Luxury watches are popular and valuable, but there are dishonest vendors who market fakes as genuine. You can protect your investment by taking proper precautions. We recommend the following:
- Look for a reasonable offer.
- Compare the product to known genuine items.
- Check markings, serial numbers, and other details.
- Buy only from a reputable source.
- Protect yourself during the purchase.
- Buy only if the watch comes with the original manufacturer’s materials.
- Check the watch carefully when it arrives.
Look for a reasonable offer. A little research will tell you if a deal is too good to be true. Is the price withd discounts, but real watches still have a price range that is predictable. If a watch looks like a real steal it may not be you who isstealing. (http://www.chrono24.com/ is a great site to manually compare)
Compare the product to known genuine items. Many fakes come from sources that use fake internal parts and then mark them with a variety of brand names. Unfamiliar buyers may be fooled, but even these watches will not match the legitimate items.
Here are some links to popular brands where you can see trustworthy images for comparison:
Audemars Piguet Breitling Cartier Longines Michael Kors Movado Omega Raymond Weil Tag Heuer Tissot Ulysse Nardin Zenith
Check markings, serial numbers, and other details. Makers of fakes often fail to get the details correct. The number may not match the manufacturer’s standard method.
Check The Serial Numbers Thoroughly
Water-resistance ratings and markings may not match up to the genuine watch markings. Even something such as text on into place and is not genuine.
retouched watch dials? (photo courtesy of http://www.watchuseek.com)
Check the appearance of the crown, buttons, and the watch face to be sure they match exactly to the image available from the manufacturer. It isn’t cheap or easy to copy these details faithfully and fakes don’t come from high-cost manufacturing experts.
Rolex Crowns (Photo courtesy of http://rolexblog.blogspot.co.uk)
Some sources habitually spell things incorrectly, so read everything on the watch carefully. Find out what collectors and ails by visiting trustworthy blogs and forums such as these:
Chronocentric – Fake and Counterfeit Watches – This is an excellent and informative article on how to avoid getting burned when buying a watch.
TimeZone.com – Forums where watch enthusiasts offer expert advice on verifying authenticity and spotting fakes.
Buy only from a reputable source. This may seem obvious, but tales of woe often feature such obvious clues as a seller with little that you can verify through independent third-party ratings. It only takes a few minutes to know if the seller has a good name. Check sources like Amazon, eBay, Price Grabber, and Yahoo listings. If someone bad buys a good business, the reputations over time will change. Be sure to do some general web searches on the seller’s name and website. A couple of bad reviews doesn’t make them scam artists, but plenty of bad press from unhappy customers serves as a warning to others.
Protect yourself during the purchase. Buy from a source that provides a warranty and accepts returns or a refund. Read the policies before you buy and make sure to check the length of time given to return an item and the restocking fee. Know them before your money leaves your hands. Use a traceable and reliable delivery method, and know how they handle loss or damage. You don’t want to join the line at the local post office to fill out a claim form, then waiting weeks while they do research. Have the watch delivered to you with a signature required not allowing it to be dropped at your residence while you are at work.
Warranty and Refund
Check the watch carefully when it arrives. Make sure the packaging and documents match the seller’s or manufacturer’s authentic materials and that you got it all. Resist tearing everything off and trying it on until you have made sure things are right. Look the watch over carefully for any imperfections. If you are unsure bring the watch to an expert professional to be sized properly.
Cover image by @fakewatchbusta
As the sands of time slip by, one place in the capital exudes elegance and sophistication beyond its years. Burlington Arcade in the heart of London town stretches back to the Victorian period. Opened in 1819, it runs through both Piccadilly and Bond Street.
Shoes by Thomas Lyte and Pickett not to mention Penhaligon’s and the House of Cashmere, this exclusive Aladdin’s cave of items will satisfy even the most discerning client.
However, Burlington Arcade is also the location where you will find an array of stunning timepieces dotting the runway of exquisite craftsmanship and innovation.
