When looking at used Vacheron watches, there’s always a side of caution that you should stick to. And well, this is even more so when shopping in the luxury market as it’s rifer with fakes and people looking to scam you out of your money. That is why we’ve created this handy guide on a few things to look out for when shopping for a high-end watch like a Vacheron Constantin.

This article is sponsored by Chrono24.

Buying a used Vacheron – what to look out for

Fakes are getting more common and better and better, making it even harder to find the real from the faux. So here’s a list of things to do when looking at buying your first or next Vacheron.

1. How To Spot A Fake Vacheron

Spotting a fake Vacheron is not an easy thing to do, but there is one telltale sign, and that is to have a verified/reputable watchmaker examine the watch. Real watches will have an official seal of the Canton of Geneva stamped on the lead seal and sometimes the movement. This is a gold-coloured seal shape with Geneva written on the bottom. Additionally, the movement itself must be stamped with the Hallmark of Geneva.

2. Make Sure The Seller Is Offering A Warranty And Check To See If They Are Qualified To Service it

Some sellers might claim to have serviced a watch that they are selling, but you need to be sure that the person who did the service used genuine parts and knew what they were doing. Any reputable seller that offers servicing should have a small team of properly trained watchmakers that know how to correctly service a watch. If they don’t offer servicing, then make sure you know a trustworthy one as the watch you could need a good going over if it hasn’t had a proper service. Take Chrono24, for example; on their listings; it states whether the watch has been inspected; you can usually spot this by clicking “More Information”, which is normally displayed under the price.

3. Ensure The Used Vacheron 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 Vacheron like their Historiques Triple Date watch is to see if it comes included with the correct documents, all the original accessories (if it’s supposed to) and even the box. The papers should be what came with the watch from the factory, as well as notes of any of its service history. These documents can potentially save you a fair amount of money and also boost the value of the watch. It’s also a very 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.

4. If It Looks Too Good To Be True, It Probably Is

This isn’t just good advice for buying luxury watches as it’s true for many other things in life as well. However, with the growth of the pre-owned watch market comes more people trying anything to make quick money selling counterfeit goods. If a seller is offering you an immaculate Vacheron watch for an unheard of price, you’d likely want to seriously think twice about it as the seller is more than likely up to no good. That’s why it’s always worth checking a watch’s pre-owned and new market value before looking. If a seller is offering a watch such as this Vacheron Constantin Historiques CORNES DE VACHE 1955 watch for a price that is “too good to be true” (around £15,000 or so), then avoid it. These watches new cost £49,500 and should be priced approaching £30,000. If it’s way too low, then it’s likely a fake, stolen or potentially a franken-watch (a watch made up from loads of other watches).

5. Ask The Right Questions

We’ve already gone over some parts of this, but here are a few more questions that you should be inclined to ask any seller. These are

  • “Does it have its original manufactured finish” – This is important as some sellers or previous owners may choose to re-polish or re-finish a watch that takes away precise metal and thins the watch, which is something you don’t want.
  • “Does it have all its original parts” – Again, this is important as a watch with all original parts will not only be more valuable but also will likely work for longer as luxury watchmakers use the best parts in their high-end watches.
    l “Has the watch been altered in any way” – This isn’t as common a problem, but sometimes sellers can incorrectly alter a watch to make it run better (more accurately), and if not done correctly, can damage the movement and reduce its lifespan.

6. Look out for stock photos of Vacheron watches

I want to see a proper picture of the watch, and what it looks like, and you should too. So if a seller is only using downloaded stock photos for a used watch, then ask for some pics of the watch; if they won’t accommodate this, walk away. If a seller doesn’t want to provide these images, then they’re likely hiding something or possibly haven’t even got the watch on hand. If the seller is good, then they should offer photos with no fuss.


7. Research The Seller

One more vital thing you need to do before any watch purchase is to thoroughly research the seller. Be mindful to always check online reviews and make sure that they’re from real people and not some paid-for nonsense. Also, look at customer feedback on places like forums to see if others have had any experiences with them, whether good or bad. This should help give you a bit of peace of mind.

Another tip is to check their social media, unbiased third-party review sites as well as doing good Google to see if there are any red flags to be found. One more tip here is to see if the seller works from a proper brick-and-mortar store, as that is a good sign that they are likely not going anywhere. One final tip is to look at their website; it should be user-friendly with high-quality images. This is not always the case, though, so be sure to follow the other steps too.

8. Ask The Seller About The Watch’s History

Any good reputable seller that wants to keep that will have no problem providing this important information. Take the Vacheron Constantin Overseas as an example. If you are looking to purchase one from a sellers store, but their listing isn’t very forthcoming about its history, then be sure to reach out to the seller and ask them for this. If they are a good seller, they should have a problem telling you whereabouts the watch came from and anything else you might need to know about it. Sellers should also make sure that they regularly check their stock by running background checks to ensure the watch they are selling isn’t stolen. Again this should be no hassle to a good seller.

9. Always Buy From Sellers With A Transparent Returns Policy

So the watch you’re looking at appears to tick all the right boxes, looks good in the images and does everything, right? That still doesn’t mean you’ll actually like wearing it and if you aren’t happy with what you’ve purchased, then having a good returns policy is paramount.
Nearly all sellers should offer a no quibble, and easy to understand 30-day money back returns policy. Keep in mind, however, that not all will keep to that, so just be careful and read the fine print. If the seller has a solid reputation, then if anything is wrong, whether mechanical or cosmetic, they should understand and will likely offer a full refund or an exchange for the same watch or something in a similar price bracket.

So, there you have it, some top tips and great advice to look through when buying your next used luxury Vacheron or the likes. Of course, buying experiences vary from place to place and seller to seller, 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.


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