So you have spotted that watch you really really want on eBay, but you have no idea who the seller is, and you don’t want to part with several thousand pounds / dollars / euros / sheqels just like that…
Buying on eBay can be a dangerous business, as there are lots of Frankenstein watches out there. Any decent seller will agree to walk with you to the nearest dealer, but that sometimes isn’t doable, as the seller is in Uzbekistan, and you live in Namibia.
This is where my “Buy-with-Confidence” service comes in. I have a decent reputation, easily verifiable by reading through forum posts about my work, and by references that I can provide.
You agree with the seller to send the watch to me. Legally, the watch will remain in the possession of the seller until I am advised by the seller, and nobody else but the seller. Once I receive the watch, I inspect it, confirm originality, put it on the timegrapher, and make some nice photos of the watch and movement, so you know exactly what you are buying. I won’t take it apart, but I’ll take the back off, and put the movement under a microscope.
Then it’s over to you and the seller. You agree on a price, and on a method of payment. Once the seller confirms he/she has received the funds, I will ship the watch to the buyer. If the buyer and seller can’t agree, the watch goes back to the seller.
So what are the charges?
Postage is £11 world-wide, and I just pass on the Royal Mail charges for posting. If any party wants a different postal service, that’s no problem either, and I will only pass on the cost. The charge is £40 for the inspection, photos and detailed report. This is usually payable by the buyer, so if the sale falls through, the buyer pays for my fee and postage costs.
Do I have to reserve a service slot of this?
No, this service doesn’t need a booking of a service slot. Contact me (email to firstname.lastname@example.org), and I will contact the other party (buyer or seller), and arrange all the rest. The watch will be kept at my workshop in a safe overnight, and I will do my utmost to make sure it’s safe. But, I can’t assume responsibility in case of theft. Chances of that happening are pretty marginal, though, so I wouldn’t worry about that. Both parties can of course buy their own insurance for the process if they wish to do so.
How long does the process take?
I will inspect the watch within 2 working days of arriving at my workshop, and issue the report with photos to both parties within 3 working days.
The best always comes last!
If you want the watch you bought through this process serviced at my workshop, I will waive the £40 charge, and only charge you the normal service cost!
And of course some caveats…
As I’m only taking the case back off, I can’t see every component of the watch. So if the dial feet are broken and the dial glued on, the bottom plate rusty, etc., I won’t be able to see that. This is an inspection without taking the watch apart, so I can only check what I can see. But what I see on the timegrapher combined with what I can see without taking the movement apart will give you a good idea of the state of the movement.
When it comes to originality, there is only so much that I know, and I can’t know everything about every watch. So I might not spot that a particular dial was never in a particular case, or that the dial was restored, but to a good standard. This is mainly to prevent you from buying a dud watch that has been cobbled together, rather than authenticating every screw and lever.
As you will get a comprehensive set of photos, you can do your own research, and ask around to answer any questions you have about the watch in question.