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Guide To Buying Watches Online Versus In Retail Stores

Guide To Buying Watches Online Versus In Retail Stores Watch Buying Photo credit: Tourneau

Physical stores also have some advantages over the virtual stores. Many of them attract walk-by customers by carefully arranging their exterior displays, having a welcoming foyer, nicely dressed and friendly staff and a good collection from a variety of brands. I would hazard a guess that half of their sales are from people just walking into the store never having had the intention to make a watch purchase that day.

I’ve put together a little table for you here on the pros and cons of virtual versus physical stores and coming up shortly in this article, I’m going to provide tips and things to consider when making your next watch purchase. This will apply to both sellers and buyers.

On-line Store

Physical Store

Pros

  • Generally less expensive
  • Broad selection
  • Global presence
  • No pushy salespeople
  • Regular sales and markdowns
  • Get to try on
  • Easily compare models/brands
  • Quick answers to questions
  • Immediate gratification
  • Faster after-sales service
  • Personalized buying experience

Cons

  • Returns can be a hassle
  • May not be authorized
  • Answers to questions may take days
  • Popular models more likely to be sold out
  • Can’t inspect watch nor try on
  • Language barriers
  • Screen colours often not accurate
  • Hyperbole is prevalent – why is this a “professional” watch anyway?
  • Generally more expensive
  • Narrower selection
  • Watch may have been tried on by numerous people

I’m really not advocating one type of purchase over the other, it’s going to be a matter of preference, timing and convenience. Just keep in mind that given the choice, you are almost always going to have a more enjoyable post-purchase experience (and likely pre-purchase too) with a bricks and mortar store. Watches can be finicky, and you need to have someone there to take care of issues when they occur.

It is also important to say that we have no problem at all with on-line sales from stores that have an actual physical store location. There are lots of opportunities to buy on-line from an authorized dealer and have the same level of accountability and service – just remotely.

Of course, you may not have a choice. For example, Christopher Ward makes some fine timepieces at incredible prices. If you want one, you’re going to have to buy on-line. But, they are a bit of an exceptional on-line brand and others could learn from them. Their website is well designed, they have lots of high quality photos, ordering is quick and easy and shipping is very fast. When I received my CW C60 Trident, there was a personally signed note from the president, a note guaranteeing I would be pleased, a nice polishing cloth and an indication that the watch was inspected and tested before being shipped.

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SevenFriday also tries to take some of the guesswork out of purchasing one of their watches. You can print out scale photos of one of their three models and try it on your wrist!

Guide To Buying Watches Online Versus In Retail Stores Watch Buying

Now, I’d like to give you some tips when buying from the two types of stores. Feel free to add your own tips or personal experiences in the comments section. I’ll try to respond quickly.

Buying from an On-line Retailer

  • If appropriate, make sure they are an authorized dealer (AD) for the brand. This will help protect your warranty.
  • Make sure you know the case diameter you want and ensure the measurements on the site give you diameter with and without the crown/pushers.
  • Ask them if they regulate the movements themselves or if they are a reseller/packager.
  • Ask them to inspect and test the watch before shipping.
  • Ask for an inspection checklist (day/date change works and is centered, chronograph and other complications work and pointers are set properly, no cosmetic damage, all paperwork is intact, timing is good (takes just a few minutes to test the watch on a timing machine), etc.
  • Ask what their return policy is if you don’t like the watch. Is there a restocking fee?
  • Ask about their warranty policy. Who pays for shipping, where does the watch need to be sent if there’s a problem?
  • Is the owner/brand active in the watch community? Do they seem to care about their product?
  • Check the community for reviews and impressions keeping in mind the possibility of bogus reviews.
  • Make sure you check this site for impressions and experiences with the brand/product.
  • If you end up paying import taxes and duties, keep the receipts. If you have to send the watch out of country, you may end up having to pay again – the receipts will get you your money back.

