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Ralf Haeffner, Stuttgart, - www.watch.de - advertised a stainless steel automatic Zenith Elite with alligator strap described as "in very good condition" and "hardly worn". The pictures looked nice and I was told via email that it had no marks or scratches. So I ordered it.

I wired about £900 to them, they acknowledged receipt and 2 weeks later (?) the watch arrived. It was beautifully packaged, with string and wax seals no less.

The watch was indeed in very good condition. So far so good. But I was dismayed to find a small obvious scratch on the side, a minor mark on the bezel, and several small nicks on the inside edge of the bezel. There were also trivial micro-scratches as expected. I showed the watch to a jeweller, and she noticed the marks without being prompted, and without peering close.

Most of the marks were minor, but the bezel nicks annoyed me as they caught the light like little stars. They also did not match the condition of the rest of the case, suggesting extensive re-conditioning. So I sent the watch back. The watch price was refunded and they apologised for not noticing the marks. They did not refund my expenses (bank fees and shipping) which came to about $100/£50.

Could this have been an honest mistake?

A few days after they received the watch, I saw the same model of watch on ebay.de, from the same shop, using the same pictures, described as "Like new". A few weeks later I emailed Haeffner's and was told the following:

Thank you very much for your mail. The watch you sent back was
completely overhauled by our watch maker.
If you need further information, please do contact us.

They acknowledge that it was the same watch. There is no way they could have polished the case, and obtained a new bezel from Zenith in that time. And why not offer it to me if it was now like new? In short, I do not believe them.

Beware of these people. The descriptions of used items are inaccurate. I lost ~£50 and do not recommend dealing with them.
 
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