Buying Guide

Online Watch Shopping While the Confinement Lasts – Part 2

Retailers with e-commerce, brand's own webshops, CPO and more.

calendar | ic_dehaze_black_24px By Frank Geelen | ic_query_builder_black_24px 5 min read |

A few days ago we gave a big shout-out to some of our friends who also run online watch magazines. However, the online world for watch shopping offers much more choice! Now that you’re (most likely) in confinement – hopefully well and healthy – you can still buy watches and have them delivered to your door. Besides the friends that we already mentioned in the previous article, it can also be helpful to have a look at webshops of retailers and brands who have embraced e-commerce. If you prefer pre-owned watches, you can shop online for second-hand and vintage watches from many sources and some places even offer certified pre-owned watches. Here’s an overview of the sources that we as watch collectors use ourselves. 

Porsche Design 1919 Chronotimer Flyback Blue and Leather

Strolling in the shopping streets, looking at the display windows, or even drooling in front of that one watch displayed in the store window, is not going to happen for the foreseeable weeks or even months. You will have to settle for doing this virtually! There’s an abundance of beautiful watches to see and discuss online; reading online magazines (MONOCHROME, of course), swiping through the Instagram feed or discussing watches in your favourite Facebook group.  And nowadays, online shopping for watches is pretty easy and safe, as long as the post and couriers are still delivering.

Shopping for new watches

I recommend visiting the webshop of your local retailer, at least if they offer e-commerce. Otherwise, there are plenty of good and trustworthy retailers with a webshop that you can turn to. We, from team MONOCHROME, are located in Europe. Lovely divided Europe, with many different countries, different languages, even different currencies and different rules for every country. Oh boy, what a joy!

For us as consumers, this is just very confusing. Take for instance Bucherer, one of the biggest watch retailers Worldwide, that does offer e-commerce. But not in every country, so whether you can buy in their e-boutique or not depends on where you live. The same goes for Ace Jewelers and Schaap & Citroen, both retailers from Amsterdam, but I know they have an active email and phone service for assistance.

Another option for buying new watches are the webshops of the watch brands themselves. As you might have guessed, here you will come across the same problem. E-commerce can be activated in one country, while it’s not activated in the next. Luckily most brands offering e-commerce also have a concierge service to assist no matter if e-commerce is activated in your country or not.

CPO – ‘Certified Pre-Owned’

Pre-owned watches are another option and within the ‘used watches’ segment, there’s a lot on offer; ranging rom the murky and vague online shops to the most prestigious retailers and even brands who offer Certified Pre-Owned, or short CPO.

As H. Moser & Cie puts it on their website: “While pre-owned timepieces from other sites may look tempting, they are not covered by a 24-month manufacture warranty. H. Moser & Cie. does not guarantee the source, authenticity nor the working order of pre-owned timepieces ordered elsewhere.”

CPO directly from a brand is as close to buying a new watch from the brand as possible, but now for a (probably) more attractive price. URWERK is one of the few brands offering CPO, but recently also MB&F and H. Moser & Cie. opened their online Certified Pre-Owned webshops. There are a few AP boutiques offering CPO, but online at the Audemars Piguet website this service is not offered. At this point, I’m not aware of any other brands offering CPO through their website (nor offline), but if you know an established brand offering CPO, then please let us know through the comments below.

Large retailers have the possibility to service watches from many brands allowing them to offer Certified Pre-Owned watches from the brands they can service. Bucherer, for instance, has a large CPO selection available online. Again, your location determines whether the watches are available to you easily or if you have to jump over a few hurdles before you can own that desired watch. When Bucherer started with CPO, we had a talk with Bucherer’s CCO Patrick Graf on CPO and the Bucherer Blue editions (see here for the interview.)

Shopping for used watches

After looking at options to shop for new watches (from retailers or directly from brands) and the most secure way to buy a used watch (CPO), it’s time to have a look at the vast amount of ‘online watch shops’ selling used watches. Let’s immediately say that there’s a huge variety of quality, reliability, and what more. Do yourself a favour and go to the most secure and reliable places! But what are those places?

