Top questions to ask when buying a luxury watch

Once you've made the decision to buy a luxury watch, there are lots of questions you need to pose before becoming the proud owner of a high-end timepiece. In order to pick the best watch for your needs, it's important to ask both yourself and the retailer relevant questions so that you're suitably informed. Here are the top questions that every buyer of a luxury watch should ask.

Questions to ask yourself

Before you start watch shopping, narrow your options down by asking yourself relevant questions. This means you can be more focused in your search, and will ensure that you don't come away with the wrong choice of watch.

What's your budget?

One of the most important questions to ask yourself is how much money you've got to spend. Ultimately, your budget will dictate the options available to you.

What's your motive for buying a luxury watch?

Luxury watches vary significantly, so ask yourself why you want such a watch and what you want to use it for. Is it solely as an investment, or do you want to show it off at every opportunity? Are you looking for one with lots of features and functions, or for a specific activity?

Do you want a new or second hand watch?

Whether you want a new or second hand watch can influence the options open to you and where you buy it. A second hand luxury watch that has been carefully looked after can be as good an investment as a brand new one, so don't dismiss pre-loved options.

Have you got any specific brands in mind?

With lots of options, decide how important brand name is for you. Perhaps you're building up a collection of Rolex watches, or you've had a Patek Philippe before and want to stick to a brand you're familiar with, or maybe other factors are more important than the brand name?

Where should you buy the watch?

Some people are happy purchasing a watch online, whilst others prefer to try the watch on before they buy it. Whatever your preference, always choose a knowledgeable, impartial and reputable retailer, such as Albone.

Questions to ask the retailer

When you're spending good money on a watch, it makes sense to tap into the knowledge of the retailer and find out as much as you can. If a retailer isn't able to answer your questions, then find one that can.

How does the watch work?

Don't feel embarrassed by asking how a watch works - it's probably one of the most important questions to ask! Luxury timepieces have complex components and many have a lot more features than just telling the time. As well as calendars, chronographs, tachymeter and date display, a watch can take some time to get to know, so if you have a particular watch in mind, the retailer should be equipped to talk you through its workings. It's certainly imperative to ask if a watch has a particular feature or function, if there is something that's important to your decision making.

What movement does the watch have?

When you're buying a luxury watch, knowing the type of movement it has should be your top priority. The movement powers the watch, so will influence its precision and accuracy. The movement of a watch will impact on your budget, but it can also influence general maintenance.

When was the watch released?

The release date of a watch can influence its value, so it's a question that every would-be luxury watch owner shouldn't ignore. Don't just take the retailer's word for it - ask to see the paperwork to check for yourself, just to be certain. Generally, the newer the watch, the more expensive it will be, but some rare, vintage watches that are decades old can also command high prices.

What is the ownership history of the watch?

You wouldn't buy a second hand car without finding out how many previous owners it has had, so you have every right to ask about the ownership history of a luxury watch. If it has had many owners, it might indicate that the watch has had a lot of use, although your best way to clarify this is by checking to see whether the watch looks in good condition. When delving into the watch's background, ask if all the parts are originals or if any have been replaced. If modifications have been made to a watch, this could affect its investment value. In some cases, making changes to a watch may void its warranty, and a manufacturer may even refuse to service it.

What does it cost to service the watch?

As well as asking the price of a watch, find out how much it costs to get it serviced and how regularly this needs to be done. Generally, watches will need a professional service every few years, but this can vary between make and model. Servicing can be expensive for high-end watches, so it's crucial that you factor this into your budget.

Is the watch an investment?

If you're buying a watch for investment purposes, find out whether the brand you're considering tends to hold its value well, or whether it will begin to depreciate as soon as you leave the store. A knowledgeable retailer should be able to give you a rough indication, but, generally, brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe and Cartier are safe bets.

What other alternatives are there?

Unless you know everything there is to know about bespoke watches, you might be solely relying on the information the retailer gives you about a particular timepiece. When you're making such a big purchase, it's always worth knowing what alternative options are available to you in the same category or genre. This could even introduce you to a better alternative that you didn't know existed or you might not have considered before. Either way, it can help you to see what you get for your money.