Buying from a Physical Retailer

  • Make sure they are an authorized dealer (AD) for the brand.
  • Luxury watch stock doesn’t turn over that quickly, your watch will have been tried on by many people. Check for scratches in the case, bracelet and crystal. In some cases, ask for safe stock (watches not on display but in the safe), they may have the same model that has never been out for the public to fondle.
  • Check that all functions work correctly and that on watches with complications, the pointers/hands line up with their markers correctly. It bugs me when I’m looking at a $10,000 watch and the chronograph seconds hand doesn’t reset precisely to zero.
  • Ensure you have a good idea of what you want before entering the store (i.e. dress watch, chronograph, material type, band or strap, preferred brand etc.). This will save you and the salesperson some frustration.
  • Show professionalism, take off your watch and jewellery before trying on their products.
  • If the salesperson bangs the watches against the case or other watches as they’re being removed to show to you, find another retailer. This one doesn’t care enough to make sure their staff are properly trained. I’ve left many a store for this exact reason.
  • Ask how long they’ve been in business and how long they’ve carried the brand you are interested in.
  • Know the prices available from on-line retailers and other competitors. This will give you some ability to negotiate. Even retailers that say they have fixed prices will negotiate if you’re ready to make the purchase.
  • Make sure you take everything with you including the right box, warranty materials, receipts, extra links (from resizing), and tags. May not seem like a big deal at the time but for servicing and resale, these items will make a large difference.
  • A lot of luxury watch stores have a no-return policy. Make sure you really, really like what you are buying. If it’s a gift, make sure that you can at least get a store credit if the watch is not the right one for him/her.

Retail (virtual or physical) Turn Offs:

  • Inaccurate descriptions – even larger brands aren’t immune to this. I purchased a Frederique Constant watch only to find it didn’t have a screw-down crown and, it was 42mm not 43. As of the date of this article, their website is still wrong in spite of having let them know of the errors.
  • No guest mode for purchases (not everyone wants to create an account)
  • Bored salespersons
  • Eager salespersons who came running up to serve you (you really wanted the older, relaxed gentleman or lady) but don’t know anything about the product and so they need the more experienced person who now is busy with a customer who came in after you.
  • No guest seating – why am I forced to stand at a counter?
  • Hidden price tags – let us see the damn prices
  • Shipments that happen weeks after you order a product when it said it was in stock
  • Only one photo or poor quality photos
  • Salespeople who don’t treat you as someone special. Believe or not, I was in the process of selecting a Rolex to buy at an AD when someone new came in. Without a word, the saleslady left me to go serve him. About ten minutes later, she came back (the older gentleman didn’t buy a thing). I thanked her for her time (brusquely I might add) and left.
  • Requests for surveys that ask you for feedback on the website when you’ve barely even landed on the home page
  • No shipping options other than the one they’ve decided is best for you – because you know, they’ve a better idea of what works in your city than you do.
  • No ability to create a wish list
  • Your special “limited edition” watch of 50 pieces never seems to sell out – tell us how many are left!
  • Add your own pet peeve here: ___________________________________

We’re at the end of what I hope was an interesting and useful article. We watch folks love many different brands and models and we’re sad when something doesn’t meet our expectations. Take the time to do a little bit of investigating before you buy and keep in mind the above tips. It may save you some disappointment and ensure that your new watch exceeds your expectations in every way.

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  • ExperimentJon

    Good article.  Helpful pointers and good points.  
    One thing I hate about buying in brick and mortar is that you often run into snobby salespeople who give awful service when they think you have no money.  I’m a young guy, 23, and when I head to the mall, I tend to dress in t-shirt/shorts/sneakers and put a fun (usually inexpensive) watch on.  There have been times where I’ve been flat out ignored in empty stores, and others where the sales staff is visibly disengaged when talking to me.  You can bet I have not and will never return to those places.

    Granted, some ADs are better than others, I remember walking into Waikiki Tourneau wearing some Seiko Diver and flip flops, and got amazing service even though I made it clear to the salesperson that I was really just browsing and wasn’t ready to buy at the time. He let me try on a wide array of Omegas since I was on the market for a PO.  (Ended up getting it online since as much as I enjoyed the service, I enjoy saving a few hundred dollars more.)

