Some general advice on purchasing and collecting.
- If in doubt about a watch, ask before buying or bidding! There are some very helpful and experienced members in the General Discussion and brand specific forums who are willing to assist you, but you need to give them time to see your question and respond. No use saying "the auction ends in 5 minutes - what do you think?"!!
- To avoid impulse purchases, wait a few weeks and see if you still desire it. Most watches are not 1 of a kind, there will usually be another one available shortly. Don't believe the description "rare" in an eBay listing, it's a grossly over-used word.
- "Buy the seller first and the watch second" is an axiom. There are plenty of dubious watches assembled from cannibalized and refurbished parts that are made to trick novice collectors. Do a little homework on the seller. A seller's eBay rating is important to them, so be safe and check out their feedback. If a collector is selling on the forum privately, ask for references from them and see how much they contribute; a member in good standing with plenty of posts will not want to sully their reputation. Sift through their old posts too and see if the specific watch is discussed.
- Always factor in the cost of a service on a pre-owned watch. Few sellers have actually had the watch serviced even though they may say it was.
- Nobody can accurately predict how long the interval between services for a particular watch is. Get to know your new watch's timekeeping habits and when it becomes erratic you should service it before something major breaks. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
- Don't use the quick change date feature between 9 PM and 3 AM. You may damage the mechanism.
- To help you narrow your focus in the vintage market, consider collecting "themes", or perhaps certain brands or specific types of watches, or even from particular decades or eras (eg: manual wind chronographs, WWII military watches, dive watches from the 1970's)
- When buying a new watch it's always advisable to purchase it on a bracelet rather than a strap. It will be much cheaper to add a strap later instead of buying the bracelet down the line.