WATCH BUYING: WHERE TO BUY AN AUTHENTIC WATCH
Once you’ve discovered the right watch to buy or you know what type of watch you are looking for, it is important to know where to buy. After all, it’s your money! We have put together some tips and helpful pointers that will save you money and perhaps give you a better piece of mind.
The major thing to understand is what it means to buy from an authorized dealer vs. an unauthorized dealer or secondhand dealer.
An authorized watch dealer is one who is part of the manufacturer network. The manufacturer will sell directly to the dealer and in turn the dealer will have authentic watches (directly from the manufacturer). Authorized dealers also honor the manufacturer’s warranty or rather the manufacturer honors warranties for watches purchased through their dealer network. Manufacturers also have control/input on discounts and pricing information by their authorized dealer network. Many Swiss watch manufacturers such as Rolex, Breitling, and OMEGA warn about purchasing watches on the internet because the consumer does not know whether the watch is authentic or has original parts. You may have heard the phrase that watches purchased on the internet are of “dubious origin” and may have married parts (from various watches. Some manufacturers forbid their dealers to list prices of their watches online. They do this to better control their sales and they don’t want you to be confused online. It is an easier mental break to acknowledge that all new Rolex watches advertised online are from second-hand dealers. If you want to purchase a new watch from an authorized dealer, you must resort to finding a retail store. In addition, several manufacturers stand behind warranties of new watches purchased only from authorized dealers. Any watches purchased by secondary dealers must be covered through that dealer opposed to the manufacturer who makes the watch.
Still, secondary dealers online are in a much better position today than an authorized dealer. They offer steep discounts to customers, often 20-30%+ off retail. Some authorized dealers will work with customers, but they have to be careful on what discounts they provide given they are closely watches and monitored by the manufacturer. New watches seldom need repair and typically, secondary dealers will utilize trained watch personnel to perform repairs. Today, several online giants have growing reputations online for selling authentic watches at great prices. In turn, they are able to do $20+ million a year in business.
How do secondary dealers get their new watches? Some authorized dealers have pressure from manufacturers to sell volume. In turn, they often sell off inventory at deep discounts to secondary dealers. Many online secondary dealers in the United States receive their new inventory from authorized dealers overseas. It is more difficult to track sales that way for manufacturers. The typical watch buyer is not aware of this arrangement and may only hear that it is bad by the manufacturer to purchase online. This is an important fact on how both entities work together behind the scenes. However, to the consumer there is a different front than the arrangement that many of them have behind-the-scenes.
Either way, you as a buyer lean to buy your new watch, we advise checking out the following and ensuring your watch has the following:
- Serial number(s)
- All papers/original box
- Warranty – who covers this? What are the terms?
- Inspection – if you purchase your watch online, take your watch to an authorized dealer to have it inspected for authenticity and peace of mind