    So it’s hard out there for brick and mortar.  Bad service they lose, and good service, they can still lose if they’re just show rooming.  I think the places that have the best chance for survival with loyal customers are those with value-added services like in-house repair or trade-in programs.  Those services can’t be easily replaced by online retailers.

  • Ulysses31

    Physical stores simply don’t carry the variety of brands that you can find online.  Unless you’re a generic luxury watch customer and are satisfied with Rolex/Omega/Panerai, you’re not going to be satisfied with what they offer.  Second thing is, I dislike the way watches are displayed at physical stores.  Underneath blazing bright lights you can’t even look at the watch without sunglasses, and you can’t appreciate the colours or subtle details that are washed out beneath the glare.  I’d like to see what it looks like in normal use.

    • Mark Bornais

      Yes, they can probably make cow paddies look good. Check out some of the retailers that only sell watches. You’ll likely be surprised at the variety they carry and you may even be introduced to some new brands. Jewelry stores that also carry watches are usually the ones that are more generic. See my response a few posts above about taking the watch away from the bright lights.

    • You are right Ulysses that physical stores lacks the varieties of brands watches so online stores is the perfect place to buy branded watches as they also provide you the high discounts compare to stores.Last week i have purchased two pairs of ladies watches from H&H Jewellery Stores:Website:
      https://www.hhjewellery.com.au/watches

  • MarkCarson

    I agree that lack of price information, both on-line and in brick and mortar is irritating. Let’s see the price damn it! 
    Think back to the dark days before Amazon and eBay. No one trusted buying anything on line. Heck, a couple of decades before that (I’m really old) no one wanted to give their credit card numbers out to mail order catalog stores, etc. So the process is gradual but inevitable that many many goods will be primarily purchased online. And while the physical store experience can be very pleasant (I enjoy going to my local car dealership as they treat me right and by dealing with them for 14 years I know just about everyone there) when the price difference is too great, people will vote with their wallets.
    And I feel for physical stores who rightfully fear that people come check out their wares and then go purchase the same thing on-line instead. And mall rents (Hi, I’m your new revenue sharing partner as well as your  landlord) keep retail prices where they are. So how close the spread is between on-line vice brick and mortar for the same watch is more a function of how much the on-line seller wants to make as opposed to how much the brick and mortar seller is will to discount.
    No clear answers but I have purchased Seikos from an online AD for years without any problems. So either way I think the sellers reputation does matter. I trust  Amazon more than other online sources as I’ve had good luck with them for years, etc.
    If the airlines are any indication of the future of watch sales, then brick and mortar is terminally ill. Price pressure has eliminated personal service for the most part with airline reservations and ticketing. Remember city ticket offices? Or airline phone numbers where the  phone was answered by a human? Costly and in our collective rush to save money we screwed ourselves out of persona service. Either way, whatever we end up with, we have ourselves to blame for it. The Brand will react to market forces because in the end they want to sell watches, not support retailers (or online sellers). 
    Cheers

    • Mark Bornais

      Air travel is very much a commodity purchase now with few differences between the airlines. Luxury watches, not as much. Personal service is still an important part of the buying experience. Price is not as much of a factor in this market. For the more common watches like regular-line Seikos, Citizens, Swatch, etc, buying on-line is normally much more convenient and quick.

      I’m from the dark days too but was one of the first to embrace the convenience of on-line purchasing. Back then it was more personal though. You could usually talk to a living, breathing human. These days, half the vendors (not talking watches here) won’t even back the products they sell. I hate this trend where you buy from one place and have to deal with another for warranty work. I want the store that sold me the product to take care of any problems. Not slough me off to another country or city.

      Agree that it’s our fault. We’ve become very price focused as it’s so easy to do on-line comparisons these days.

  • AlbertoPerez

    It will be nice if sellers know about watches in general, my experience is very poor and I can accept to pay a little more (a little) not for a coffee or a drink, but for some advise or technical help. But everyone knows that sooner or later the business will be at the net …

    • Mark Bornais

      Agreed and for new watch lovers, you are taking a chance with getting the right salesperson.

