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Generally, I would say that specialist forums are safe places to buy these types of watches.
Of course, its not a guarantee, but along with a little homework you should be able to confirm that the watch is genuine.
Firstly, learn as much about the piece as possible, what to look for, serial numbers, caliber numbers etc.
Secondly, match up any paperwork you can, original or service. Ask for references, and follow things through until youre satisfied.
As you mention, it maybe worth the trip to see the watch itself before buying.
Finally, learn as much as you can from the seller: where they got the watch, why the sale, what work has been carried out and why, any other watches they have/had.
There is an element of trust, esp if you are wiring money and then waiting for the watch to be sent, but if you can build a relationship with the seller and feel comfortable with the transaction, there is no reason to be overly concerned.
Can these prices be true? Yes.
Some people prefer new things: new cars, new watches etc. They like to know they are the first person to own it, to have all the protection of a first guarantee, to know they have bought it while it is still the "new model", and they are prepared to pay extra for all of this.
Others like something for what it is, and dont mind that it is pre-owned, and with the right papers they are satisfied of its authenticity and condition.
Obviously, when you move into the area of vintage watches that are no longer currently available, people are after something more exclusive: you cant go to a shop and buy one, but instead you have to find one! Here there is a little more homework, but the pieces can be a lot more interesting and personal, and have a lot more history.
I am selling a few vintage Omega Speedmasters and Seamaster Chronos on the forum here for example (keep an eye out over the coming weeks!). They have all been serviced by the official Omega service agent in UK: Swiss Time Services (STS) and the 2 year guarantee is transferable to the new owner. In this case you could call STS, and ask them to confirm that they worked on the watch, and that I was the client, and that the watch is still under guarantee etc...
I hope this helps. Dont be afraid, getting a bargain is not wrong! It just requires a little work to make sure everything goes well.
: Hi all,
: I am new in the luxury watch world. I have atm a Armani watch. A
: simple quartz watch, but i plan on buying a mechanical Omega
: watch. I have done my research and fell in love with the Omega
: Speedmaster date. I can buy this at the certified dealer (wich
: is "Schaap citroen" in rotterdam) That will cost me
: around 4100 euro. But if i take a look on Chrono24, i see people
: advertising for around 2500. Claiming they are brand new in the
: for example. Since i do not know much about fake and stolen etc.
: I am asking here, can i trust something like this. It seems to
: good to be true. Yet the seller seems to be trusted by the site,
: and a jewler in germany (I live in the netherlands). So i could
: even drive their to take a look myself.
: Is this advisable? Can i trust this? Or is it better if i just pay
: the 4100 and go to the certified dealer for it?
: Thanks in advance,