Swiss Watch Fair
The Swiss Watch Fair is a milestone event when it comes to trade fairs open to the public. It takes place in the beautiful Hans Erni auditorium of the Watch History Museum in La Chaux-de-Fonds.
About 50 dealers have a table, with watches and clocks for sale. Most are antique / vintage, with also some more recent pre-owned offerings. While the focus is definitely on watches for sale, it is usually possible to bring in a watch of your own and trade in or sell to one of the dealers.
Rue des Musées, 29 - 2300 La Chaux-de-Fonds (Google Maps)
On the first Sunday of November. The next one (47th edition) will take place on Sunday, November 5, 2023 from 10 am to 4.30 pm.
Please note access to the hall opens 1 hour before, but only for professionals selling at the event.
How much? 8 CHF, which is actually for the entrance to the museum.
SWE Rating: Excellent
Some of the best deals are made at the very beginning, or at the very end. In order to be among the first to enter, it is recommended to arrive about 30 minutes before opening. Waiting in line is not unpleasant, with a coffee bar and beautiful watches on display.
Because the entrance ticket to the fair is effectively one for the museum, why not combine both? The museum is fantastic (more here), and can be the perfect activity between hunting for early and late deals at the fair. You might even learn a thing or two about a specific watch or clock you are interested in buying downstairs!
SWE tips for any vintage / pre-owned purchase:
Confirm whether the watch is in working order, and if it is guaranteed.
Ask whether there is a known service history on the watch.
If the box has its original papers / warranty, that's always preferred, but it should not be a deal-breaker especially if it is truly vintage (30+ years).
If the watch has luminescent material on the dial and hands, ask the seller if it is radium (typically until the 1960s), tritium (usually until 1999), or luminova / superluminova (to date). Radium and tritium are radioactive substances. While tritium has very low radioactivity and is considered safe on a watch, the Swiss government advises against wearing a watch containing radium. That said, many vintage enthusiasts actually value radium due to its aesthetically pleasing patina and consider the risk to be low.