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Thread: Opinions on a watch sale issue needed.

  1. #1
    Join Date: Apr 2013

    Location: Barry, South Wales, UK

    Posts: 1,052
    I'm Rich.

    Default Opinions on a watch sale issue needed.

    Hi all,

    I'd just like to gauge people's opinion on the following matter if I may?

    I recently sold a watch to a chap I have dealt with a couple times in the past, it was a 90s Breitling watch of non diver spec, waterproof to 30m. He contacted me today to say he tried washing it in warm soapy water, which has unfortunately resulted in the watch developing a condensation issue inside the case/crystal. He asked for his money back, but I am disinclined to agree to this.

    He has always been a very pleasant person to deal with so I am disappointed this has happened. I am going to help as much as I can by contacting the company I purchased it from as it came with a 12 month warranty. It was a private sale with the buyer collecting in person and paying cash after inspecting the watch. I made no claims about the watch being waterproof, so I strongly suspect/hope that I am within my rights to wash my hands of any responsibility.

    All polite opinions would be welcome.

    Thanks

    Rich.

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  2. #2
    Join Date: Nov 2011

    Location: Seaton, Devon, UK

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    I'm Adrian.

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    When was the service, if it still valid then I would refer him to them. I think under the consumer act even when purchasing new you cannot return an item once 14 days have passed. If the item is second hand then there is little come back unless you offered a return period.
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  3. #3
    Join Date: Apr 2013

    Location: Barry, South Wales, UK

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    I'm Rich.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AJSki2fly View Post
    When was the service, if it still valid then I would refer him to them. I think under the consumer act even when purchasing new you cannot return an item once 14 days have passed. If the item is second hand then there is little come back unless you offered a return period.
    I purchased it used from a reputable dealer 3 months ago, from memory it was sold as having had a new battery fitted with reseal. As my sale was private not trade I made no mention of any guarantee offered by me, just the 12 months warranty still in place from the dealer.

    The buyer had a good look at the watch before he paid, and I made no claims about waterproofing or the integrity of the seals. In fact he did not ask about that aspect of it at all. I experienced no issues with it during my time owning it and it was worn on a daily basis; the buyer did also openly admit to exposing it to warm soapy water. My understanding of waterproofing standards is that a watch rated to 30m is essentially just splash proof.

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  4. #4
    Join Date: Aug 2008

    Location: Suffolk, UK

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    I'm Paul.

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    30m water resistant or waterproof, I think they mean different things to a watch manufacturer and I believe neither explicitly mean that the watch can handle submersion. Also soap contains surfactant which lowers the surface tension of the water, meaning it can penetrate into gaps better. Also the heat can mitigate the effectiveness of the seals and condense any moisture within the air in the watch. When you factor in that you don’t really know what he has done and if its an expensive watch he should have taken it to a professional to have it cleaned I think you have every right not to reimburse.

    It might be worth contacting the dealer you bought it from and say that someone washed it in warm soapy water and explain the condensation issue and ask if the guarantee covers that on a 30m watch. If they so no it backs up your refusal.
    ~Paul~

  5. #5
    Join Date: Feb 2017

    Location: Surrey, UK

    Posts: 474
    I'm Mark.

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    Washing a watch in soapy water sounds like a daft thing to do, though waterproof to 30m would imply to me that a dip in the kitchen sink should not be a problem. Tricky one, there’s no answer really. If you don’t want a disagreement you might consider refunding and opening up the watch to try and dry it out (removing the winder is normally easy to get access to the glass as you probably know). I recently did this to my wife’s watch - I think the back had not been pressed on properly WHEN I CHANGED THE BATTERY! If it works out you could sell it again. If you’re not bothered about disagreeing then use whatever arguments you can to tough it out.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2009

    Location: Essex

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    If it is not a "diver's watch" or a waterproof model, say a Rolex 'Oyster' (with a screw-on back and screw-down winder), then the watch should only be cleaned with some polish wadding and wiped clean with a paper towel.

    The condensation suffered will clear with time, so you have no real reason to reimburse the buyer.
    Barry

  7. #7
    Join Date: May 2016

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    I'm Gary.

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    Waterproof to 30 metres means it is splash proof, not to be immersed in water. I think your buyer did not understand this and has immersed in water, not your fault, lots of info on this if you Google it.

    The watch has been compromised by the buyers action, I wouldn't accept any responsiblity, any value in the watch has been destroyed.

    Gary
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  8. #8
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    No warranty would cover what the buyer has done, surely?
    Alex

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  9. #9
    Join Date: Feb 2016

    Location: London

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    I'm Don.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry View Post
    If it is not a "diver's watch" or a waterproof model, say a Rolex 'Oyster' (with a screw-on back and screw-down winder), then the watch should only be cleaned with some polish wadding and wiped clean with a paper towel.

    The condensation suffered will clear with time, so you have no real reason to reimburse the buyer.
    +1

    he could have used very hot water, or left it immersed in hot soapy water...who the jeff knows what he really did....

  10. #10
    Join Date: Feb 2008

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    I'm Neal.

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    With a 30m rating most watches will be rated as water resistant not waterproof as others have stated. If the crown is not a screw down type then all bets are off he probably rinsed it under a tap which has the possibility to introduced water and if the crown was pulled then, well he shouldn’t be complaining.
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