Online watch shopping is popular and has been growing massively over the past years. I guess most watch enthusiasts already know Chrono24 and use this website, either for searching for the exact watch you want to buy or to get an idea of the current price. Chrono24 is an in-between, they don’t have any own inventory, but through their platform watch dealers, retailers and even watch brands can offer their watches for sale, get in touch with a potential customer and even close a deal. To make things more secure, Chrono24 offers a buyer’s protection.

Other sources, like Watchbox, Chronext, Montredo and Watchfinder offer watches for sale from their own inventory, which is the main difference with Chrono24. But similar to Chrono24, they offer various types of buyer’s protection, making a purchase a secure experience.

Some retailers also offer pre-owned watches, like for instance, Amsterdam based Schaap & Citroen, who always have a pretty nice collection of used watches lined up.

When you have a strong focus on Rolex, BNIB (brand new in box), pre-owned and vintage, then have a look at the list of trusted dealers that Mondani Web. Another source for trusted dealers with a strong focus on Rolex is Rolex Passion Market.

Are there more? Yes for sure, but it’s too much for us to list here and we do not know the reputation of every watch dealer out there on the world wide web. Hence, we try and focus on the trustworthy sources that we know and the platforms offering security in purchasing your next timepiece.

7 responses

  1. For many people it’s not just confinement, it’s confinement *and* loss of income. Time for watch retailers to drop prices or otherwise situation isn’t very promising.

  2. Pour information, Nomos propose des montres “restaurées” sur son site. Il semble s’agir de montres ayant parcouru les salons horlogers et que Nomos propose finalement à la vente après reconditionnement.

  3. Samuel, thanks for adding Nomos to the list of brands with CPO. For next time, please use Google translate instead of commenting in French. Thanks

  4. Desde España, soy coleccionista de relojes automáticos por calibres. Espero que los países de Europa, como Alemania, actúen en apoyo al resto de países de la comunidad, ya que será muy difícil adquirir relojes de esos países que hasta ahora estaba adquiriendo. Lo sentiré por: Nomos, Sinn, Mühle-Glashütte, etc.
    Respecto de los Países Bajos, Formateel son mediocres, ofrecen sw 330, con regulador Mühle-Glashütte pájaro carpintero y entregan Eta 2893-2. Les perdono porque no son relojeros, son simples intermediarios de comercio. Ahora venden relojes y mañana vuelven a vender tulipanes.
    Que tengan suerte.

  5. I have noticed that in the UK a number of online grey market dealers have severely reduced the discounts being offered since the UK Government imposed the lockdown. For example Swiss Watches Direct has gone from offering between 15% and 20% off Longines and Omega to discounts of 5% to 10%. I suppose this is because the dealers they are sourcing from do not want to let stock go too cheaply or they are simply trying to gouge as much profit as possible to keep their business going. Or both.

  6. Nice list of premium brand watch dealers, something for almost everyone there that has a great budget. There’s also lots of reliable vintage dealers out there with great watches for a lot less money. Theose sellers will be crossing their fingers during this troubled time as well.

    I’m a fan of lost Swiss brands that we lost during the quartz crisis. There are more than a few that produced notable models and many have exceptional movements. Research and learning is required, but I think most vintage collectors are information junkies and that’s all part of the attraction.

    I suspect in another week or so we will be seeing more than a few shops offering some sort of deal or discount. In three weeks Americans will start seeing their coronavirus checks from the government, and that money will go a lot further with smaller, lesser known sellers that specialize in the better quality watches from the past in the $1000 and under realm.

    As any good vintage watch dealer states on their website: Know what you are buying, study the pics carefully. Most watches have no recorded or known service history. Your purchase could run for 3 days, 3 months, or three years, but it will need a service at some point. Keep that in mind when purchasing and have a decent understanding of what servicing a watch entails and costs. It’s generally more than you think and can easily double your investment. (Or something to that effect.)

    In the end, supporting anyone in the watch industry is supporting the industry and a good thing.

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