As vintage as the Great Gatsby, why not explore one of Britain’s first shopping arcades and take a look at some of the incredible antique watches adorning some of the windows.
So what lies in store? The Vintage Watch Company is one not to miss on your horological adventure. It is home to the biggest collection of vintage Rolex pieces in the world. Be inspired by more than 800 individual models that date back as far as the beginning of the 20th Century.
Time, as they say, is certainly precious and you can expect to pay upwards of £2,800 as a starting point! With each watch being carefully restored in house by their own Rolex experts, it is a price worthy of its engineering prowess.
All this watch appreciation is thirsty work. If you have some time of your own then don’t miss out on the magnificent Ladurée tearoom which offers a range of the most delicate macaroons you may ever sample.
This is aside from the variety of delicate viennoiseries, patisseries and tea blends that will ensure you keep a steady pace.
Feeling refreshed? Then take a stroll to Somlo Antiques which can be found at Number 35-36. Operating since the turn of the 1970s, it is considered to be one of the leading sites when it comes to not only vintage watches but stunning antique pocket watches.
It is also the place to find several vintage Omega pieces – a real feast for the eyes! Meanwhile, a hop and a skip away lies David Duggan. Situated at number 62-63 Burlington Arcade, this is one of the standout stores across this runway of retail therapy.
Inside you will have the chance to admire an exclusive range of incredible timepieces. This includes the likes of numerous watches across several brands such as Audemars Piguet as well as Breguet and Panerai.
Finally to round off your session, check out Armour Winston. This is definitely a family affair as he has a background with watches that stretches back three generations.
He has been in Burlington Arcade for the best part of half a century and has seen a few superb pieces in his time. Yet his speciality is on vintage watches that take in a range of luxury brands from Patek Philippe to Cartier. Beauty, as they say, is the eye of the beholder.
Burlington Arcade is easily accessible from either Green Park or Piccadilly Circus tube stations and is located opposite the prestigious Royal Academy.
Which watch will you want? Now say that ten times.
Caring for Your Timepiece
Precision timepieces are designed and built for durability and accuracy. However, there are limits to what a new watch can endure, and as with everything, time and wear take their toll on even the finest timepiece.
Temperature extremes may damage your watch or affect performance. Saunas, hot tubs, and even the dashboard of a car are too hot for most timepieces. The transition between very warm and very cold temperatures can cause damage and is to be avoided. Exposure to extreme cold may cause erratic timekeeping until the watch has reached normal operating temperature.
Nearly all mechanical timepieces are resistant to impact and are suitable for wear during mild sporting activities such as tennis or golf. However, the shock of impact against a hard surface could damage the mechanism, even if the watch is equipped with anti-shock devices.
Avoid exposing your timepiece to harsh chemicals, gases, or solvents. Hair sprays, cosmetics, perfumes, chlorine, adhesives, gasoline, paint, nail polish remover, and household cleaning chemicals can damage the finish of the case and bracelet, damage leather or rubber bands, or even work their way into the watch and damage the mechanism.
Exposure to strong magnetic fields or electronics that emit static electricity may disrupt your timepiece’s operation. Avoid close or continuous proximity to such devices as microwave ovens, televisions, computer monitors, speakers, and mobile phones. Magnetic coin trays or bracelets are also potential sources of trouble. In general, momentary contact is not harmful, but extended contact is to be avoided.
Keeping your watch water-tight is a number one priority. Even a diving watch can develop serious problems if the water tightness is compromised. Only allow qualified experts to service your timepiece. Even changing a battery should always be done by a professional equipped to test for water-tightness. If your watch is serviced and not tested for water-tightness treat it as not water-resistant until it is tested. Adjust the date or time only when the watch is dry to avoid introducing moisture within the timepiece.
Handle the crown gently, but make sure to close it securely after making adjustments. If your timepiece has a screw-type crown be sure to engage the threads properly and close the crown until it is fully closed. Do not force the crown if you feel resistance. Open it and carefully engage the threads before attempting to close it fully. Stop when the corn is fully closed and tight, but avoid using excessive force which could cause damage.
