Forums Latest Auctions Members

Selling of watches that are unserviced

  1. gostang9

    gostang9 Jul 21, 2018

    So I’m new to the vintage watch buying game. I’ve read and followed advice often posted on OF.

    - read and study on OF before buying... check! (I spend more time here than anywhere else)

    - buy from trusted sellers on OF (ie: >200 posts)... check! (I’ve bought most of my watches through OF)

    - best to buy on OF as the community will somehow ‘vet’ the listings... check! (I have reached out and received private feedback)

    - OF is a community of watch enthusiasts, the goal is not be a platform for selling, it’s just a convenient side benefit... check! (I haven’t listed anything here and have no intention of doing so anytime soon)

    - watches should be serviced every 2 to 5 or ‘x’ years regardless of whether they’re running okay... check! (I have dropped a second watch off with a highly respected watchmaker. It’s not cheap but I’m convinced it’s worth it)

    - buy vintage as it’s much better value... check

    So with all of the above, I continue searching for more vintage watches to buy, and I’m surprised how often I read a FS listing where:

    - Seller was not planning to sell the watch
    - Seller has had the watch for many years
    - seller has no service history on the watch and has not had it serviced

    Something doesn’t quite jive in my mind...
    kkt and rcs914 like this.
  2. Steve Essex

    Steve Essex Jul 21, 2018

    Even better is “Not serviced but my watchmaker has looked it over and said it’s okay”. :whistling:
    kkt, watch3s, gostang9 and 8 others like this.
  3. SeanO

    SeanO Jul 21, 2018

    Because just like the schlub on Ebay trying to sell you something, so are they.

    The first phase of watch “collecting” is to buy everything and anything you can get your hands on, call it the Oh shiny” phase.

    After some time you realise that most of this stuff is never going to be worn without being fixed and that you’re not going to fix it.

    Hence the line...
    gostang9, Rowdy, Kmart and 8 others like this.
  4. bigsom

    bigsom Jul 21, 2018

    It's funny to think about, but many people don't actually ever wear or wind their watches. They sit in a box and then come out to be admired or looked at with a loupe. I have watches that I've worn 5 or 6 times in a year and don't know when they were serviced.
    cicindela, Dr_P, lando and 13 others like this.
  5. eugeneandresson

    eugeneandresson Jul 21, 2018

    I have had exactly the same thoughts. My assumptions (which may be totally wrong) are that a lot of people either

    - don't practice what they preach, or
    - do not believe in servicing (school of 'if it tells time all is good'), or
    - do not care about watches (school of 'money money money'), or
    - do not actually buy watches to wear (school of 'investors'), or
    - are so into buying watches (and usually servicing them), but buy at a faster rate then they can service, and the watch goes into a drawer/safe/dark hole, to be forgotten and never worn (school of 'the diseased watch collector'), or
    - they are lying about 'not planning to sell the watch', and perhaps also about XX years of ownership etc. (‘trying to convince’)
    - or are simply 'dealing'.
    - ...
    - ...

    Naturally that excludes folks who buy and are not sure if they actually like a watch, so don't want to spend that cash until they have decided not to sell. They usually say so however, as opposed to 'I wore this watch for XX years and it runs beautifully but I don't know when it was ever serviced as I never did'. I am 'the fool' who buys to wear and services everything before it goes on the wrist because I like my watches and do care ... but admittedly have some that need service (I am the ‘fool diseased collector’)

    The best I have read : some guy trying to flog a watch for top dollar, and his selling line is "This watch has never been serviced, but it has been polished' ... i.e. he did that ... ::facepalm1::::facepalm1::::facepalm1:: ...

    Edit : nowhere near complete, no offense meant if you wear a watch once a year for 10 years and never get it serviced, apologies in advance!
    Edited Jul 21, 2018
    Pun, lando, gostang9 and 6 others like this.
  6. Shabbaz

    Shabbaz Jul 21, 2018

    are so into buying watches (and usually servicing them), but buy at a faster rate then they can service, and the watch goes into a drawer, to be forgotten and never worn (school of 'the diseased watch collector')

    Damn... that's me...
    Pun, Spacefruit, lando and 5 others like this.
  7. ac106

    ac106 Jul 21, 2018


    Some people collect watches as one collects pottery or art. Having 25, 50, 100 or more pieces. They aren’t necessarily purchased to be worn regularly or even if at all. It’s impossible to have them all serviced and unreasonable to expect them to.
  8. Syrte

    Syrte Jul 21, 2018

    Well you won't ever buy one of mine if I sell because half my watches are unserviced, or I don't know their service history.
    And if I sell them I might say "my watchmaker says it's okay" if I've asked him to examine it. (although upon reflection I might refrain from saying such thing).

    Some people send out for service every watch they buy. But not everyone does it.
    If a watch keeps decent time and I know I'm only going to wear it occasionally, I don't get it serviced.
    Even if I plan to keep it long term. Everyone has their priorities.

    Also, the conventional wisdom is, you should not service a watch just prior to selling. It won't add any value to it and might put off purists, because they prefer to know who worked on the watch and keep control over who's going to service it.
    Finally, there's nothing as capricious as motivations and intent when it comes to watches that are essentially not needed, and superfluous objects of style and craft. Whatever plans you might have when you acquire a watch can change in a few months depending on your budget and life priorities.
  9. alam

    alam Jul 21, 2018

    to me, on the other hand, it makes complete sense and the quote below sums it fairly well..

