Advice on buying a watch

I am completely out of my element here, but several threads have implied that it’s worth asking about. On preview the details below are probably in the TLDR category, so the short version is that I’m looking to spend a grand or so online on a Ladie’s Longines watch—anything I need to know?

The details:
It has to be Longines—Mrs. Dvl doesn’t really have brand preferences, for some reason this one has stuck. She’s never owned one and she’s not a watch person (the only other watch she’s owned is a Cartier), but over the years I’ve heard her mention a couple times that it’s one of those “someday I’d like to own” things.

My budget is about a grand +/- a few hundred. I’ve just begun pricing them out, and sometimes I think this will be enough, sometimes I choke a bit and think “someday” may have to wait a few more years.

It’s a surprise, which adds a couple constraints. Mrs. Dvl and I work together out of a home office, just had a little Dude, and are veritably inseparable otherwise (i.e., we pretty much run all our errands together). This means no sneaking out for a day’s shopping adventure, so I have to rely/trust an Internet merchant. Who?

Which adds another bit of complication—because it’s a surprise, I can’t just put it on one of our cards. The risk is small, but not too small so I’d rather avoid it if I can. I can duck out to the bank or post office for a check/money order. If I can sneak into a Target, do they sell those temporary Visa cards? Can I put the whole amount on them? Can I do everything online in a few steps in one go (i.e., fill the watch shopping cart, go to Target and buy the card for the right amount, then use the card at the watch store)? I’m pretty sure if she notices the Target buy I can pass it off as “oh, I ordered some supplies and mumble mumble hey look at the puppy! mumble mumble.”

It’s got to be returnable/exchangeable. I know her style very well and have heard enough comments to be sure I’ll be spot on, but you never know. Wasn’t there a Pit thread not too long ago about a problematic merchant? I’d really like to avoid that.

Lastly there’s time. Probably not a big deal on the Internet, but I’ve got to have it within the next week and a half.

So… buying a Longines watch. Better merchants? Subtle differences to watch (heh) out for?



I don’t really know anything about Longines (I’m more into Breitling and Omega), but check into their authorized dealer policy. Most of the higher end brands don’t allow authorized dealers to sell online, and sometimes if you don’t buy from an authorized dealer there can be problems. For example, some grey market dealers remove the serial numbers, which makes it hard (or impossible) to get warranty service. There can be other issues with getting warranty service too. So whoever you buy it from, make sure you are completely sure that you’ll be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty (not just a warranty through the merchant, which some of them offer instead when they’re doing something that prevents you from using the original warranty). Here’s a more in-depth discussion of the issues:

Again, I don’t know anything about Longines, so this may not be an issue at all, but it’s worth checking into before laying out any cash.

If you’re talking about only $1000 or so, I don’t think you’d have any problem putting the whole purchase on a Visa Gift Card, which you should be able to get at Target. Beware of any fees that may be involved (read the fine print carefully). I have had some trouble using those cards online, but IIRC (it’s been a while) it has mostly been when the value of the card isn’t enough to cover the entire purchase – I think there’s no way for the merchant to know what’s available on the card, so when they try to authorize it for the larger amount they just get declined.

Here’s an online watch guy, sells new and used watches. I have bought a few from him over the years, and consider the site 100% reputable.

I’d second earlier advice - do not buy premium watches (or cuban cigars) online. Most do not allow online sales and if it is being offered online, something ain’t right.

Welll, this is a bit of a wrinkle.

Here’s Longine’s official word:

I’m assuming I could hyper-parse it and say that as long as it came with the warranty certificate it would be covered, and I’m assuming they could tell me to go hyper-parse myself.
From what I’ve seen their warranty is only two years. I found this by putting Longine authorized distributor into Google, which led me to, a brick-and-mortar store. I crosschecked the Longine official page and they are indeed an authorized reseller. Though they can’t list prices on their page, it’s heartening that some authorized retailers have a presence on the net. It will be a bit tedious but I’ll probably go through city-by-city until I find a couple more to call and see whether or not they will work with me over the phone.

I’ll be interested to see how their prices differ from those I’ve found online so far. Amazon has a retailer that has a wide selections and has 550+ ratings with a 93% positive.

Ebay (which on one hand scares the crap out of me) has a retailer AuthenticWatches*com that, if I’m understanding their rating system correctly, has 7,853 ratings, all positive (though I think that only goes as far back as the past year, but that’s still 1,243 ratings).

While neither will offer the warranty, the number of ratings suggests that they aren’t selling knock-offs or homage pieces. I hope.

I’m actually hoping that when I get through to mcpeekstimepiece (and others) their prices aren’t more than a few points above Amazon or Ebay. Then it will become a bit like wondering if I should purchase the extended warranty. It’s only a grand (but that’s a lot to us), and the factory warranty is only a couple years. If the difference ends up at four or five hundred dollars for the same thing sand warranty, I have to decide if it’s worth it.

I will say one thing. For someone who was never a watch person (or anything of a jewellery person) after looking at all the pieces and learning about other brands along the way, I’ve got much more of an insight into what makes watch people tick (heh) than before. Very cool.

I was cursed in kindergarten with ever having a watch survive.

The only watch I’ve ever had that could survive me was a Seiko Kinetic. I’ve worn it for almost 12 years. Not a scratch on the crystal, just wearing down around the face and band. Seriously, I can kill a watch in a month. I’d never had one for more than about 3 months before this one. I am the Samsonite Gorilla of watches.

Don’t know squat about Longine’s, but I’ll swear by my Seiko.

No specifics about Longines, but…

There are reputable sites out there. Bernardwatch is one that I trust. I purchased a Rolex Sub from them some years back by wire transfer. The watch came Fedex, and it was exactly as advertised, with inner/outer boxes and all. I have bought watches from other sellers as well.

A few words about nice mechanical watches…

These are fine Swiss watches that are extremely well made. That notwithstanding, they do require regular servicing, around once every 3-5 years.

This regular servicing includes complete disassembly, replacement of any little gears and whatnot that have issues, replacement of the mainspring and hairspring, application of fifteen kinds of different lubricants in microscopic amounts, sealing, waterproof testing, and finally full refinishing of the case.
And it costs around $500 and takes a few months before you ever see your watch again.

I don’t worry much about buying online from a reputable dealer-they will often have their own warranty even if the manufacturer doesn’t, and you can often get a much better price on a “like new in box” watch than brand new at the jewelry store.

Keep in mind the cost of overhaul. If it is a second-hand watch, the seller has probably not recently done an overhaul (why would you change the timing belt in your car a month before selling?). Plan on the overhaul in three years or so.

Good luck!

Awesome. Very awesome. I got through to a couple authorized retailers found via the Longine site. None could list prices on their Web site, but both were willing to discuss prices over the phone.

A jewelry store in NY was extraordinarily gracious – she extended a 30% discount off the retail list. This actually makes it a few dollars cheaper than the second-party seller.

Now all I have to do is find an excuse to sneak out to the bank/post office, and I’m all set!