Setting Time and Date
Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions when setting the time or date on your timepiece. Improper operation can make your watch inaccurate or even cause permanent damage to the mechanism. As mentioned above, never operate the pushes, buttons, or crown if your watch is wet. If your watch has a screw-type crown, be sure to unscrew it before attempting to set the time or date, and to screw it closed securely after making changes to the settings.
Operate the crown gently when switching positions and rotating it to change settings. While durable, the crown and connected parts require careful handling to avoid damage. The date on some watches cannot be set when the display is between certain hours, as this can damage the date mechanism. Check your manufacturer’s instructions carefully to avoid damaging the watch during the date/time setting.
Check the AM/PM time setting before setting the date to avoid having the date change at noon instead of midnight.
If your timepiece has a quick date feature use it only to reach the date prior to the desired date. Then switch to the regular date setting mode and advance the hour until the date reaches the desired date.
A watch worn daily should be allowed to wind down completely before being wound. Watches worn only occasionally should be wound on the same day each week for best performance. Never wind a watch while worn on the wrist as this can cause damage to the stem.
Manual winding watches use this method:
Grasp the winding stem between thumb and forefinger and gently pull the stem out and away from the watch to engage the winding mechanism.
Rotate the stem forward (towards the 12 on a wristwatch or towards the 9 on a pocket watch) and backward between the thumb and forefinger. Alternately, hold the stem still and rotate the watch body to cause the forward and backward motion of the stem.
Do not exceed a full rotation of the stem on a single motion.
Wind until the turning becomes hard, then stop. Be sure to wind the watch until you feel resistance.
Rotate the stem backward several times to relieve tension within the mechanism, especially in older watches.
Push the stem in towards the center of the watch to lock the winding mechanism in position.
Automatic winding watches are wound continuously by the natural movement of the wearer’s wrist.
However, they can stop if unworn. Generally, all that is needed to put the watch on and wear it until the normal wrist movement restarts and winds the watch. Some automatic timepieces can also be wound manually, but others cannot. Consult the manufacturer’s documents for your timepiece to determine if the manual winding is possible, and for the correct method if it is possible. It is best to keep a watch wound and avoid having it stop and be restarted, especially if there are a date or other functions which must then be reset. An automatic watch winder is a good investment for a fine automatic timepiece.
Remove smudges and fingerprints from the crystal, case, and metal bracelet with a soft, clean cloth. The type of cloth used for cleaning camera lenses or spectacles is appropriate. Never use a tissue, other paper products, or clothing material, as these can introduce scratches on the crystal.
Use the cloth gently and avoid pressing hard on the timepiece surface. Dirt or grit caught between the cleaning cloth and the surface can cause significant damage.
If your watch is water resistant and less than 1 year old or has had water-resistance certified by a qualified professional in the past year it is safe to use a soft brush and slightly soapy water to clean the metal parts and crystal. Be sure the crown is in place before beginning the cleaning and rinse the watch with clear water, and then dry it with a soft cloth.
Leather or other animal skin, fabric, or other natural material bands should not be cleaned with water as this may damage or discolor them. Normal wear will cause gradual changes that are to be expected and cannot be avoided. Wipe perspiration or other moisture from the band to preserve the appearance as long as possible.
Timepieces should be stored without contact with each other or other items, such as jewelry. It is best to keep the watch in the original box or a case designed for storing multiple timepieces in separate compartments. Automatic watches are best stored in a watch winding device to keep them wound and operating.
Keep watches in a location that avoids extremes of temperature and humidity, out of direct sunlight and never in the bathroom where moisture can cause damage. A closet or drawer is a good choice. Cigar humidors have been suggested as good for control of humidity and protection from light.
Very valuable watches, such as heirloom timepieces or those with precious stones should be kept in a secure location such as a safe, but always protected from impact and temperature/humidity extremes. Fire safes are not suitable for watches, as they promote moisture buildup. Even standard safes may require dehumidifying to protect the timepiece mechanism.
