Each month we’ll be taking you behind the scenes at Fish Brothers and giving you a glimpse into the busy and dynamic world of Pawnbroking and a chance to meet our team of experts. This month we meet Luke Stafford, our resident watch expert who is responsible for all aspects of the pre-owned watch business and has years of experience in assessing, evaluating and authenticating watches.
Where did you career begin?
My first job was a weekend job with a little jeweller in Truro in Cornwall. It was run by a Swiss trained horologist and his wife, who was exceptionally professional and wouldn’t even let me do a simple battery change. I suppose this is where I initially became interested in the world of watches.
What does a typical day look like for you?
There really is no such thing as an average day for me; I could be sourcing specific watches for customer inquiries, authenticating and pricing watches that are offered for pawn and sale, organising and processing repairs, visiting stores or attending fairs in Europe.
What are your tips for buying a pre-owned luxury timepiece
- BUY THE SELLER
Buy from a trusted retailer so you can be assured that you are buying a genuine timepiece. This not only protects against counterfeit, but reputable dealers have their pre-owned watches serviced and provide warranties. You might think you are getting a better deal elsewhere but it can be a false economy if you experience problems with the watch from the start.
- THE JEWELLER’S LOUPE
The first thing I reach for when assessing any watch;a jeweller’s loupe. This allows you to study the quality and the details of the watch. A prestigious brand has gained their reputation due to their high quality, and this is best highlight through a 10x magnification. All text, be it printed on the dial or engraved on the casing, should be sharp, defined and solid. Anything less than perfect simply is not correct; dials should not be bleeding into text, batons or any other features on the dial.
- CHECK THE FUNCTIONS
Additional functions, such as date, annual calendar, chronograph, minute repeater etc are known as ‘complications’. These complications are intricate and expensive, and therefore often overlooked by counterfeits. Check that everything is working as it should, if complications are not functioning it can be expensive and timely to repair. If you are buying the watch from a reputable source, this should all be done for you.
- GET A SECOND OPINION
If you are unsure of a pieces authenticity, don’t feel pressured into making a quick decision and make time to get a second opinion.
Have you any advice for getting the best deal when selling your timepiece
If you are selling your luxury watch, my advice is to shop around. Some shops might have more success with certain models and therefore will be willing to pay more for those brands as they might be better suited to their stock and clientele.
If money was no object, what watch would you own and why?
This is quite a tough one, and changes all the time but a watch that is always near the top of my list is the Rolex 6239, Paul Newman.