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Watch Warranties and What You Should Know

When you buy a wristwatch, you’re usually worried about the features, or how it’s going to look on your wrist, or whether it will be suitable for whatever favorite activities you have in mind.  You might even worry about whether it’s OK to get it wet or whether you can afford to pay for it.

One thing that most buyers don’t give to much thought to before making a purchase is the warranty.  Most watches sold today include a warranty of some kind, but they’re not all the same, and for some brands, you perhaps should be concerned.

watch warrantyWatches tend to come in two varieties – quartz electronic models, which are powered by batteries and electricity, and mechanical models, which are powered by a spring and mechanical moving parts.  Both of these types of watches can fail in time, and on a long enough timeline, every watch will eventually fail.

It’s when the watch fails that takes the warranty into consideration.  It can be very expensive to have a watch repaired, and for some relatively inexpensive watches, it might not even be worth spending the money to have them repaired.  On the other hand, if the watch, even an inexpensive one, was still under warranty, you’d likely be willing to have it repaired if the manufacturer was going to pick up the tab.

That’s why you should always find out about the warranty before making a purchase.

Most designer watch brands are sold with a manufacturer’s warranty against defects in materials and craftsmanship.  Most of the time, the duration of that warranty is two years from the date of purchase.  That covers probably 85% of the watches made.  If the watch fails during that time, due to the fault of the manufacturer, they will usually repair or replace the watch at their discretion.

broken watch

No, your warranty won’t cover this.

Some companies offer a shorter warranty of one year.  A few (Skagen comes to mind) offer a lifetime warranty.  That means that if the watch fails for any reason, ever, they’ll replace it.  That can be a huge benefit to owners of quartz watches, as quartz movements sometimes have a tendency to simply drop dead.  If you have a lifetime warranty, you just contact the manufacturer, get a return authorization, send it back, and they’ll return a running watch to you.

For higher end watches, the warranty is usually a formality.  Luxury watches are well-crafted and rigorously tested before leaving the factory, and legitimate manufacturing defects are fairly rare.  You’re not likely to buy  a defective Bell & Ross watch, for instance.

Furthermore, when you’re buying watches in that price range, most retailers will offer a warranty of their own that may cover some things that the manufacturer’s warranty does not.

A retailer-issued warranty can come in handy when buying inexpensive watches, as many low-end models, particularly those made by Chinese companies, are not usually warranted by the manufacturer.  Those brands are more likely to have factory defects, so it will be a huge help to buy from a company that will warrant the watch themselves.

Keep in mind that most warranties are valid for a specified length of time from the date of purchase.  For that reason, it’s a good idea to keep your purchase receipt so that you can show them when you bought the watch.  For some high end brands, you will have to register the watch at the time of purchase, so the company will have your purchase on record.

It goes without saying that warranties do not cover abuse or misuse.  Be sure to take care of your watches, and most of the time, the manufacturer’s warranty will take care of the rest.