Archive for October 2012


Buying Watches Online or at Auction

This conversation popped up a couple times lately, so we felt like sharing two recent stories. One story didn’t end so well (we’ll let you guess which one). Consider this a sequel to our former blog posts How to Spot a Fake Rolex and DANGER: Online Jewellery Shopping and Seizure Auctions.

Ever see the episode of Pawn Stars when someone comes into the shop with Bernie Madoff’s 1936 Rolex which he had won at auction for $32,000? Like any Rolex connoisseur, Rick (the owner of the pawn shop in the show) diligently inspects the watch and finds that the dial and hands are not authentic. The watch was instantly worth a fraction of what the auction winner was lead to believe (the seller was originally asking for $75,000 until Rick bursted his bubble). Try and correlate this with the following story:

About a week ago, a gentleman walks in with a Rolex he bought at auction which had stopped functioning within the first week of winning it. The auction company had given him a handful of papers; every paper except the original Rolex documentation. On top of that, the auction house gave him a one-year warranty on the watch, but would only allow him to send the watch directly to them for repair; not Rolex. Doesn’t this seem odd to you? Why wouldn’t you want Rolex to have a free look at your watch and give you an assessment of what’s wrong with it?

Another regular client walks in and makes a fairly typical statement: “I can get this Rolex NEW online for a lot less than that. What’s the deal!?”. First off, the statement “NEW” should have some fine print associated to it which should read “Refurbished Rolex with Aftermarket Parts”. Second, Rolex does not allow any Authorized Retailers to sell their watches online; in fact, they’re probably one of the strictest in the industry in upholding this policy. To bring this point home, Rolex has recently sued online retailer for selling versions of its watches with counterfeit parts.

Need more? On October 16th, 2012, $34 Million in counterfeit watches were seized in Paraguay. Many of these end up being sold through irregular channels; i.e., online.

So, what should you be asking yourself, or even the auctioneers, before placing a bid? Here’s an idea, how about asking if they guarantee the authenticity of the item. When you send the piece to Rolex, will they come back and tell you it contains aftermarket parts? Do they have the original paperwork that comes with the watch?

If you get the slightest hesitation to any of these questions, steer clear. Watch this video from Pawn Stars of each member telling you what their biggest busts were.

We hope this saves a few of you from a nasty surprise.

Kind regards,

The La Mine d’Or Family