When you start in on the world of vintage watches, you can become dazzled by the array of watches that are out there, in all the various forms. Given that some examples are more rare than others, you might be tempted by, say, an homage (which we wrote about here). And those are fine enough in their own right, given that you’re not trying to pass the watch off as something it isn’t.
If you’re earnestly looking for a “real deal” example to add to your collection, then you’ll definitely want to watch out for fakes. This article over on Forbes tackles the subject of fakes, and why we should avoid them like the plague.
To be certain, the focus of the article is primarily on the new watch market, but the premise also applies to the used aftermarket – especially as those vintage mechanicals are becoming more interesting to the mainstream watch buyer. While that means more exposure, and potentially an easier time finding your grail, it also means that there will be plenty of unscrupulous folks out there trying to make a quick buck with a shoddy product.
In the end, it boils down to a few simple principles to make sure you know what you’re getting:
- Do your research! Know what your grail watch looks like, and what features a fake may miss out on. In this regard, brand-specific forums can be of great help
- Know your pricepoint. Along with that research you do, learn what the range of pricing is for various condition models are. This will help set your expectations, as well as setting up to realize when something really is “too good to be true”.
- Know your dealer*. This one is more of a grey area. If you’re working with an established B&M shop, get to know the folks working there, and work with them. If you’re going the online route (say, on WUS), then make sure to check out the reputation of the seller
None of these are foolproof, but if you follow these steps, you’re more likely to end up with a quality example you can cherish for years to come.
* Knowing your dealer can also help when it comes time to service (and, if need be, authenticate) your acquisition.