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Should I buy a watch without boxes and paperwork?

Should I Buy a Luxury Watch Without the Box and Papers?

Should I buy a watch without boxes and paperwork?

As online watch trading has become more prevalent, the interest in having box and papers has also increased dramatically. Some bloggers point specifically to Panerai collectors for starting this trend. It’s a debatable topic that is usually split 50/50. It might be hard for some newbie watch geeks to believe, but there was a time when box and papers weren’t as important. It was similar to ripping the tags off new clothes – an annoyance that had no importance and got in the way of the real purpose of the purchase: wearing it.

My uncle threw away the receipt, the boxes and the accessories, as though he had just bought a shirt, not a Rolex. All went into the trash! What a dope!! Had I known, I could have taken it from him and sold it on ebay for profit. –topofk2 on the Rolex Forums

This might explain why so many vintage watches are without box and papers. Guys used to walk into a store, buy a watch, and wear it out… not taking anything with them except the watch. Like that feeling of walking out of the shoe store wearing your new shoes. Things have changed. Here are some of the common questions we get.

Keep in mind that while almost everyone wears a watch, not everyone is a collector or enthusiast. This means that not everyone cares about box and papers and may have thrown them away or misplaced them before selling or trading their watch. To each their own! Here is a mixed bag of opinions from other collectors:

I agree that it’s nice to have the warranty card, original boxes, etc, however if the watch is past it’s warranty period, and particlarly if it’s an uncommon or older watch, I certainly wouldn’t dismiss a genuine watch because it lacked box and papers, given that it’s priced right. –CDNWatchNut on watchuseek

Your call, I wouldn’t buy without box and papers regardless of the age of the watch as those to me make the watch complete. If it’s not an issue to you then get buying! –spogehead on watchuseek

I buy them all the time without “accessories”. In fact, I am buying one tomorrow… watch only. –swissautopro on the Rolex Forums

I happen to love the Rolex buying experience. While I understand and respect those who don’t need boxes, papers and tags, I do. It all adds to the experience. To me the buying and owning of a Rolex watch is a special thing. And whether I am reselling to a stranger or handing down to family, I would want the next keeper’s buying and owning experience to be as special as mine was. –ccaserto on the Rolex Forums

I personally think they bring more money the more paperwork they have. –mlotus95 on the Rolex Forums

No piece of paper authenticates any watch unless it is one that you commission to be done.. Then, it is only good that one time.. Any piece of paper that comes with a watch needs to be authenticated the same as the watch does.. Paper is much easier to counterfeit than the watch and is frequently used as a llure to sell a less than authentic piece…… –Tools on the Rolex Forum

You cant wear the box or papers! Its a legitimate way of keeping the cost down if your on a budget and is normally the way I buy my watches. –wishywatchy on the Rolex Forums

We always recommend going with the complete set if you can. But keep in mind that just like overall condition, pre-owned watches without the boxes and papers are priced to reflect what’s included or missing. KeepTheTime always lists what comes with the watch, and most listings will show photos of the box and papers if they’re there. Click over to our shop now.

For more reading about box and papers check out the following posts:

We’d like to hear your thoughts in the comments below…