Thursday, July 21, 2011

BNIB: almost a keeper

Hi Nick,

I have signed up for your email updates and interesting articles over the last 3-4 months and wanted to pass on how much I thoroughly enjoy these. I have always had a keen interest in fine watches as well as the history behind fine time pieces.

Part of the reason of me sending an email was to ask about buying fine watches online. I did  research some of your articles talking about buying watches where the dealer won't divulge serial numbers and any history of the watch.
My brother lives in the States and is interested in purchasing a Panerai watch over there. There is one online as new with boxes and papers with a private dealer. My question is, with new watches how do they turn up with sellers that are not authorized sellers of new watches like Panerai initially? Secondly how does the warranty apply in this situation? Are there things to check to make sure everything is above board?

Your advice would be greatly appreciated.

Best regards,

Dear Richard,
Thank you for your email.
Before I answer your question, let me share with you a very personal story.
A couple of years ago we met a guy who became sort of a friend. Mike was the nicest guy ever, very helpful and extremely polite. He loved my wife's cherry strudels and in return he would fix my letters for grammar and spelling. A fair deal!
As an accountant by trade he worked hard and saved his pennies even harder. Happy man - except for one detail: for some strange reason, no matter how hard he tried, he was still a single man. He really wanted to find that very special soul but for one reason or another, it just did not happen.
One late evening, Mike knocked on our door, announced. Obviously he was in a hurry and he said he needed my help. So we let him in.
He quickly logged into my computer and said:
"Nick, here are 3 ladies I've narrowed down from a selection of 12,000. A doctor from Novosibrisk, an architect from Petropavlovsk and a painter from a small village in Ukraine. Which one should I marry?"
To say that all 3 looked extremely beautiful would be understatement. 

But that was not the Mike we knew, so I was curious to find out what made him pick those 3 particular ladies? And he told us: all three were exactly the same height, same age and same  weight. For Mike, those numbers were the most important search criteria. The only problem he had is which one to pick?
And this is why he needed my help.
Now, let's just pause the story here for a second. If you were in my shoes, you would probably do your best to convince Mike not to rush with his decision. You would argue that there is the  possibility of significant misinterpretation when deciding about a person purely on low quality .jpg fifteen minutes after midnight, and that height and weight have very little to do with heart and soul, and all that stuff. That's what any reasonable person and friend would say!
But not me.
Without a nanosecond of hesitation, without even the slightest bit of guilt or doubt, as certain as only a watchmaker could be, I pointed to the photo of the artist by the name of Yelena.
"She is the one, Mike. You can't go wrong with a painter." 
And so he did.
Yelena arrived in Sydney in what I would call a BNBIB condition - a brand new Barbie in a box, with original papers, certificates, inner and outer boxes, hang tags, original receipt, spotless, conservatively described as 10/10. She would suit both a novice enthusiast or a seasoned collector. She was painfully perfect, with that heavenly Slavic accent - all those shs, tchs, ljs, zszs, which makes the sweetest French girls sound like Darth Vader.
There was only one bit missing: she came with no instruction manual and Mike could not figure out how to get her ticking -  no matter how hard he tried.
So what is my point, you may ask?
Well, buying online could be tricky. There is no guarantee that you'll get what you want and there is even less guarantee that you'll like what you get.
For the same reason you cannot blame Yelena for being Yelena, you cannot blame a Panerai for being too large, too heavy, too expensive or even fake.
I hope this goes without saying, but when it comes to recommending an online product, I am completely useless.
As Roxette said, "...listen to YOUR heart - there is nothing else you can do"
PS. Mike is now happily married to an Aussie mum with 4 kids. He lost few dollars in trade, but he kept the receipt. My wife still makes the best cherry strudels in the world, and as before, I still need someone to fix my grammar. As what happened to Yelena, I can not disclose for legal reasons.

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