I have been asked many times in the last few years by collectors and the watch buying community “Should I shop online to buy a luxury watch” ? I finally want to break this question down and address it because I think it’s very important.
The internet is one of the most amazing resources we have today. I buy things online all the time like coffee, books, certain clothing items like socks, some electronics and day-to-day stuff that makes my life easier. When buying the bigger stuff, like cars or watches I tend to be more cautious. I think online is a great place to get information and educate yourself on buying a timepiece, but actually buying online? I don’t recommend this at all. Let me tell you why.
Most of the time when buying online, you are buying from what’s called a grey market dealer. These are online places where they have brand new watches that have been discontinued or current watches, but they are not authorized to sell them from the manufacturers. As a result, you the consumer might save money but will not get a manufacturers warranty. You will get all sorts of warranty enticements from the grey market dealer, like free batter changes for life or free services or free bracelet adjustments but the bottom line is you really don’t know what they are doing to your watch. We all want to save money, but you have to be smart, if the deal sounds too good, it normally is. By saving yourself money in the short-term, you are potentially creating a future of problems to come.
For instance, if you choose to ever sell your watch for any reason, because it doesn’t have an original manufacturers warranty and has another party’s warranty, this makes it a lot more difficult to sell to another potential buyer. Also, should you choose to send it back to the original manufacturer for repair, you run the risk of the watch being confiscated or the manufacturer not being able to work on it because it’s already been tampered with by another party. If the manufacturer should choose to work on it, they could potentially charge you a lot more money to fix it then it’s even worth.
When most people buy a watch online, they are purely looking to save money. They don’t care about anything else. This is a very short sided approach to spending thousands of dollars for a luxury item. At the end of the day, you have the choice to do what’s best for you, but please do your research and buy from a reputable place. At least buy a product that you get a manufacturers warranty from. Please don’t get me wrong, there are times when you are going in knowing all the facts and you have made an informed decision which you can live with. On the other hand, if you are new to the online luxury watch market place, I hope this article helps to inspire you to take a moment to ask all the pertinent questions before you make this sort of investment.