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As any watch enthusiast will tell you, an early hurdle many collectors face is the question, “Where do I actually buy a watch?” I’ll be the first to admit to spending hours, days, and even weeks scouring the web for every shred of intel on my next favorite timepiece with the full intention to purchase before realizing — somewhat sheepishly — I have no idea where to actually buy the darn thing. For some collectors, buying a watch is often as easy as strolling into a boutique, swiping some plastic, and walking out with a twee little tote bag to commemorate the experience. But such a bespoke errand is often highly dependent on inventory and — for many people — proximity to a place that sells watches. For collectors living outside striking range of a major city that’s peppered with jewelers, watch shops, and brand boutiques, buying online has been the starting (and stopping) point for building a collection.

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It’s no controversy to say we’re living in the Golden Age of online watch-buying. More than ever, a deep selection of venues has combined with a wide array of purchasing methods to make watch shopping almost too easy. Whereas most e-commerce even a few years ago was conducted solely via traditional credit and debit networks, contemporary collectors can transact using everything from PayPal to payment plans, Amazon to Amex, and digital wallets to Discover Card. For those of us with an itchy click-to-buy finger, it’s almost as if the universe is telling us, “Go ahead. Buy it.”

All this comes together, of course, when the price is right. A foray into the website Ashford.com requires real fortitude, lest the hapless deal-hunter burns a hole in his credit card. Having locked in the aforementioned basics of online watch buying — great selection, available inventory, and versatile payment methods — Ashford.com goes further, providing a best-in-class selection of some of Switzerland’s best brands, as well as — most crucially — a purchase guarantee that will put even the most skittish buyer at ease. Browsing Ashford’s brand selection, a few standouts bear closer inspection.


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By its own description, Ashford has built a reputation for competitive pricing by purchasing large quantities of inventory, doing so based on intuition toward watch trends. Ashford’s experts keep a finger on the pulse of the watch public, stocking pieces that are attractive while keeping costs low. It takes experience to match pieces to prices and Ashford has optimized this over 25 years of business. In the game since 1997, it has charted a path that’s brought thousands of watches to wrists worldwide, backing each with a 2 year guarantee to ensure confidence.


Now part of Invicta, Glycine lays claim to a major landmark in watchmaking history: the world’s first timepiece capable of tracking two 24-hour zones. The modern Glycine Airman still makes use of the clever bezel system that moved the watch world forward in the 1950s, launching an entire category of timepieces: the GMT. Since that time, Glycine has expanded its repertoire with a broad collection of timepieces, including the perennially popular Combat Sub, a dive watch whose sturdy specs pay tribute to Glycine’s pioneering use of vacuum-sealed cases. Perhaps most notably, Glycine has found the sweet spot between moments in watchmaking, concurrently offering modern and vintage interpretations of their best timepieces. A quick cruise through Ashford’s collection reveals something else: these watches can often be had for less than expected. For example, a recent sale saw the GL0413 Airman for $599 USD, a fair sight below the €845 price listed on the official Glycine store.


Tissot’s broad lineup of watches includes select pieces featuring one of the best movements available today, the Powermatic 80. Since its introduction in 2012, the caliber has found its way into an increasing number of watches including many of Tissot’s women’s pieces. In the world of watches, the balance of specs versus materials is often tipped toward the latter. It’s not uncommon to find a simple quartz movement powering an 18k gold women’s watch. Tissot plays no such games, proudly installing the 80-hour power reserve movement in watches like the open-heart dial Lady Heart Flower. At the time of writing, $284 USD at Ashford gets you a chronometer certified mother-of-pearl dial on bracelet from the Ballade collection, including shipping. That’s an insane deal, no matter how you slice it.


Need to test drive a car? No problem. Visit a dealership, and in exchange for no more than your contact info, you’ll get the keys to a fully functioning metal machine capable of ferrying you cross-country. (Note: Dealerships don’t like it when you do that.) Need to test drive a watch? Sorry, pal. Thomas Earnshaw, a lesser-known watch brand that leans on a British(ish) heritage brings this dream a little closer with a catalog of watches encompassing original designs as well as homage pieces. Best highlighting this feature is the Palmerston men’s watch, a $509 USD affair available at Ashford. For that money, you’ll get a gold-tone timepiece with a hand-wound movement beneath a guilloché-stamped open-heart dial. Looking for something visually similar? Breguet’s Classique Complications tourbillon will run you approximately $123,000 USD.


Like Tissot, Hamilton’s catalog runs deep. Arguably one of the most collectible watches of all time, the Khaki Field, has made a name for itself as the ultimate Swiss starter watch. Robust specs, timeless design, and a staggering variety of sizes and colors make it Hamilton’s bread-and-butter timepiece. Even iconoclasts are drawn to some of the more obscure references within the lineup, such as the tan-dialed H70305993. Thanks to a beige canvas strap and “fauxtina” dial markings, it’s a self-referential visual pun and possibly the most “khaki” Khaki that Hamilton’s ever made. For all its cheek, it’s still a deadly serious tool watch with 100m of water resistance in a case that’s just 40mm in diameter — wearable on most wrists. Ashford’s current pricing — $329 USD — is more than a 50% discount off the “normal” price (then again, when it comes to watch buying, special emphasis is placed on the “s” in MSRP). Regardless of industry-wide pricing vagaries, Ashford’s discount represents a price that’s competitive with similar pre-owned pieces that certainly don’t come with box, papers, and a seller guarantee.

Visit the Ashford sale to shop now.

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