Thinking about buying a high-end, luxury watch, such as a Rolex, for a loved one this holiday? Before you do, here’s what to know and think about, according to clockmaker.com.

Be honest—can you afford it?

Before actually buying a Rolex, the most important thing is to be honest with yourself if you can afford it. Will the watch be an asset or a liability? Do some research: There are various versions of Rolexes out there, with an official, brand new Rolex being the most expensive. Also, consider buying pre-owned, but make sure it’s a real Rolex or other high-end manufacturer. Assess your financial situation carefully and honestly, and choose your watch accordingly.

Make sure it’s real.

In the past, fake Rolex and other high-end knock-off watches were so poorly made that it was usually easy to distinguish them from the genuine item. Today, counterfeit watches can be almost impossible to distinguish (to the untrained eye) from the world-renowned masterpieces. Online auction houses and individual Internet sellers commonly offer very convincing copies. If you want a genuine Rolex or other specific designer, make it clear to the dealer that you are interested in seeing and buying only a 100% genuine, unaltered watch — including the watch band.

Make sure the dealer is legit.

Even a pre-owned luxury watch is an expensive item. It is absolutely essential that you buy from a knowledgeable dealer you know you can trust. Every year, people are scammed out of millions of dollars thinking they are buying “the real thing,” when in fact it’s a knock off. That is why it is important to buy a new or used high-end watch from a knowledgeable and reputable dealer, preferably in a brick and mortar store you can visit in person. If you do find one online that you like, read reviews on the company and make sure their return terms are clearly stated.

A new luxury watch can be purchased from an authorized dealer or it can be obtained from an independent, unauthorized watch dealer selling new, near-new, pre-owned, or vintage watches. If your objective is to purchase a new, current model watch and to save on the price, or if you are looking for a specific model no longer available from an authorized dealer, then buying from an independent watch dealer is a good option. To find an authorized dealer in your area, visit the manufacturer’s website for dealers in your area.

Understand the guarantees.

Before buying, ask the seller if the watch is an authentic, unaltered piece, and if they offer an unconditional money back guarantee. Also ask for a full, written, timekeeping and water resistance guarantee with the watch for one full year, and that the bracelet contains only authentic parts.

Confirm that it’s in good working order.

Also before you buy, make sure the watch is working properly, and has been serviced by an authorized manufacturer service center, or reputable and experienced independent watchmaker known to specialize in high-end watches.

Get the model and serial number.

Make sure you get and check the model and serial number of the watch before buying. The dealer should give you the opportunity to take the bracelet off and check the numbers located between the lugs.

Take your time deciding.

Whether you are buying a new or pre-owned luxury watch, choose carefully and don’t allow yourself to be rushed into buying. Do your research, and if necessary, ask the dealer to hold the watch for you for a day or two while you consider buying it.

Trust your instinct: if the deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Make sure you are 100% satisfied with the watch and the purchase—this is an heirloom item that should last your lifetime and be handed down to the next generation. Finally, once you buy, insure it and enjoy it!

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