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I have been interested in watches for quite a while but have only been purchasing for a short time. I generally save for a period of time in order to purchase, but the problem is only the usual suspects are available in my city. Omega, Rolex, Tag etc. thankfully I have a Ball AD here so I am able to get my hands on these before purchase. However my interests have spread to other manufacturers, Bremont, JLC, so on and so forth. I have a hard time taking the plunge without seeing these more expensive pieces in person. I know I will have to travel to do this but many of you purchase online. How do you all get over this? I'm sure the quality would be there, but what about size, feal etc?
 

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... How do you all get over this?
Honestly, I don't.

I got lucky when I decided to purchase my Orient black Mako online. My very next watch was a Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro diver. Heavier than expected (229g. on the stock leather strap), and it wore much taller than its 13mm spec. Truth is, I knew the instant I strapped it on that it was all wrong for my wrist. Knew I'd end up selling it, and I did. Thing is, I love everything else about that watch and highly recommend it to others. (Just as long as they can deal with the weight and height of it.)

That Christopher Ward caused me to come up with a new personal rule regarding watches:

Never buy any watch without first trying it on.

Yes, that does eliminate the micro brands completely. But on a personal note, other than Christopher Ward, none of the others has any model that truly gets me excited.

You just have to bite the bullet, set aside a day, drive to the nearest AD (call ahead first so you know they'll have the model in stock that you want), and try the watch on. Specs. are one thing but there is zero substitute for "feel." Some watches just wear bigger or smaller than their specs. Some, quite a bit bigger or smaller. Then there's the biggest deal-breaker for me; weight. Height being a close 2nd. No substitute at all for putting a watch on your wrist and letting your wrist give you the thumbs up or thumbs down.
 
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Honestly, I don't.

I got lucky when I decided to purchase my Orient black Mako online. My very next watch was a Christopher Ward C60 Trident Pro diver. Heavier than expected (229g. on the stock leather strap), and it wore much taller than its 13mm spec. Truth is, I knew the instant I strapped it on that it was all wrong for my wrist. Knew I'd end up selling it, and I did. Thing is, I love everything else about that watch and highly recommend it to others. (Just as long as they can deal with the weight and height of it.)

That Christopher Ward caused me to come up with a new personal rule regarding watches:

Never buy any watch without first trying it on.

Yes, that does eliminate the micro brands completely. But on a personal note, other than Christopher Ward, none of the others has any model that truly gets me excited.

You just have to bite the bullet, set aside a day, drive to the nearest AD (call ahead first so you know they'll have the model in stock that you want), and try the watch on. Specs. are one thing but there is zero substitute for "feel." Some watches just wear bigger or smaller than their specs. Some, quite a bit bigger or smaller. Then there's the biggest deal-breaker for me; weight. Height being a close 2nd. No substitute at all for putting a watch on your wrist and letting your wrist give you the thumbs up or thumbs down.
Amen brother.
 

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The most expensive watch I purchased sight unseen was my Baume and Mercier Hampton Annual Calendar, which I paid $2K for. The price was so ridiculously discounted from the $5.5K MSRP that it seems a worthwhile risk. But in general, I like to try out a watch before a major purchase. At the very least, I would like to try a similar model, perhaps a similar case size, or a variant with a different dial color or case material, before making a purchase.

Some watches, in particular the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reversos, are quite unforgiving in their sizing due to unusual aspect ratios and flat casebacks, so those absolutely need to be tried on.
 

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I like to try on and it saved me a bundle after realizing how little I like Glashuttes on.

I bought my Lange without trying. It's the same size as 2 others that I have. It was easy.


The brands like Hamilton. Longines and that group are all way bigger in person than they appear. I'd recommend always trying those brands on and they should be easier with tons of AD's.
 

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Lots of research, looking at photos, reading reviews, and utilizing return policies can work. I did not try on any of the watches I own prior to buying, and I suspect I won't for mant of my future acquisitions.
 

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I know exactly what the op is up against....I have to drive 60 miles to see any kind of "real"watch..
I traveled 300+ miles with money in hand to buy a JLC and was totally disappointed with the watch.
I'm so glad I looked b/4 that purchase! Everything else has been on the net and I too have made some
costly mistakes.
 
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One thing I've found helpful is YouTube. I've found videos of almost every watch I looked for, and you get a better idea of what a watch is like rather than just looking at pictures. Other than that, if you order a watch without first seeing it in person, make sure it has a good return policy.
 

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Yea I see what you mean. Sometimes photos are totally different on what you see in real life. But then again I did purchase several watches without seeing or trying them on. In the end it worked out and only had to return 1 back. I always make sure where ever I bought the watch there is a good return policy.
 

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Something tells me that if everyone lived closer to more ADs, there would be a lot fewer catch and releases showing up in the for sale section...which is half the fun I suppose.
 

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With most online retailers offering good return policies, there really is no harm in trying it out other than potentially losing return shipping costs. If you get it and dont like it, tape it back and send it on its way back. Sure its more hassle and headache and bit more risky than looking at all options in an AD. But the selection and prices online just cannot be beat in most cases.
 

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I have been interested in watches for quite a while but have only been purchasing for a short time. I generally save for a period of time in order to purchase, but the problem is only the usual suspects are available in my city. Omega, Rolex, Tag etc. thankfully I have a Ball AD here so I am able to get my hands on these before purchase. However my interests have spread to other manufacturers, Bremont, JLC, so on and so forth. I have a hard time taking the plunge without seeing these more expensive pieces in person. I know I will have to travel to do this but many of you purchase online. How do you all get over this? I'm sure the quality would be there, but what about size, feal etc?

Maybe I'm weird, but I somewhat like living far away from a lot of AD's. I very rarely see anything interesting near me. It makes it more fun when I do. It also makes it more fun when I go on a trip if I know I might get to see something different.
 

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All of my watch purchases have been online. Even waited 4 months for my Stowa Flieger.
You just have to rely on pictures, reviews, and good sellers who will refund your money if you are not happy
with your purchase.

Personally, I believe people can do most of the research themselves. Check the weight, height, lug to lug details. This will give you and
idea about the watch. Use a watch you have for comparison. Read as much as you can about the watch. Do mock ups (I taped an orange circle to one of my Seiko’s to
simulate the Doxa 1200T Pro, and what it would be like to wear an orange dialed watch).

My biggest gamble was the SINN 103 Klassic. The watch is 17 mm thick! But it’s not really a heavy watch and is only 41mm wide.
I worried the 103 would be top heavy and uncomfortable. But once I placed it on my wrist, I realized it is very comfortable to wear, lighter than
my Doxa 1200t and Seiko Blackmonster and looks AMAZING! But it was a gamble, because Watchbuys would not refund the money given it was a limited edition piece.
The SINN 103 is now my best watch!
 
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