How Can I Buy Watches For Less Than Retail Prices?

Erez C. from Israel asks:

I think that i speak for most of the watch lovers that see this beautiful timepieces and wonder if there is any chance to get it at a lower price than the retail. Some of us just don't have the funds to afford such watches. I think that a small article about how to buy watches at the lowest cost will be much appreciated.

Watch brands don't like it when people talk about discounting because frankly, it hurts their business. Price discounting is a sort of consumer epidemic as companies have long since relied on the ability to make consumers feel like they are getting a good deal by allowing for discounting to happen a lot of the time. That doesn't play out as well in the luxury business. And have no confusion about it, for the most part, watches exist in the luxury business. If you like nice watches you sort of have to get used to the pricing.

Having said that, it doesn't take us to inform people that there is a very healthy market for used (pre-owned) and watches overall on the internet. Some people feel comfy buying online, and others prefer to meet with a dealer in person. Depending on the brand, prices are either very well-controlled or all over the place. There is no magic way to get nice watches at cheap prices unless you are interested in buying in bulk and buying from the brand directly.

It is pretty much common knowledge that products online are (at least today) less expensive that in many stores. But of course, that isn't always the case. You can also get used watches for less than new ones a lot. Again, this is obvious to most people. When it comes down to do it many really nice watch brands have priced themselves out of reach of normal people. That is just a fact. Having said that, there are some fantastic brands which are less expensive. So rather be upset over what you can't get right now, focus on the best of what you can afford and always keep that list around of what watches to buy if you get rich.

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  • MarcTravis

    The best thing I can say is this: Do your homework. Some brands or models (new) are very difficult to find below retail, due to high demand, exclusivity, or dealer agreements. Some are easy to find below retail, especially the more entry-level brands. Also, don’t be afraid to negotiate or shop around. Make it known that you are price shopping, and maybe you’ll get some price consideration right off the bat. Also know that going grey market does not mean you’ll get a better price. I’ve seen grey prices higher than what you can get in-store, and you’re already out the manufacturer’s warranty.

    And if you do negotiate (you always should), always be willing to walk away. If you aren’t willing to walk away without the watch, you have zero negotiating power. You need the self to control to say “no.” As a watch enthusiast, trust me, it’s not easy sometimes.

  • Faji

    If I want to sell watches online (new, orused) what is the best to do it. Store prices are always high. One can buy watch on eBay, Amazon, Overstock, etc. It is very difficult to beat their prices. There must be some way to sell online and offer competitive price. In watch business, especially if you buy online, it is impossible to differentiate between genuine and fake watches. Any comments?

  • Jus_ad_bellum

    I would say that the two best things are to look at forums like watchuseek for a trusted member to be selling something and find a good shop (jeweler) and make their acquaintance

  • hautejalapeno

    It’s a difficult question to ask ABTW. I’m sure the team know how to source a Quality watch and where is the best place to do so, but divulging that info may put the manufacturers noses out of joint and who would that help. But believe me there are ways you can end up paying less for a quality watch. 

    1, Travel far and wide. The prices of watches fluctuate from country to country. So buying a certain brand in, for example the US might be cheaper/more expensive than in say Hong Kong. 

    2, Avoid boutiques. This is not an absolute rule, but by and large you are more likely to get a discount from a AD that stocks a number of brands.. Having said that the Omega Boutique in Geneva was offering me a very nice and throwing in a free strap also. 

    3, Avoid paying for marketing. Let’s be honest, lots of people like a watch because a certain celeb endorses it, or a fictional character wears it to that brand sponsors your favourite sport. Marketing costs millions and that gets passed on to you. So find out what you really want in a watch and look for a lesser known brand that offers you the most for what your money can get. thats why people rave about companies like Nomos.

    4, Don’t expect any discount for certain brands. If you have a rolex in mind, then you will probably have to just save your cash and buy it at it’s rrp, Same goes for any of the high end brands. 

    The likelihood is you have two options, firstly set yourself a budget and get the most watch you can for the money, or pick your watch and see where you can get it the cheapest. Researching is often very rewarding. I also echo all of MarkTravis’comments.

    Good luck

  • Alex

    Sorry, ever heard of Jomashop and other gray dealers? Not mentioning them in this kind of article feels like a conspiracy theory ?