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Collecting 101

It can be an intimidating prospect. With so much information on watches swirling about, the thought of starting a watch collection might leave your head spinning. We turned to one of South Florida’s premiere experts, Jono King, director of sales at King Jewelers and an avid collector himself, and asked for his best tips for where to begin.

What’s the most important piece of advice you have for someone who wants to start collecting watches?A lot of people tend to gravitate to brands that have a rich history. They can look back at 100 or 150 years of collections and the evolution of the watches. It’s nice for people to start off with a brand that is well known, that is written about, that there is a lot of information about to help people make their choice. You should do your research online and in the magazines. Start off with an established brand that has a wide variety of offerings. Then, you can expand your collection by buying watches that catch your eye.

What should your first watch be?The first piece should be something versatile, something you can wear at work, on the weekends, on vacation, something suited for any or every occasion. Then, once you own this, you can expand to a sports watch or a dress timepiece.

Should people buy new watches or pre-owned?I would suggest that people start off with a new watch, because you have a manufacturer’s warranty and a sense of comfort and security. The introduction to watches has to be a positive experience. If you are buying pre-owned, you don’t know where it came from. We do carry some pre-owned, but the vast majority of these pieces were sold new from this store.

Is there a benefit to buying pre-owned?There is such a watch craze that there are a lot of pre-owned pieces on the market. Some collectors love to have the newest and greatest, so they trade out of other watches to buy the new ones. Depending on the outlet, there is a great opportunity to get fantastic watches on the pre-owned market.

What are things people should watch out for, whether buying new or pre-owned?I can’t tell you the number of times we have seen people buy counterfeit or stolen watches without knowing it. One of our clients brings in the Officine Panerais that he buys on the Internet, and every single one he has brought in has been a fake. The bigger the brand, the more counterfeits there are. You have to know who you are buying from. I always suggest you deal with an authorized dealer. And if you are a novice, you should never buy sight unseen.