New or pre-owned watch: Which should I buy?

First published: 22-08-2018

Louis Erard watch

Watch: Louis Erard watch (RRP £1,495)

Buying a watch is a personal journey - you need to find a style that suits your taste and a model that has all the features you need. Luckily, there are millions of watches available and fresh ranges being released every day, so you're guaranteed to find a timepiece that meets all of your requirements.

These endless possibilities can make the watch buying experience feel a little overwhelming. One of the questions you'll need to ask yourself is whether you should be shopping for a new or used watch.

Learning the benefits and drawbacks of buying new and used watches will help you decide which route to go down.

The benefits of buying a new watch

Beyond that thrilling feeling of opening the box to reveal a clean and shiny timepiece, there are many advantages to buying a new watch:

Spoilt for choice

Jean Paul Gaultier Bad Girl ladies' watch

Watch: Jean Paul Gaultier Bad Girl ladies' watch (RRP £159)

Brands are constantly releasing new collections and producing proven favourites, so the new watch market is always full of fresh options. You can find everything from designs with an ultra-modern finish to vintage-inspired pieces that have an antique look.

And it's not just the watch models that are diverse - you often have a choice of colour and finish, so you can find a style that truly suits your taste. If you like keeping up with this season's styles and colours, there's simply no better choice than browsing new watches.

High-tech features

Emporio Armani Connected Watch

Watch: Emporio Armani Connected Watch (RRP £389)

The watch world is always speeding forwards in terms of finding technology that can be integrated into your timepiece. You can now buy a smart watch that will monitor your fitness activity, notify you when you get a text message, and play your favourite tunes through Bluetooth headphones - and look great while doing it.

Even if you're not looking for an ultra-techy piece, newer watches are often built to operate better - they tend to be more accurate and robust, with better waterproofing and stronger battery power than older models.

Peace of mind

Nine West Watch

Watch: Nine West Watch (RRP £55)

When buying a new watch from a trusted retailer, you can rest easy knowing you have support if something isn't right. For example, at Watch Shop we have a 30-day free returns policy, just in case you change your mind and decide it's not the right piece for you. Our watches also come with the full international manufacturer's guarantee and the official distributor stamp, so you'll get a full refund if your watch breaks due to a construction fault.

We also only sell 100% genuine pieces, so there's no risk of ending up with a knock-off or second-hand piece. Free bracelet adjustment and complimentary shipping are also perks that you can take advantage of when buying a new watch through Watch Shop.

Buying a used Watch: Pros and cons

The used watch market is a completely different world, which means there are a few more things to consider when thinking about buying a second-hand timepiece:

Condition and quality

Men's Frederique Constant Classic Index watch

Watch: Men's Frederique Constant Classic Index watch (RRP £710)

When buying a new watch, you're guaranteed to receive it in prime condition. This isn't the case with second-hand watches which, by definition, have been used previously and will often show signs of wear and tear.

It doesn't necessarily mean second-hand watches are always in bad condition - many people take great care of their wristwatches before they end up on the used market. However, it's important to carry out a detailed check over a used watch and look for scratches, tears, or mechanical faults, to ensure you're willing to accept any flaws.

Authenticity and security of purchase

Versace Palazzo Empire Bangle watch

Watch: Versace Palazzo Empire Bangle watch (RRP £1,190)

A trusted retailer like Watch Shop only sells stock straight from the manufacturer, so you know that the watch you're buying is legitimate (and you'll receive the box and paperwork to prove it!). Buying a used watch works differently - you can purchase a second-hand watch directly from the person who owns it, or through a retailer who deals in used merchandise.

Either way, it can be difficult to establish a timepiece's authenticity, as it won't always come with its original box or paperwork. If the documentation is missing, do your research to verify the watch is genuine. The price should also be a bit lower, to reflect the fact that basic proof isn't included.

Used purchases can also come with a financial risk. If the watch turns out to be faulty and you want to return it, there's a chance you might not be able to get your money back. Some second-hand retailers will offer a warranty, but it's not always available as standard.

In short, make sure to do your research beforehand to check that the dealer is reputable and trustworthy when buying a second-hand timepiece.

So, which option is right for me?

Men's Junkers G38 Chronograph

Watch: Men's Junkers G38 Chronograph (RRP £269)

The truth is that choosing a watch is largely about what feels right to you - some people like the romance of a pre-owned item despite the potential risk involved.

For those who want peace of mind, along with the satisfaction of tearing open the packaging to reveal something brand new that's completely yours, there are endless new watches just waiting to fit onto your wrist.

Get the best of both worlds with a vintage-inspired piece, or browse the latest releases to get ahead of the game.

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