  • GeoffBot

    Isn’t Amazon’s own warranty better then most manufacturers’? They replace it if it’s defective, as opposed to fix it, no? I don’t see how brick and mortars could ever match online grey pricing what with their overheads.

    • Mark Bornais

      From my experience it’s basically the same. Many retailers will offer free extended warranties and registering a watch with the manufacturer can also extend the warranty by a year or so. Yes, it’s a tough market for bricks and mortar stores. They need to focus on luxury watches with their correspondingly higher margins or sell a shit load of low-mid end watches. I also think there’s a market out there for stores that specialize only in used watches and trades.

  • FalconerInd

    GeoffBot My better half work for a manufacturer of child safety products, their policy is that the retailer is the point of contact for the customer in case of problem with the product (the stores are given training by the brand and have specific forms to use). Yet some of her company products end up on Amazon (which is not an official retailer except in Germany where the brand is based), when there is an issue (rarely but still does happens) amazon automaticaly send the customer to the manufacturer, which is not how they have set up to operate…. endless ping pong ensue. Not to say that either amazon or my wife company is wrong, just that i prefer to buy from a retailer if i can…

    • Mark Bornais

      I made a comment somewhere in these posts that I really hate it when whoever sold me the product sends me somewhere else for warranty work.

  • prieur

    I am not sure whether it is allowed on this site, but it will be very complementary to the article to learn about online dealers where you have had both good and bad experiences. If this as already been covered at other places, please direct me there.

    • Mark Bornais

      Like an Angie’s List for watch resellers? It’s probably a good idea but there’s usually enough third party reviews of the watches and the dealers that you can get a pretty good sense of what’s up. The quality of the web site can also be a guide (well laid out, good photos, organized, little or no spelling errors, many payment options, a real address, etc). Because there are so many web-only dealers, an exhaustive list would be many thousands long. Do some careful Google searches, check out some of the on-line enthusiast communities and you’ll probably do OK.

  • Fraser Petrick

    When I went to Tourneau’s in Las Vegas, it was a glimpse of heaven. Here were all the exotic watches I had seen only in magazines or on the internet. A brand I had coveted turned out to be quite ugly in real life. Another that had seemed to be rather pedestrian in styling when not seen in the flesh sparkled, glowed, and called my name. Whether the watch is $300 or $3000+, you have to meet in person to see if there’s any chemistry. I might buy a novelty product on line from Watchismo for under $200, no significant harm done. Otherwise, my wrist mate and I have to meet – in person. (My wife and I once booked into the Dump of Fort Lauderdale based on a picture where the photographer plunked a hibiscus between his camera and the aforementioned dump.)

    • Mark Bornais

      Well said!

  • Fraser Petrick

    Ulysses31 I love/hate jewelry store lighting, but I fall for it every time. “All that glisters is not gold” (Shakespeare or W.C. Fields)

    • Mark Bornais

      That’s one of the things I was going to mention but the article got too long. Take the watch outside (make sure the salesperson accompanies you to save the embarrassing tackling by the security guard) and see what it looks like in non-jewelry store lighting. You may find it becomes much harder or easier to read.

  • mtchistory

    Mark, thank you for the article!  I feel online buying vs. in person for watches is something much more complicated than just prices! I have done both, and enjoyed both (including Christopher Ward).  Last year I bought a Frederique Constant watch with a metal bracelet off of Amazon.  A great watch, and a great overall product.  However, when I tried the watch on, I found myself in between link sizes.  The bracelet was not designed to have micro adjustors at the clasp, and it was either too tight or too loose.  In the end I was able to return the item with little hassle.   Still, had I visited an AD and examined the watch I could have saved myself a lot of time.

