Chrono24.com is a platform for reselling watches, both new and pre-owned, and like eBay, the site also acts as a benchmark for consumers, retailers, and wholesalers to use in determining a fair market price.

Similar to sites like Cars.com or Autotrader.com, you can get a good gauge of the market price for specific watch models, with a large enough scale that it’s quite useful. That’s the good side, but there’s also a bad side, and I’d say it’s more of an issue with timepieces than cars.

There are numerous scenarios for deception on Chrono24.com and ebay.com.

Some of the listings may be for a watch that’s not actually available and when the unsuspecting consumer purchases the watch, the dealer then rushes to acquire the watch so as to make a profit from it without ever holding the inventory. It’s kind of like drop-shipping. This is a really bad method for making luxury watch sales but there’s probably no way to stop it so beware.

Other listings may be online purely to increase the perception of high prices for a watch model that may not actually command the prices shown. This tactic pushes up the benchmark without necessarily reflecting real prices. On eBay, at least there’s a way to look at actual sale prices, and this of course shows a more realistic picture of what sale prices, not just listing prices, really are.

screencapture chrono24 patek philippe calatrava 18k white gold 5196

One of the most underhanded tactics, that can also combine the two aforementioned techniques, is when a dealer uses non-factory produced images of a watch, purported to be their own, to make it look like they have the actual watch in stock when they are merely making it look like they do, and if you buy via the listing, they will likely do one of three things: 1- source the watch once the sale comes through, 2- collect your money via an irreversible wire, because they’ve earned you trust with a realistic picture of the watch, and then never send you the watch 3- or send you a fake watch that replicates the real thing. (To prevent this, you can use Chrono24s escrow service, pay with a credit card, or pay with Paypal — which all have protections in place should a dealer not send the watch, should they send a fake watch, or if they significantly misrepresent the model or condition of the watch.)

These are just a few scenarios and with the secondary (non-authorized) dealer Motion in Time out of New York, Professional Watches can unequivocally say that this dealer did not take these images of a Patek Philippe Calatrava 5196, we know because we took these images at Patek Philippe’s New York Headquarters in 2014, and you can see the images in our original article.

Chrono24 allegedly has 40 dedicated staff members sussing out these deceitful listings, and if that’s true, it’s evidence that no large platform will probably ever be able to control this problem. How could Chrono24 know that this dealer is using images that they did not take? At the very least, considering they do have such a large team to prevent this type of thing, they should remove the listing, and warn Motion In Time to stop using images that deceive consumers.

Posted by:Jason Pitsch

Jason is the founder of Professional Watches and specializes in writing about and photographing timepieces.