Pointers on Buying A Watch in Singapore Or Online ~ New, Pre-Owned or Vintage Watches, from ADs, Non-ADs and Local Watch Forum/Sites
- montres [China Street] and watcharena [Balestier] LINK my post on montres LINK
- watchlink [Far East Plaza] LINK
- Shawn at Heirloom Gallery for vintage LINK
- Kenneth Chen LINK [site requires registration] formerly from VIP Hotel Balmoral Crescent / Barry Lim LINK [site requires registration]
- Chuan Watch [Golden Landmark Shopping Centre] LINK
- JW Watch [International Plaza] LINK
- HJ Watch [Far East Plaza] LINK / GR luxury [Mandarin Gallery] LINK
- Passions [Funan Shopping IT Mall] LINK
If you want new from authorised dealers than go to the watch brand site u r interested in and check out their authorised dealer(AD)/retailer network listed on their sites. For the luxury watch brands here, the main ADs in SG are:
- The Hour Glass Site link [they have 40month Installment Payment Plan towards helping you get your desired watch... very dangerous :) ],
- Cortina [recently finished their jewelry of time exhibition LINK] Cortina Site and
- Sincere Site link
and relationship with the brands
When buying online, take note of the following:
1) Try before you buy
Try the same watch model if possible before you buy vs making the decision off a pic you saw of it online. if you can't get the exact same piece then an alternative is trying something similar sized or similar model with some slight variances to understand presence of the piece and suitability. if you have owned and tried many different types of pieces(and know their sizes) this won't be too much of an issue for you.
reaction 1: damn i didn't know it was soo small... [note this is in reference to the size of the watch!]
reaction 2: damn i didn't know it was gonna be soo big... [note: this is again in reference to the size of the watch! ;) ]
2) Pics to assess case condition
for vintage or older pieces with solid casebacks(which most of them do as clear casebacks weren't big in the past), always ask for pics of the watch without it's caseback on to see condition of the case and the caseback. if there's black-ish or other corrosion marks or pitting, I would stay clear and wait for a better example to pop up. it may require some patience though and if a piece is ultra ultra rare and you can stomach the corrosion of the case then it's your call on that... but i would wait...
it doesn't really matter how expensive the watch is that you're getting... $100, $500, $1k, $10k or more. try and get some internal caseback shots if possible.
Folks with many transactions done before without issues are safer bets and better to deal with but again no guarantees as each new transaction is what it is. For watches, once the transaction is done, make sure all things pertaining to the deal are sorted.
For me personally, for sub-1k watches i have been hitting eBay a fair bit. Most of my Seiko acquisitions were obtained there. Buying off ebay is cool coz of buyer protection. this means if the seller sends you something different from what was advertised, you can open a case and get paypal to assess to get your funds back. buyer protection is crucial for online transactions of course.
Next onto buying pre-owned watches...
A. Provenance - Provenance matters especially if resale is important... having all the box, certs, papers, warranties, receipt if possible. the older the watch is though the tougher that this will all be intact and for quite a number of pieces greater than 10 years old, a lot of this stuff may be gone.
purchased from The Hour Glass Millenia Walk 27 Jan 2002
vs S$390 in the past... it has more than doubled in 8 years :(
What are u looking for?
- Sharpness of the case
- Bevelled lines not missing
- Not over polished or had too much metal taken away
Always try to get verification on when it was serviced last. Eg someone selling you a watch that was serviced last 8-10 years ago likely means the next servicing will be coming up soon on your dime.
Check how long the warranty lasts as well. Some pieces may have been sold with an extended warranty(eg. boutique sold watches) so get it in the service centre before the warranty ends if anything needs a fixin.
In terms of who serviced it, authorised is still best but can be costly. if non-authorised then make sure it's a reliable enough servicer that you personally would trust to use. if it's not then it casts a bit of doubt on the piece as in the course of servicing, parts that weren't from the original brand may have been replaced in the movement. eg. Tag, Panerai or IWC eta based movements replaced with generic eta parts.
For my post on servicing -> LINK
D. Authenticity - To be safe, authenticate your watch before purchase if possible especially if it's a commonly replicated watch. Official service centres are best for this.
[Note: For the dealers with shops or very established sellers, there is less need for this but it depends on each individual's relationship and trust established.]
Interested in Vintage Watches?
There are a lot of great vintage watches out there but what is said above on condition is extremely key in assessing the vintage watch you are keen on getting. for some vintage Rolex, certain aging features or patina actually give the watch it's value and the last thing you want to pay for is a service dial or replacement superluminova dial for the original tritium dial as an eg.
The great thing about vintage though is the value for money buys. Watches with good to great movements eg the Lemania CH27 and Valjoux 72. Some brands may have interesting mechanical pieces from the past but you will have to tread carefully eg the likes of Universal Geneve, Movado, Zenith, English pocket watches and others.
i went through a 'find some interesting watch stuff off ebay' phase once. it was fun hunting for decent buys, looking at movements in old watches and seeing if there were worthwhile finds. somehow or another, i kinda knew that what i did buy may get very little wrist time but I still trawled through results pages looking for some good value pieces vs modern equivalents. some vintage pieces are popular though and have kind of settled at certain price range. for these, it comes down to your assessment of it's value when coming to a buy or not to buy decision.