    • Mark Bornais

      You are very welcome! I often can’t get a watch to be perfectly sized either. And, your wrist circumference will change with the seasons and your body’s chemistry. I wouldn’t send a watch back for that type of an issue as there are thousands of third party straps that offer many fine tuning options. But, for sure, getting to try something on is no substitute for photos. At least the basic specs should be accurate, not a like a blind date where you’re likely to experience a variance of +/- 20 or thirty pounds 🙂

  • Shawnnny

    “We guess that in a few years time, on-line and in-store prices are going to start to match up more and more.” Only if the Brick and Morter or B&M (not “Bricks and Morter) are willing to drastically lower their prices. Pictures do not do any watch justice. That is truly the only advantage that a retail store has over an online store.

    • Mark Bornais

      If you can show me a retail location built from only one brick, I’ll modify 🙂 For sure, you can get an idea that you generally like something but you won’t really know for certain until you see it in person. And as another comment mentioned, you may fall in love with a watch that you always considered ugly.

  • WatchGuru

    GeoffBotFrom my experience it’s basically the same. Many retailers will offer free extended warranties and registering a watch with the manufacturer can also extend the warranty by a year or so. Yes, it’s a tough market for bricks and mortar stores. They need to focus on luxury watches with their correspondingly higher margins or sell a shit load of low-mid end watches. I also think there’s a market out there for stores that specialize only in used watches and trades.

  • WatchGuru

    FalconerInd I made a comment somewhere in these posts that I really hate it when whoever sold me the product sends me somewhere else for warranty work. Mark Bornais

  • WatchGuru

    AlbertoPerezAgreed and for new watch lovers, you are taking a chance with getting the right salesperson. Mark Bornais

  • WatchGuru

    MarkCarsonAir travel is very much a commodity purchase now with few differences between the airlines. Luxury watches, not as much. Personal service is still an important part of the buying experience. Price is not as much of a factor in this market. For the more common watches like regular-line Seikos, Citizens, Swatch, etc, buying on-line is normally much more convenient and quick.
    I’m from the dark days too but was one of the first to embrace the convenience of on-line purchasing. Back then it was more personal though. You could usually talk to a living, breathing human. These days, half the vendors (not talking watches here) won’t even back the products they sell. I hate this trend where you buy from one place and have to deal with another for warranty work. I want the store that sold me the product to take care of any problems. Not slough me off to another country or city.
    Agree that it’s our fault. We’ve become very price focused as it’s so easy to do on-line comparisons these days. Mark Bornais

  • WatchGuru

    Ulysses31Yes, they can probably make cow paddies look good. Check out some of the retailers that only sell watches. You’ll likely be surprised at the variety they carry and you may even be introduced to some new brands. Jewelry stores that also carry watches are usually the ones that are more generic. See my response a few posts above about taking the watch away from the bright lights. Mark Bornais

  • WatchGuru

    prieurLike an Angie’s List for watch resellers? It’s probably a good idea but there’s usually enough third party reviews of the watches and the dealers that you can get a pretty good sense of what’s up. The quality of the web site can also be a guide (well laid out, good photos, organized, little or no spelling errors, many payment options, a real address, etc). Because there are so many web-only dealers, an exhaustive list would be many thousands long. Do some careful Google searches, check out some of the on-line enthusiast communities and you’ll probably do OK. Mark Bornais

  • WatchGuru

    Fraser PetrickThat’s one of the things I was going to mention but the article got too long. Take the watch outside (make sure the salesperson accompanies you to save the embarrassing tackling by the security guard) and see what it looks like in non-jewelry store lighting. You may find it become much harder or easier to read. Mark Bornais

  • WatchGuru

    mtchistoryYou are very welcome! I often can’t get a watch to be perfectly sized either. And, your wrist circumference will change with the seasons and your body’s chemistry. I wouldn’t send a watch back for that type of an issue as there are thousands of third party straps that offer many fine tuning options. But, for sure, getting to try something on is no substitute for photos. At least the basic specs should be accurate, not a like a blind date where you’re likely to experience a variance of +/- 20 or thirty pounds 🙂 Mark Bornais

  • WatchGuru

    Shawnnny If you can show me a retail location built from only one brick, I’ll modify  For sure, you can get an idea that you generally like something but you won’t really know for certain until you see it in person. And as another comment mentioned, you may fall in love with a watch that you always considered ugly. Mark Bornais

