To help you talk about watches along your collecting journey, refer to this guide of watch world slang.
If you’re just getting into the world of watches, you’ve probably heard a few unfamiliar terms thrown around in conversation with other collectors and dealers. With an often foreign-sounding language and lexicon, made up of terms, acronyms, nicknames, reference numbers, and more, it’s more than alright to feel a little confused when you’re new to the game. To help you talk about watches along your watch collecting journey, we’ve prepared a quick guide to some watch world slang, including a few of our favorite basics and some lesser known deep cuts.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve probably taken one before. Typically taken using a smartphone, a wrist shot is a quick photo showing what’s on your wrist, though don’t be afraid to get creative and break out your pro camera. Give that Rolex on your wrist the attention it deserves and have a little shoot!
This acronym of the watch world stands for Authorized Dealer, and refers to boutiques and jewelry stores selected by top brands like Patek Philippe and Omega to officially retail their watches and represent the brand. In order to gain Authorized Dealer status, boutiques will often be required to make substantial investments in not only inventory, but also branded displays, and separate brand-specific boutiques.
When dealers and collectors describe a watch as “naked” they’re referring to the fact that it’s being offered as a watch only, without its original boxes, papers, or accessories. Generally selling for less than examples sold with their original boxes and papers, naked watches are worth considering if you’re looking to save money on your next watch.
If you spend enough time in and around New York’s diamond district, you’re bound to hear the Hebrew word “mazal” spoken between dealers of diamonds, gems, and luxury watches alike. When a deal has been reached, dealers will often shake hands and say mazal, binding each party to the sale and purchase in a reputation-staking, oral contract of sorts.
For example, if two dealers agree to the sale and purchase of an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, shake on it, and say mazal, neither one can now back out of the deal. Regardless of whether the seller is offered more, or if the buyer is having buyer’s remorse, they’ve given each other their word and are fully committed to the deal.
Standing for “new old stock,” this acronym is used to describe a watch that was stored away after purchase, showing no signs of wear, and existing just as it did when it was first offered at an authorized retailer. NOS examples of sought after vintage and neo-vintage watches are extremely sought after given their time capsule like nature.
The next most unfavorable sort of watch after an outright fake, a “frankenwatch” or “franken” is a pieced together watch, assembled using a combination of genuine components with either counterfeit parts, or genuine albeit non period, service, or model correct parts. When buying a watch through Bezel, you don't have to worry about ending up with a franken, as these watches can't pass our thorough authentication process.
A “full set” describes a watch being offered with its original boxes and papers, along with any other accessories it was originally sold with. Collectors often favor full sets as a result of their completeness.
When one dealer lends a watch to another dealer or retailer in hopes that they can sell it to their clientele, the latter party is taking the watch “on memo,” and introducing it to a new audience for a commission. Short for memorandum, both dealers agree upon a sale price, along with the period of time the watch is being sent out on memo.
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