Buying timepeices

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  • #48534
    willofiam
    Moderator
    • Topics Started: 75
    • Total Posts: 1437

    I have been thinking (oh boy here we go again 🙄 ) after reading the thread
    “Bunn special timing regulation” and Micheal decided to send his pocket watch back because he felt miss-led. I want to bring up a overlooked yet important subject which I myself definitely need improvement on. buying a timepiece and not ending up miss-led or ripped off. With my limited experience I am hoping someone with more knowledge can interject ideas on this. Well, I bought a used car last month, the guy lived 500 miles away but thru pictures it was looking like the one I wanted. I thought I had asked all the right questions, like what kind of maintenance has been done, does it need anything, are the tires round or square, ect… ect…He told me things like “I went thru the front end, I put new air shocks on the back, the interior is in mint condition, ect… ect…It sounded perfect!!!! After a dozen phone calls, him sending me videos and more pictures we came to a price and I was sure this was a great deal….I decided to fly out there and buy the car… o.k. this was the first time I ever put myself in that position, I was 500 miles away with no return plane ticket trusting someones perception of quality or maintenance standards, Hey, he was a nice fellow and I dont think he was outright lying to me but when he said he went thru the front end I STILL SHOULD HAVE ASKED ONE MORE QUESTION, = “what does that mean???” could he have meant he greased the ball joints? replace any parts?, or just stuck his hand thru the components? when he said there were new air shocks did that mean new from the junkyard? I was stuck and felt miss-led. I did buy the car and have had to do many things to get it up to snuff according to my standards. and thats is the story, his standards were different than mine, the interior may be perfect in his eyes, but I am a perfectionist and when I imagine a perfect interior it is showroom, off the assembly line perfect. As a horologist or at least one in training I have bought and paid for clocks that I was so excited about that I overlooked some obvious points that have left me feeling mis-led, but it is my own fault and my limited knowledge that gets me there AND either not asking questions or asking the wrong questions. I think first of all homework is essential, but not just knowing possible value and overall appearance BUT to get in close and see all the little differences :geek: that make a knockoff different from an original. maybe the style of a pendulum bob, style of hands, or whatever. I bought a cast iron clock and when I got it home I realized the applied decoration was different, in the past someone must have broke a piece off and to make it look symmetrical they filed off the other side to match, WOW, thats a lot to know about!!!! but as I told a friend of mine (I do have a couple of friends), next time I will look closer and know better ;) , thank God for the learning experience on a cheaper clock. there are people out there ready to deceive and it could cost much more for the knowledge. Micheal, I am not trying to make you feel bad but when you said the guy on ebay said he had the watch cleaned and oiled, it is possible the guy sold you the watch was being honest, if he said it was cleaned and oiled and running perfectly, of coarse it was in his eyes, running perfectly to some may be that it just runs, running perfectly to us means it keeps good time also…I think I am going to start asking this question more often, “what does that mean” could it mean put in the dishwasher, dried with a torch and sprayed with w-d 40, I am being a little silly here but want to get some sort of a point across, dont be afraid to ask the right question!! Its your money!! most importantly possibly soon to be your timepiece!!
    . just like my car, which is NOW running good according to my standards, but only several hundred dollars above the sellers standards. In the end I didnt get ripped off, I have a pretty good car after much work, just like some of the pocket watches I have bought, they will be pretty good pocket watches after I put some work into them but I like to buy them that way. I hope for some response to buying timepieces, there is so much more that can be said I know we could all learn some tricks to the trade and help each other from avoid costly mistakes. have a fantastic day :D , William

    #53164
    arutha
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 85
    • Total Posts: 1536

    I have had some funny experiences buying on e-bay. I bought an Ansonia copy of a french slate clock but with a wooden case. The description said in good condition overall. When the clock turned up the wooden case was riddled with woodworm holes. As you state Will, peoples standards are different and most people when selling something want to get the maximum so are not going to list all the negative points.
    Some of these pocket watches have been around a bit, who knows how many hands they have been through and whats been done to them? In answer to your question I dont think it matters how many questions you ask or how many pictures you get, until that watch or clock is in your hands and you start to dismantle it you will never know what is wrong. I have read on other forums of so many people that have bought used wrist watches that have run great for a couple of weeks and then packed up on them. The other issue is you never have any idea how roughly something has been handled in the postal system. The previous owner of your cast clock may have bought it like that and never realised it had been messed with. Some people just dont look that closely at stuff.
    Unless you are buying from a dealer or repairer that knows their stuff it is all a lucky dip, just bear that in mind next time you make your offer :)

    #53165
    silevitch
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 3
    • Total Posts: 15

    Dear William

    As you indicated I did return the Bunn Special and hope that the refund will be given with no hassles (we’ll see). The experience did give me some idea of the questions to ask but there will always be other questions that I should have asked but didn’t. A key is to look at the return policy of the seller. Many will take back a watch within 14 days no questions asked.

    Michael

    #53166
    mahlon
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 28
    • Total Posts: 215

    Hey Will,
    We have a few rules when buying anything used( after 35 years of dealing in antiques). 1. We never buy anything that we would not put in our home. 2. We always figure on restoring, what ever it is. I believe that human nature dictates that, what ever buiseness your in, we all believe that we are just alittle bit better at what we do than anyone else. 3. we never try to talk the seller down,( we can either afford to buy, and restore the piece, or we can’t). That way if it turns out that we make alot of money on the piece, we do not have to feel guilty of taking advantage of the selling. The seller has no reason to be mad,(he got what he was asking) 😥 . Usually, when you are buying, the piece seems to be in a place where the lighting is poor, or we are always in a bit of a hurry, but the piece somehow looks to good to pass up. Sometimes you get diamonds, sometimes you get coal 😯 There is an old saying in the antique trade, (when you have something to sell it’s junk 😥 but if I have something to sell it is a fine antique 🙄
    Mahlon

    #53167
    steadypin
    Participant
    • Topics Started: 1
    • Total Posts: 13

    Hi William, I pretty much agree with Mahlon you have to know what you are buying and hope to make a profit on the resale. It is difficult to purchase a watch on the internet becuase you don’t have it in your hand to really look it over for problems or if running to hear it tick and see how it acts. I have been lucky on the bay in regard to buying pocket watches/watches. But I think that is because every pocket watch I buy I intend to do a COA and then re-sell it. This way I know it has been serviced and the person purchasing a watch from me is getting an accurate description. I think in a lot of cases people selling on ebay are not trying to be deceitful but rather do not know much about what they are selling (not always) but that is just me thinking. My advice to all is never buy a broken watch from a watch person because it is probably something he could not fix so what makes me/you think we can fix it. These are the words of an old watchmaker (my mentor), I can still to this day see him giving me this lecture. Steadypin.

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willofiamBuying timepeices