New VS. Pre-Owned Watches: Which is best to buy

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With vintage styles dominating the fashion trends of the late 2010’s, the popularity of pre-owned watches has skyrocketed. But buying a pre-owned watch can be a daunting process if you’re not completely clued-up on the watch industry. MJJ are here to explain the pros and cons of new VS. pre-owned watches and provide our top 3 tips for buying pre-owned watches.








The first and probably most instantly-relatable con of buying a pre-owned watch is the very nature of buying pre-owned – You will not be the first person to wear the watch. It will have had a life before you, with adventures and a history of its own. To some, this will be a complete turn off and every mark found on the watch will be a reminder. But to others, this ‘vintage’ aspect will increase the bond between them and their watch. The smell of worn leather along with any scuffs or marks, like battles scars, will work to build its character.



This is definitely not always the case when buying pre-owned, but it is worth noting that vintage watches may need servicing or refurbishing more often than brand new watches. This is just a factor of owning a high-end watch. Like with a new car, if you’re buying a brand new watch, you’re likely to look after it well. But products, by nature, slow with age and use. So, like vintage cars, a vintage watch may need a little more love in some cases.





This is a big pro for those who like to feel that they’re being smart with their money and “sticking it to the man”. It’s common knowledge that when buying a brand new car, its value depreciates the second you drive it out of the showroom. Well, it’s the same for brand new watches. The minute you walk out of a shop, the printed value of your watch will drop. Buying a pre-owned watch is a way of getting around this. In fact, it could even have played a part in why vintage watches have grown in popularity over the past few years, as the inflation on new luxury items has risen significantly.



The nature of buying pre-owned may have been the first con mentioned, but it also works as a pro when considering that buying a vintage watch may allow access to brands or models otherwise outside of your budget. The status of a vintage watch is reflected in its price and pre-owned often means people are able to buy a better brand for a budget price. When, in reality, the watch is only a few years old and still performs and looks fresh.



There’s an addictive buzz experienced only from tracking down and getting hold of a rare watch. The pride felt when slipping a limited edition or collectable watch onto your wrist is unbeatable. The vintage watch market is an open playground for watch collectors and provides endless treasures for those who are willing to search.




If you ask around, you’ll likely find that it boils down to only three common reasons for buying a brand new, straight-out-of-the-box watch:

1: Buying the latest release, or a special edition piece upon its release.

2: The bragging rights that come with a brand new watch. Where you’re able to say that it’s fresh out the box.

3: Having the guarantee of the original manufacturer’s sale and warranty.


The first two points are pretty self-explanatory. If you want the latest watch, or a special edition upon release, you’ll probably need to buy direct from the manufacturer. Similarly, to be able to state that your watch is fresh out-of-the-box and unworn, it’ll need to be bought direct from the original manufacturer. Though this is not always the case, un-worn watches complete with the original box and papers are sold-on fairly often.

The third point speaks mostly to those who don’t know a trusted watch retailer, or how to go about buying a pre-owned watch. To be fair, this is completely understandable. You’re going to be handing over your hard-earned cash and showing off your new watch as a prize. It would be heartbreaking if, for any reason, the watch was not what it was said to be. Whether that be a fake, faulty, overpriced, or just general bad quality. The only way to get around this point is to research and really get to know a watch seller. If a brand holds true to the customer experience, you should be able to discuss this issue with them openly and be reassured regarding the quality of their stock. Most decent watch sellers will also provide their own warranty and watch servicing. When getting to know the brand, you should be able to ask about these services and for proof of any relevant certificates held by their specialists.



If you’re not after a new-release or the bragging rights of a brand new watch, then a pre-owned watch might be for you.

You’ll have access to more brands on a friendlier price range and you’ll not lose money from the initial depreciation. In fact, buying a vintage watch is a good way of protecting yourself from the feared risk of depreciation. You’ll also have access to a far bigger market, holding alot more options for value and including coveted commemorative or rare models.







The pre-owned watch market can be a confusing or tricky place to manoeuvre. Unfortunately, there are some individuals who are only in it for the money and while it’s easy for us to advise our clients not to deal with these individuals, the lure of a “too-good-to-be-true” deal is often too tempting to resist.

As watch lovers, we understand the lure of these deals. But as a company, we are able to recognise the dangers and signs of ingenuine sellers. And, as a brand, we do everything in our power to advise our clients of these warning signs and we source only from reputable individuals or businesses.

The best advice we, or anyone, can give you regarding buying vintage watches is to find a watch retailer who you 100% trust, with 100% transparency, and a focus on client care.

You should have access to support throughout the whole journey; be able to ask as many questions as you need to feel 100% certain of the deal; be able to view, hold and try on the watch before buying (if you want to); and have continued support following a purchase, – all from a single representative of the brand who gets to know you and your individual likes and needs.

Finding the best watch retailer for you, one that’s more like a friendship, will change your whole experience. It will transform buying a watch from a simple shopping treat, to an enjoyable and exciting journey. One that ends with the bonus of a high-end luxury watch.



A second tip for buying vintage watches is that the availability of the original box and papers should not necessarily be a dealbreaker.

Of course, if you’re after a collectible piece with all the trimmings, these might be a high priority for you. But, if you’re after the box and papers for the basis of validating a watch, it’s not always necessary. It’s common for the box and/or papers of a pre-owned watch to have been lost in a house-move, clear out, or for many other reasons. Watch retailers are able to validate watches through quality tests and can even send the watch to the original manufacturer for a definitive guarantee.

You should always feel able to raise and discuss any concerns regarding the validity of a watch with your watch retailer.



The final tip from MJJ for a buying pre-owned watch is to find a watch retailer who provides a brand warranty and is able to service and refurbish your watch.

Buying a vintage watch often means that the warranty from the original manufacturer is outdated. Your watch retailer should provide a brand warranty as a guarantee and for your piece of mind. They should also service the watch before completing the sale and be able to complete any future services and possible refurbishments. This may sound like what should be a common staple of a quality watch retailer, but it is surprising how many companies are not able to offer these additional elements.




Ultimately, there is no right or wrong verdict. It’s all down to your individual preferences. Including what you want from a watch, your subjective value of a watch and what will optimise your enjoyment of your individual journey.



Click here to see MJJ’s range of pre-owned watches or new watches.

Alternatively, if you’d like further advice, give us a free call on 0330 134 3591 (Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm).

Or drop us a message.



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