10 Biggest Mistakes People Make When Buying a Luxury Watch


Whether you’re buying a luxury watch for the first time or adding a new piece to your growing collection, you no doubt want to put your money into something worthwhile.

Fine timepieces are an investment, but they’re also designed to last, so the right purchase will not only be something that works for you now, but can be passed down as an heirloom or resold if your tastes change later.

Before you make your next purchase, make a quick run through the ten items listed below to ensure the luxury watch you’re buying now will still make you happy tomorrow.

1. Caving to Pressure

Particularly when you first start collecting, everyone will be giving you their take on which timepiece is best for you.

Advice from seasoned enthusiasts can be helpful, but you’re ultimately the one who will be wearing the timepiece, so the final decision should be yours alone.

Don’t let anyone push you toward a specific piece.

Some of the biggest trends in watchmaking right now are vintage-inspired pieces and specialty materials.

If you’re out looking right now, chances are you’ll catch some of this hype, but think it through.

For example, carbon fiber is huge right now. It’s easy to jump on the bandwagon with it because you know it’s highly sought-after, but there’s a real chance it’s not for you.

Consider why the material is popular. Carbon fiber is incredibly durable and lightweight, so it could be your top pick if you live an active lifestyle and have the extra cash to spare, but if you’re looking for an everyday watch for the office, it might be an unnecessary expense.

Moreover, watchmaking trends change rapidly. What’s popular right here and now might not be tomorrow. It’s important to select a piece that resonates with you, so you’ll be able to enjoy it for years to come.

3. Buying a Watch That Does Not Fit Your Lifestyle

We touched on this a bit earlier with the carbon fiber in terms of the potential for over-buying, but under-buying is arguably the more common issue.

Spend some time considering what activities you’ll wear the timepiece during and make sure the piece is built to suit your lifestyle.

  • Shock-resistance/ durability
  • Anti-magnetism
  • Water-resistance
  • High-contrast dials
  • Chronograph functions

The style of the piece is important too. For example, your Rolex may be a good everyday piece, but how will it look in the boardroom?

Conversely, will your Panerai be at home on your wrist during a backyard barbeque with your neighbors? Only you can answer these questions.

4. Going Too Large or Too Small

Case sizes run the gamut and it can be difficult to know which size fits your wrist best unless you’ve experimented with various ones.

The average man’s wrist is about 7.25 inches, which would make a piece in the 43 millimeter to 44 millimeter range ideal, but you may be able to go a bit smaller or larger depending on your wrist size and the design of the watch.

Credit: Miami Watches

5. Overlooking the Band

In all fairness, the band is probably the last thing you’ll look at. The brand, quality, functions, dial, and overall aesthetics will likely all come first, but the band should still be a consideration.

Take into account the piece, itself, and your lifestyle when examining bands. Rubber and nylon are included as options on some luxury watches.

They’re good choices if you need something lightweight or sporty, while leather gives the vintage look and is lightweight as well. Metal can weigh down the wrist, but it’s also very durable and classic.

6. Spending Too Much Money on a Brand-New Luxury Watch When You Can Buy a Used Watch for Much Less

Fine timepieces are designed to last generations. This means that with proper care, they’re the ideal heirloom to pass to your son or will remain in top condition for resale later. As a luxury watch buyer, you can also tap into that quality to save some serious cash. The resale market is huge and often enables you to pick up a like-new piece for a fraction of the cost it would be had you purchased it new.

7. Buying a Luxury Watch as an Investment Because Someone Told You To

Financial coach and radio host Dave Ramsey recently spoke on-air about a friend of his who contacted him for advice on a luxury watch.

The friend was in a financial position to treat himself, but felt guilty after making the purchase. Ramsey’s advice was succinct.

He essentially said that if the man could afford to drop the watch off a bridge tomorrow and his life wouldn’t be impacted by the loss, he should feel no guilt about making the purchase.

This hits home the importance of having the right mindset when buying luxury watches.

A great many hold their value and some increase in value, but there are no guarantees.

Seasoned collectors can make educated guesses as to what will rise in value or which piece can be flipped for profit, but they’re still guesses.

The market will do what the market will do. It’s important to purchase because you appreciate the piece, not because you expect it to make you money.

Sure, it will sting a bit if your vintage Patek Philippe falls off a bridge (ok, it will more than sting), but if your lifestyle and livelihood aren’t going to change over the loss, then go ahead and move forward.

8. Not Wearing the Watch You Buy

No doubt, you’re buying a luxury watch to wear it, but all too often, these beautiful pieces collect dust instead. For some, it’s because they’re afraid it will get lost or stolen.

(Remember the bridge reference?) For others, there’s concern over appearing too flashy. (See #3.) For seasoned collectors, it tends to be more an issue of deciding which one from the collection to wear.

We all have our favorites. If the latter becomes a concern, it may well be time to consider selling your watch, so someone else has the chance to enjoy it like you once did.

9. Buying Watches on Impulse

We’ve all had that moment while casually browsing in which a piece called to us. Maybe it’s the design, the rarity, or a really great price, but whatever it is, the watch beckons.

The problem is, making a big purchase such as this quickly can lead to a ton of other issues, such as buyer’s remorse.

Moving too fast with a purchase can also make you more vulnerable to scams or picking up a counterfeit piece.

Many people suggest holding off on a major purchase for three days to give yourself the opportunity to sleep on it and think things through.

It also gives you time to research the seller and the piece, to make sure you’re getting it for a fair price and that everything is on the up-and-up.

To be clear, this is different from going out with the intention to purchase a luxury watch.

If you’re mindfully shopping with cash in hand, then go ahead and dive in when you find the one you want.

10. Assuming the Watch’s Price is Representative of its Quality

Some watchmakers spare no expense when it comes to developing the best materials, crafting the finest movements, and designing a flawless piece.

For obvious reasons, their pieces command higher prices. That said, not all watchmakers invest in the development process, and some of them still charge premium prices.

The inverse is true as well. Supply and demand will impact pricing too. If, for example, there’s an economic downturn, fewer people will be in the market for new pieces, which will drive prices lower.

Moreover, the most recent economic downturn led some watchmakers to create stripped-down entry-level watches. They may bear the watchmaker’s name and be authentic, but make no mistake, they’re not like the original line.

Yet, because the watchmaker’s name holds prestige, these pieces still come with premium prices. You’d likely be far better off putting your money into a preowned model from the original line than paying for the name.

In other words, don’t shop by price alone. Find a brand with a strong reputation and a heritage which resonates with you.

From there, choose a timepiece you, personally, prefer, and which is in your range. In following this process, you’ll avoid most of the common mistakes naturally.

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