Buying a used Breitling watch can be a minefield, especially with questions like; who do I buy from? What do I look out for? And so many more…
Buying A Used Breitling
It is even worse the higher up in the market you go as the market can potentially have a fake or two in the mix. This makes navigating the market even more difficult for the new, inexperienced or even more experienced alike as anyone can fall victim to watch scams. In my opinion, it’s getting harder and harder to spot a fake as the makers of these watches are going to new lengths to convince you that their watch is original. Not only that, but then you have to find a seller with a solid reputation and good reviews so that you have some trust there.
This isn’t all, as there are plenty more hurdles to jump over and hoops to jump through to make sure you have a smooth and safe buying experience. That is why we have put together this guide on the things to look out for when buying a pre-owned luxury watch.
1. How To Spot A Fake
Like with many other watches, Breitling is prone to a fake or two. Probably not as common as Rolex, but still out there. Here are a few handy tips to look out for, and the first is the weight. If the watch feels too light, then it could be a sign that it isn’t real. Be sure to research the watches weight first and weigh the one you’re looking at to see if the numbers match. Next up is the second’s hand, which should have the B on the very end with an anchor shape. Now not all models have this, so be sure to check if yours is supposed to. Details to look out for on a real one are the uniformity of the B as it should be slightly thinner and thicker in places, whereas a fake will be the same thickness throughout. The anchor should also be clean and sharp. If it’s too round, it could be fake.
Currently, Breitling uses two different types of logos on its watches. The first is their most easily recognised, and that is their iconic winged anchor with the Breitling name underneath. Here there are two main points to look out for in the real Breitling logo that some fakes will get wrong. First, there is a small gap between the tips of the anchor and the wings, and, next, the inner lines that make up the wings don’t reach the end of the very end of them. Fake watches often miss these small things.
2. Always Buy From Sellers With A Transparent Returns Policy
Just because you like the look of a watch doesn’t mean that you’ll like owning or wearing it and if for whatever reason you aren’t 100% happy with what you’ve bought, then having a good returns policy is key. Most sellers should offer a 30-day money-back policy but not all keep to that, so be careful. If the seller is worth their salt, they should offer a full refund or an exchange for the same watch or something in a similar price bracket if anything is wrong.
3. Look out for stock photos
When looking for a used luxury watch, I want to see that watch and what condition it’s in. If a seller is only using stock photos for their listing, then they could be hiding something or simply just can’t be bothered to take their own. In these cases, walk away. You could always ask for some photos of the watch; if they refuse, again walk away. If the seller is good, then they should offer photos with no fuss.
4. Ask The Seller About The Watch’s History
Any reputable seller that wants to stay that way will have no problem divulging the information on the origins and history of the watch that they are selling. Take the Breitling Avenger as an example. If you are looking to buy one, but the listing isn’t very forthcoming with some of its history, then be sure to contact the seller and ask; they should be more than happy to tell you about where the watch came from and anything about it. Sellers should also ensure that they check their stock by running background checks to make sure the watch they are selling isn’t stolen. Again this should be no hassle to a good seller.
5. Research The Seller
One thing you need to do is research the seller. Always check online reviews, customer feedback and even forums to see if others have had good or bad experiences with them. This will help you verify if the seller is trustworthy and reliable. Verified reviews left by customers are a great way to tell you how a seller operates and if they should get your business. Check social media avenues, impartial third-party review sites and Google to see if there are any red flags you should be aware of. Also, check to see if the seller operates from a brick-and-mortar building, as this is a good sign. A user-friendly website with high-quality images is also a good sign but not always, so be sure to follow the other steps too.
6. Make Sure The Seller Is Offering A Warranty And Check To See If They Are Qualified To Service it
Some but not all sellers might claim that they have serviced a watch, but you need to be certain that whoever did the service knew what they were doing and used genuine parts. Any good seller – if they offer servicing, should have properly trained watchmakers that have been taught how to correctly look after and service a watch properly. If they haven’t, then make sure you know a trustworthy one as the watch you are buying could potentially need looking over to make sure everything is as it should be. Take Chrono24, for example; on their listings; it states whether the watch has been inspected, and you can usually spot this by clicking “More Information”, which is normally displayed under the price.
7. Ensure The Watch You’re Buying Has All The Correct Documents And Original Items
One other thing you need to do when looking at buying a used Breitling or any other expensive watch for that matter is to check and see if comes with the correct documents and all the original accessories, and even the box. The papers should be what came with the watch, as well as notes of any service history. This should tell you if the watch has been serviced correctly as a bad service can cost a lot to fix and sometimes might not be fixable. This can potentially save you a lot of money and also increases the value of the watch if you ever come to part with it; it’s also a good sign the watch is real, too, as most fakes don’t contain any service history, so be sure to ask the seller if they have this to be included with the watch.
8. If It Looks Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is
This isn’t just for buying used watches as well; it rings true for many other things as well. But with the rise in pre-owned watches comes more sellers trying anything to make a quick buck. If a seller is offering you a pristine watch for an obscenely low price, you’d likely think twice about buying it as the seller is either desperate to sell or is up to no good. That’s why it’s worth checking a watch’s used market value before looking, as sellers should have a good handle on this. Some sellers offer anywhere from 30% to 70% off retail depending on a few factors, which is pretty normal, but if they are offering a watch for 80-90% off, then the likelihood is that it’s either fake, stolen, or a franken-watch (a watch made up from loads of other watches). Our tip is to research proper market value for any watch, and that will give you a ballpark of roughly how much you’ll need to spend.
One example of this is the Breitling Navitimer; depending on the seller and country of origin, this watch will set you back anywhere between £2000 to £12,000, which varies between versions of this watch. Take the Navitimer 8 Chronograph below for a sample: its used price should be around £2400 used. If the watch is priced at £1200, then the watch is likely stolen, fake, or beyond repair, none of which is something you’d want from a watch. So again, make sure you know what the watch you’re after is truly worth so that you don’t get stung.
Now that’s not saying that there aren’t genuine bargains out there, but they’re like a blue moon and very rarely are what they say they are.
9. Ask The Right Questions
We’ve already covered parts of this, but here are a few more questions to ask. These are
- “Does it have its original manufactured finish” – This is important as some people may choose to have their watch re-polished or re-finished, which takes away precise material and essentially thins the watches finish, which is not good.
- “Does it have all its original parts” – Again important as watches with their original parts are worth considerably more, and you’re less likely to have any surprises down the line.
- “Has the watch been altered in any way” – This isn’t as common, but at times people may choose to have their watches regulated which is not always done correctly and can shorten the lifespan of your movement, which can be very costly to fix or replace.
There you have it, some tips and advice to look at when buying your next used luxury Breitling or the likes. Of course, buying experiences vary from place to place, which is why WRUK recommends choosing Chrono 24 when shopping for your next luxury purchase as they only work with reputable sellers across the globe and have a great reputation for looking after both buyers and sellers alike.