Box and Papers, Important or not?

Published on Tuesday 14th of December 2021
Watch Watch History Watch Care Rolex Omega Breitling

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When looking at buying pre-owned watches there are plenty out there that stipulate box and papers. Why is this important? Does it matter?

Firstly we must understand what the Box and Papers are to fully decide whether it is important to you.

The Box – This is usually the original leather (or leather synthetic) covered cardboard box that the watch would have originally come from if purchased from new from a main dealer. In Rolex case this is usually the green leather looking box with the wavy pattern on the lid and velour insides. Having said that there are a vast array of watch boxes nowadays, ranging from the case that the Omega Spacewatch comes in to the recycled PET box from Breitling, see our Breitling box review.

The Papers – Originally this would have been the certificate with the watches details on and used as a warranty document, however nowadays these are usually cards with minor details on such as the watches model and serial number and possibly a date of purchase. Some brands such as Breitling and Tag Heuer, have a QR code on their warranty cards that take you to a secure area of their website with the watches warranty information on.

So why is having the Box and Papers important?

Firstly lets look at this from the perspective of a watch seller.

With the box and papers you have a more desirable product and can therefore demand a higher price which is ultimately what you want when selling your beloved watch.

Then from the perspective of a watch buyer.

The watch, box and papers are considered to be the whole package and then more desirable. But matching the papers to the watch also reassures the buyer that the watch is genuine, particularly when buying from a second hand source (obviously this cannot always be accurate and we would always recommend buying from a reputable dealer). Also as a watch buyer you may also want to look at some of the accessories in the box (if it has any), which could include the bezel protector, swing tag(s), service documents and instruction books to name a few. These things may not sound like a lot but to a watch collector they can make the watch more desirable.


Rolex Box, Papers, Swing Tags
Rolex Full Set


Ultimately when buying a watch, with or without box and papers there is no right and wrong answer. Some people are only bothered about the watch and the condition, as if we are honest this is the main bit we would wear and enjoy. Whereas others want a full set and accessories. Deciding if box and papers are actually important is down to you and your feelings, as well as your budget. A complete set does demand a higher price and therefore if you buy without you maybe able to buy a much more desirable watch, but limit your resale prospects in the future.


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