  • WatchGuru

    ExperimentJonI think Tourneau is one of the better retail stores for treating customers equally. I was in one of their stores recently when two young ladies came in wearing regular clothing. The spent ten minutes looking at the Rolexes and being politely served. Twenty minutes later they walked out with a brand new Rolex. You just never know if someone has money or not. Even more importantly, the person that can’t buy today is very likely a future customer. Treat them well no matter what and you’ll build loyalty and desire. Mark Bornais

  • Rwhanco

    I’ve purchased probably 300 watches in the past, maybe 100 or so of those would be considered “high end” (Breitling, Omega, Zenith).  I’d say that about 30% of them were purchased retail with the other 70% being purchased online or used (Timezone, watchuseek forum).  I am in Raleigh, NC and there are literally only 3 places that I can even see watches in person and those choices are limited to Omega, Breitling, and Rolex with a few odds and ends.  The only reason I purchased the 30% retail was that the dealer who will remain nameless was giving me 25% off.  It always boils down to this for me…..I can almost buy 2 watches for the price of 1 when buying online.  I’d rather have grief over links not fitting, buying extra links, or dealing with shipping back something I don’t want than paying 2x for the watch.  Example…I purchased a 30K Zenith for 12K…brand new, with full warranty…and sold it later for more than I paid.  If you’re careful and buy from a site that has good references, or truly has been in business for years….I think you’ll be satisfied.  For those that must “touch” the watch, I understand…but just recognize that you are truly being shafted because of the margins……

  • MarkCarson

    WatchGuru I think that air travel has become a commodity purchase but years ago it was not. The reservations agent would help route you, look for good seats and good deals. I hear ya about watches being different but for very well known models (Rolex DateJust, Omega Speedmaster, etc.) they do approach being commodity purchases because as you noted, price comparison searches on the web allow them to be so. Cheers.

  • hisyam

    GeoffBotIf you buy from a grey dealer then you’ll not get the factory warranty. It’s nice that Amazon will offer a replacement but what if the model that you bought it’s not available anymore? What if you really like that model and you don’t want a replacement from other models?

  • Tekky

    Utterly anecdotal.  And given the examples (newly purchased), the author is just plain ineffective at dealing with businesses.
    I’ve had troubles with a Tissot bought in a brick-and-mortar high end jewelry store and a Traser (that cost far more than the Tissot) from Amazon.  The Tissot warranty took a long time and cost money.  The Traser… I returned postage-free and got a replacement quickly.
    Brick-and-mortar have higher overhead, but many online places have a better standard for service, at least for the first 90 days.  As in during the return period.  And after that, either type of place expects you to send your piece to the centralized warranty center anyhow.

  • WatchGuru

    Tekky Not anecdotal. These are real examples of what has happened to me in my 20+ years of buying and selling watches.Mark B.

  • prieur

    Thanks for all the posts, but I am really keen for people to share with us a name or two of top-notch online dealers, and ditto for real bad ones. I am sure we can all learn from other peoples’ experiences.

  • Tekky

    WatchGuru Tekky Mark, anecdotal doesn’t mean it didn’t happen or it didn’t happen to you.  Just means it’s not statistically (or scientifically) measured and therefore may be cherry-picked data.
    My experience is also real world, and that experience is that the two online places I’ve had to deal with watch warranty issues with – Amazon and some big internet dealer that mostly sells knives – have been better than my high-end store experiences.  
    B&M have big advantages.  Warranty support is, in my opinion, a DISADVANTAGE of B&M because they just pawn it off, mostly because they aren’t at the scale of an internet dealer and can’t leverage that power.

  • WatchGuru

    Maybe it has to do with where you live but dropping off a watch at a retailer is a lot simpler than packaging and shipping. Maybe it also depends on the brand. Did you read about my Breitling experience? No question on-line is a big part of our watch buying future. But it’s not the only future. Mark B.

