This grading system was developed to make it easier for you to understand how we evaluate our products. Unless stated otherwise, all our watches come with box and papers.
How do you know the watches you are looking at online are being described accurately? For example, a seller may describe a watch as in “really good condition”, but if it’s not described against an agreed-upon scale, then it could mean anything – or nothing!
You, as a buyer should always check to see whether a watch is described using an accepted grading system. This is the only way you will know the true condition of a watch in terms that everyone can agree with.
We at Watch Vault NYC use the “Timezone System” in grading watches. It is the most well-known and widely-used method of grading and describing watches. If a watch is described against this scale, you will have a pretty solid idea of what you’re getting.
“Like New In Box” or LNIB
A pre-owned watch that has been worn, yet is in perfect condition. Accompanied by the factory box(es), tags and documentation. No alterations from factory-delivered condition. The warranty papers must be stamped to establish the authenticity and validity of the watch. No bracelet resizing or marks of any kind. 100%
A pre-owned watch that is in very nearly perfect condition. Signs of wear are visible with a low powered loupe. May be a watch that is in LNIB condition but not accompanied by the factory box(es) or documentation. May refer to an older watch that has been restored, so long as the restoration returned the watch to very nearly perfect factory original condition. Working perfectly, keeping excellent time, needs nothing. 98-100%
Showing very light signs of wear. Faint scratches on the case, bezel, bracelet or buckle are visible to the naked eye. Completely original in every way. Strap shows light use – may be bent or lightly creased, but not stained. Bracelet may be resized. The watch is working perfectly, keeping very good time and needs nothing. 93-97%
Evidence of use is visible to the unaided eye. Scratches are light, but more numerous than “near mint”. If the watch has been restored, all original replacement parts have been used. Strap clearly used but no stains. No dents or dings are detectable, and the bracelet has little wear. Working perfectly, needs no repair or service. 88-92%
The watch shows what might be considered normal wear by a careful owner who wore the watch regularly. Scratches are evident, but no nicks or dings. May have replacement parts and/or a high quality redial. Running and keeping good time, though may need minor regulation. A sound, attractive presentation overall. 83-87%
Nothing fundamentally wrong with the watch, though it has quite obviously been used. Running and wearable, but may gain or lose a few minutes over 24 hours. Case may show a few dings, nicks, or deep scratches. May have a redial that is not up to high standards. May not have all original parts. 77-82%
Well used, may require service and/or restoration to be useable. May be running erratically. Dial, case, and other major components may not be original, but no pieces are missing. Even an untrained eye could tell the watch is worse for wear. Some might call it rough. 72-76%
Shows abuse, requires service and/or restoration. May have major cosmetic flaws, missing parts, may not run at all. A speculative piece – ‘fixer-upper’ would be too generous. Not junk, but requires lots of work to be made wearable. 66-71%