Buying a brand-spanking-new, fresh-off-the-shelves timepiece is a lovely experience — but it’s not for everyone.
What if you'd prefer a recently discontinued model, or you want to capture some of the savings inherent in buying something that’s pre-loved? Or maybe you want a watch that features some of the aesthetics of a vintage piece, but comes with modern hardware and by extension, modern ruggedness? Maybe you don’t mind paying a premium for something that’s difficult to purchase at retail, but easy to purchase second hand?
All these and others are perfectly good reasons for buying a pre-owned watch. We stock hundreds of such watches from dozens of brands, ranging from watches several years old to ones that, well, just about debuted yesterday. The choice is yours, and we’re standing by to help you source your dream timepiece.
If you need some inspiration, here are some of our favorite pre-owned watches from the Analog:Shift collection.
An award-winning collection of ultra-thin timepieces, Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo line encompasses all manner of complications — some of which are unique to the brand. However, the simple, time-only Octo Finissimo S is perhaps the purest expression of this adventurous, distinctly contemporary collection. Measuring just 5.15mm thick and powered by an automatic movement with micro-rotor, it’s a brilliant feat of both horology and industrial design.
When people think of tonneau-shaped or rectangular timepieces, their minds invariably wander to Cartier — and fair enough, we say! But they would do well to turn their attention to the inventive Franck Muller, whose wares were so popular in the 1990s and early 2000s. This Casablanca ‘Crazy Hours,’ housed in a handsome, tonneau-shaped platinum case, looks fairly pedestrian until you notice that the numerals are all out of order on the dial, and a customized mechanical movement that moves the hands accordingly makes for a whimsical timepiece that bears a second glance.
The 1967 DOXA Sub 300 is a classic dive watch that ranks among the category’s most beloved designs — with its unique, combination-decompression/timing bezel, tonneau-shaped case, and oversized, highly luminous minute hand, this was a watch purpose-built for actual divers. The handsome Sub 300 Sharkhunter ‘Blacklung’ Limited Edition pays homage to a unique, first-year Sub 300 reference made in partnership with Aqua-Lung (U.S. Divers).
Looking for a solid, well-rounded mechanical chronograph? How about the Reference SRQ029, a special, limited-edition model produced in commemoration of 50 years of automatic Seiko chronographs. There’s no denying that this sharp-looking watch, with its 41mm stainless steel case, pump pushers, polished and brushed bezel, and luminous ‘panda’ dial, packs one hell of a punch. We suggest snagging it before someone else catches on!
If you’ve been perusing Analog:Shift long enough, you’ll no doubt have noticed our love of vintage 34mm Tudor and Rolex watches, which provide superb entry points into the greater watch collecting world. Tudor’s modern Black Bay 36 is a perfect, slightly upsized take on some of these vintage references, such as the beloved 7909. This particular BB36 features a sleek black dial and the brand’s iconic ‘snowflake’ handset. For an everyday watch, it doesn’t get much better than this.
Looking to pick up a single piece and then say “peace!”? There are few better options than this superbly beautiful 1815 Flyback Chronograph. Crafted from rose gold and measuring 39.5mm in diameter, it houses the brand’s Calibre L951.1 flyback chronograph movement which, thankfully, is viewable via a sapphire caseback. While other Lange designs mix classical watchmaking tropes with contemporary complications, this piece is for the purist — and there ain’t nothing wrong with that.
Unimatic, the Italian microbrand founded in 2015, makes some of the coolest tool watches around — and it doesn’t hurt that these minimal masterpieces are all eminently affordable. In partnering with watch industry veteran William Massena of Massena LAB, the brand designed a hip take on its Modello Uno dive watch that mixes design language from vintage, military-issued watches such as Tudor ‘M.N.’ Submariners. (It even ships on an M.N.-style fabric strap!)
For over 100 years, the Cartier Tank has been one of the watch world’s most enduring models. But there’s more to the Tank than the original Louis Cartier model from 1917 — in 1921, Louis Cartier designed the Tank Cintrée, an elongated, gently curving timepiece that hugs the wrist and wears like nothing else on the market. This example is crafted from sumptuous rose gold and has a beautiful black dial with striking, stylized white Arabic indices.