A gentleman’s stainless steel automatic Rolex Oyster Perpetual Comex Sea-Dweller wrist watch circa 1979 (issued to Comex in 1981, reference 2236). The black dial with luminous hourly markers and hands, date aperture to the three o’clock position, with a black bi-directional bezel, round case fitted with Oyster bracelet with flip lock clasp, reference 93150, case model 1665, serial number 6193253, movement calibre 1570 – numbered D121247. Case diameter 39mm.
What makes the COMEX unique and collectable is its story. And this is a story about conviction and devotion. In a time when the Russians and Americans were competing to reach the moon, a Frenchman by the name of Henri Delauze realized there was another frontier just as hostile and difficult to master, despite being only a step away from earth’s shores: the Oceans and the bottom of the World.
Photo courtesy of Fellows Auction House
Henri embarked on the mission “To boldly go where no man has gone before” and in 1961, in the legendary port of Marseilles, he founded the “Compagnie Maritime d’Expertises” or COMEX as we have come to know it. Like a modern Phileas Fogg in true Jules Verne spirit, COMEX set out with the ambition to explore the depths of the world. With this came the complications of the increasing atmospheric pressure exerted at increasing depths. COMEX developed and made some ground-breaking advances in the field of deep-sea nautical exploration and it become evident that accuracy and timing were crucial factors in staying alive.
Due to helium causing explosive decompression by entering a watch, timing was under threat. To find a solution, COMEX initiated a collaborative partnership with Rolex who embraced the challenge and came up with the HEV – Helium Escape Valve. Fitted on a Rolex 5513, it solved the immediate problems; but because it had not been made in stainless steel, oxidation gave the early prototypes a short life span. Room for improvement was needed and in 1972 Rolex launched the 5514, fitted with an escape valve made of stainless steel. The blueprint for the forthcoming Sea Dweller was made and Rolex had conquered the depths.
This is a story of the successful collaboration of a mission and a brand to solve a key problem – to go further, deeper and where no man has gone before. Added to the uniqueness and rarity of this true historic timekeeper comes the fact that a COMEX marked watch was never sold at any authorised dealership. It was awarded to the brave men of COMEX or officials who made the COMEX dream possible.
This is the beauty of vintage, and if you are looking for value and a sound investment look no further.
Since the foundation of their eponymous company in 1854, in the town of Glashütte, the Lange family has always pursued precision and perfection, having developed their own grading system under which only the very best products were awarded the “1A” designation. The brand ceased to exist under Red Russia, having had its assets and properties expropriated in 1948; the Lange legacy was left to live in the shadows of the east.
Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour le Mérite”
In 1994 Walter, the great-grandson of founder Ferdinand Lange, with help from the watch community in Switzerland, picked up the legacy and relaunched the brand and its ideals; the new company started under the name A.Lange & Söhne.
Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour le Mérite”
Now with the 2011 launch of their fourth watch honoured with the “Pour le Mérite” nomination, Lange has produced a wristwatch which pushes the boundaries of precision – equipped with Lange’s signature fusee-and-chain transmission accompanied with a tourbillon and adding to the complication a patented stop-second mechanism. The stability and precision of the Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour le Mérite” is impeccable, and the dial communicates a unique approach to that horological invention, producing a well-balanced trinity between the time differentials and giving a glimmer to the observer of the technical perfection hidden beneath the rhodium-plated solid silver dial. As you can see on the pictures, there is a cutaway at the subsidiary seconds’ sub-dial, which is located between 7 and 8 o’clock and overlaps the hours’ display standing between 4 and 5 o’clock. When the hour hand goes past 6 o’clock, there instantly appears a pivoting segment of the sub-dial with VIII, IX and X numerals printed on it. The segment stays in its place until the hour hand reaches the 12 o’clock position and then disappears again in a blink of the eye.
This “Made In Germany” manual-wind movement is on our 2011 Must-Have list.
Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour le Mérite”
Richard Lange Tourbillon “Pour le Mérite”
Photos © A.Lange & Söhne