    Kapka, gostang9 and merchandiser like this.
  10. Nathan1967

    Nathan1967 Jul 21, 2018

    She’s spot on you know! :thumbsup:
    Kapka, kkt, gostang9 and 3 others like this.
  11. alam

    alam Jul 21, 2018

    well said!
  12. tyrantlizardrex

    tyrantlizardrex C is NOT for "Lizard". Jul 21, 2018

    I'm of the school of "try to find watches that have been one owner from new, and are not working" school of watch buying.

    All the vintage Omega's I still own - 2 x flightmasters, 1 x speedsonic, and 1 x constellation - have been bought from their original owners (or family members in non-running condition.

    I bought them to wear and enjoy, so they all needed a service.

    Of the 24 vintage/old Omegas that I have owned, and then sold (consulting the spreadsheet) 15 have been bought in non-running condition.

    12 of them got serviced, because I planned to keep them, and then a need for cash, or a change in direction for me as a collector saw them sold.

    3 were bought with the idea of fixing and wearing, and then when it was discovered that to do so would involve spending more than I thought they were worth, I sold them on as spares/non-runners and just about managed to get my money back.

    When it's come to selling:

    The "spares/non-running watches" sold quickly.

    The serviced, with STS warrantied watches all took a little more time - I was trying to get my money back, so in many cases I was asking slightly more than other examples out there - and often the watches were better than other examples on the market ... but a lot of buyers work to the idea that a great XYZ should be the same price as a crappy XYZ they found on the internet.

    In contrast I have a handful of service history unknown vintage Seikos that I'm in no rush to get in front of a watch maker... mostly because a service will be multiples of the value of the watch - if I sold them, I'd be honest about the lack of history, and I suspect that a buyer wouldn't be fussed as long as they worked.

    TL : DR In my view, as long as a seller is honest about what has/hasn't been done - it really doesn't matter.

    I think @Syrte points might be representative of large swathes of watch collecting enthusiasts. :thumbsup:

    And man alive does it cost a lot of money to get these things running when they're broken... but in my case, it's always got me into a good honest example of a reference at much less than it would have cost otherwise.

    Apologies for the brain dump, this made a lot more sense in my head. ::confused2::
    Pun, Rochete, Kmart and 11 others like this.
  13. STANDY

    STANDY schizophrenic pizza orderer and watch collector Jul 21, 2018

    Many also have the service or sell conundrum. ;)
    Pun, Rochete, gostang9 and 4 others like this.
  14. Oku

    Oku Jul 21, 2018

    Nothing to complain about this. If you have a good watchmaker it is!
    I am like @eugeneandresson and get all my watches serviced. But if my watchmaker tells me that a service is not needed why should I get it serviced?
    Gefa, gostang9 and Syrte like this.
  15. eugeneandresson

    eugeneandresson Jul 21, 2018

    I wouldn't say that :)

    To the both of you : I have lurked here long enough to have a feel for the type of collector you are / your collecting habits. I also don't think the type of collector you are fits into the points I listed (which in all honesty are incomplete, and contextually based on regular sellers who are not so active in forums other than the 'sales' forums -> OP is looking for vintage watches and like most browses the sales fora, so was thinking along those lines)...

    Anyhoo ...
    Pun, gostang9, Syrte and 1 other person like this.
  16. ulackfocus

    ulackfocus Jul 21, 2018

    Watch junkies are fickle. We constantly change direction, and always need a new fix. Out with the old (regardless of condition, but stated honestly in the sale listing) to fund the new.

    What's so hard to understand?
    Pun, heavenscloud, Rochete and 8 others like this.
  17. MaiLollo

    MaiLollo Jul 21, 2018

    After having a watchmaker destroy the tritium on my 105.012's hands during a service, I'm not really down on servicing all of my watches. I own some that I'm not 100% sure if I'm going to keep, so I'm not going to take chances & have them serviced if they're running fine. The ones which I know need a service (never serviced, short power reserve, etc.), I don't wear.
    gostang9 likes this.
  18. tyrantlizardrex

    tyrantlizardrex C is NOT for "Lizard". Jul 21, 2018


    The pseudo-dealer crowd... yeah... different animal.
  19. Taddyangle

    Taddyangle Convicted Invicta Wearer Jul 21, 2018

    I have not bought a watch since February 2018.

    I try to maintain a regular service interval. Of the ~10 I actively wear, all but one has been serviced in last 5 years.

    I have a few I rarely wear, and two of three I have had serviced.

    It seems that I am taking a watch in for service about every 9-12 months.

    I don't buy a watch thinking I will sell it in a few years. I buy thinking I'm going to keep it for many years. The exceptions are the vintage JLC I bought for $6 at Goodwill and -71 speedy I bought at a pawn shop. I bought both specifically to flip, yet I still have them.

    But tastes change and situations change and my guess is I have sold half the watches I have bought (maybe more).
  20. Larry S

    Larry S Color Commentator for the Hyperbole. Jul 21, 2018

    I have had service done on most of my watches ... I have a few that were serviced prior to my buying them .. as they came from trusted members or sellers, they run great. In general one should always budget a service into the purchase price. I’ve bought a rare and expensive UG in non running condition but $400 put it right. I’ve also received watches that were running at seller but the bumps of a transatlantic/ pacific shipment had them going straight from Fed Ex to the watchmaker.
    Edited Jul 21, 2018