.
Analyze the Watch
Not all that glitters is gold. If there’s a new watch from a popular brand, there’s bound to be a knock-off lurking around somewhere.
Since knock-offs are cheap imitations, they come with minor but noticeable changes. Whether the steel is slightly rusted or a feature is missing, there’s always something there that can give it away.
Make sure you know everything there is about the watch you’re purchasing. This is because scammers keep themselves updated all the time.
Make Sure Everything Matches
Just because it’s vintage, doesn’t mean it has to be worn-out! The allure of vintage watches is that they are in mint condition. If the hands struggle reaching the minute tracks, you need to pause and question everything.
If there’s no oxidation and the clock looks worn-out, but the dial looks great, you know there’s something odd going on.
Use a Magnifying Glass, Sherlock!
Scammers are getting smarter by the day. So you need to be just as smart. Use a magnifying glass to look into the small, intricate details of the watch. From the minute track to the hands, make sure everything is authentic.
You can also use a Geiger counter to inspect the watch.
Don’t Judge a Crook By His Cover
Don’t just walk into any shop or click on the first result the search engine displays. Always make sure the dealer is licensed and certified. A licensed dealer will always give you a certificate for guarantee and at least 6 months of warranty.
Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for trouble later on.
Check the Movement/Sweep
And last but not least, make sure you know your “movement/sweep” before you invest. Checking the movement can quickly tell you whether the watch is fake.
If you can’t check it out in person, make sure you analyze photographs thoroughly.
Make sure to check the case-back. If there are screw-heads and the watchmaker’s tool marks, there are major problems with the watch.
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