Usually, I would recommend that you buy your watches online. It is cheaper and you are going to have a much better selection. However, there are occasions when you want to buy something in an actual brick and motor store location. The might have something you want, or it is a simple matter of instant gratification.
Buy watches in a store is a lot like buying a car. Someone approaches you while you are just trying to browse to ask if you would like any help. Yes, they are working on commission, but they need to give you some place. Sometimes, I really just want to look. Other than asking “need any help today,” maybe they could offer some interesting information based on the watches I am checking out. I’d rather know about a special edition, sale offer, or fascinating technical detail, than how interested they are in how likely I am going to buy something that day. What this all means however is that you can bargain.
Let me just say that in most watch stores you can bargain up to 25% off. The 25% off rule as I call it. Don’t try this at Macy’s but it will work at jewelry stores and places like Tourneau. Further, it does not work on all brands. Rolex watches for example have no to little wiggle room. This is a requirement of Rolex, not the watch store. So don’t try on those. But for just about everything else you can bargain off 25% off the price with the sales person still earning a commission.
Here is what you do, if you aren’t endowed with the negotiating tongue. Ask them what the price for the watch is today. Most places will tell you a price based on the tag, or break out the calculator. Ignore what they are saying. Take the first price they give you and take 25% off. Say “you will still get a commission on this, and you know I can get as good a deal if not better online.” If that does not work. Say, I have cash, and will buy this right now at the price (for this you ought to have the cash, which is important because it means they don’t have to pay credit card processing fees and can report the sale at a lower price to avoid taxes). If that does not work, simply proceed to leave.
Don’t walk out just yet, stop to look at something else for a moment before leaving the store. Chances are they will say “OK” and give you the price. How do I know all this? Well beyond loving to bargain, I have been offered this discount at various watch stores, often without even asking. Not just small places, but corporate stores as well. Once I was in the Mont Blanc store in San Francisco discussing the watches with the store manager. Realized that I knew what I was talking about she informed me that she could take off 25% off any item. I didn’t even have to ask.
So take my advice and work the sales people a little bit before doing business. You are actually helping them, because they lose a lot of business to online sales. By showing them that you are willing to do business if they make prices more attractive, then you are showing them how to stay more competitive. Looking forward to hearing about your success!