  • WatchGuru

    RwhancoThere’s a lot of truth in what you say and I enjoy hearing about personal experiences like yours. As Ariel mentions, prices will start to align somewhat but no B&M will ever be able to compete on price alone. If lowest cost is what you’re looking for then on-line is almost always your best bet. And if the majority of watch buyers feel the same, you’ll eventually have a lot less than three watch retailers in NC! 
    I bought an RC helicopter on-line recently and had a problem. The company I bought it from (in the US) told me they don’t handle warranty work and directed me to company in the UK who never got back to me. I hope that’s not where we’re headed.

  • Tekky

    WatchGuru I don’t find retailers easy to deal with.  Plus I do a number of internet-only purchases that may result in a different preference and skill set than you’ve had to develop.
    My Christopher Ward watch (probably my primary timepiece, if I can be said to have one) and my Brooklyn Bedding mattress, were both mail order only items.  No B&M choice.  Most of my computer stuff has to be, simply because locally I can’t get the parts I want.  Too bleeding edge.  The kit I outfit the RV with has been – after all, who carries RV power converted, 12V LED lighting, awning repair supplies, etc.  (I did but some stuff B&M locally at a Camping World, but only because we were driving past them, 100 miles from home… and they do huge amounts online.)
    My jeans come online.  And they’re just Levi 501s.  But… locally I can’t get the right size.  I don’t save by buying them online; I buy them directly from Levi.  But they come quickly in the right size.
    All this verbosity boils down to one thing.  My default is to research and buy online, because I’m a long-tail customer.  B&M aim at the sweet spot – Invictas, Swiss Legend, through Citizen and Seiko to Omega, Rolex and Brietling.  But you can’t get the tail – the Luminox, Sinn, Deep Blue, CW, Traser, even Swatch Skin at B&M anymore.

  • WatchGuru

    Tekky Funny, I had to do the same thing with my home-built PC. Motherboard, memory, PS, tower case and water cooling all had to come from on-line sources. The fans, keyboard and monitor were about the only things I could source locally. I too love my CW. Which one do you have?

  • WatchGuru

    prieur Hi, I’m really hesitant to do that as a site like this carries a lot of weight in the community and one bad experience may not represent what the company is normally like. Tell me what brands you are interested in and I’ll let you know what on-line retailers I’ve had experience with. Hopefully the community here will also pipe up.

  • MarkCarson

    WatchGuru I’m having a hard time locating a Cholex dealer.

  • WatchGuru

    A what? Lol, never heard of them.

  • MarkCarson

    WatchGuru Inside joke (on the HourTimeShow podcast). The mythical brand Ariel and John keep threatening to make. Cheers.

  • WatchGuru

    Heh heh, I’ve never had time to catch the podcast. Thought maybe your spell check screwed up Rolex 🙂 So, is this the result of an unholy union between Chopard and Rolex?

  • MarkCarson

    WatchGuru No, not a Rolex Chopard union. But still unholy I’m sure, ha ha. Its a running joke/scheme on the podcast. And Ariel is sure everyone in the watch world knows about it. Well almost everyone 🙂

  • Panagiotis

    Don’t want to read through all the comments to see if someone mentione it, but i love the first photo with Ariel (and is it James on the right looking very Swiss?).
    Is that huge thing poking out the top of your camera a FLASH Ariel? I’m surprised they let you take photos of the watches with that, for fear the light might damage them 🙂

  • MarkCarson

    Panagiotis I shot that walking photo while we (Arial, James Stacy and myself) were at Baselworld 2013 in Hall 1 (second floor) headed back to the escalators after a meeting with Doxa. And no, we did not go into Swarovski (whose booth is in the background). 
    Yeah, that is a flash in Ariel’s hand. Light just charges the lume on watches, ha ha. James and Ariel greatly prefer meeting rooms in the Brands booths with white walls & ceilings and diffused lighting so they can bounce they flashes off the ceilings. Harsh reflections are bad for watch photos. So what they need for lighting is the opposite of the lighting you typically see in jewelry stores.
    James was wearing  a navy blue sports jacket jeans – not sure how ‘Swiss’ that is. Ariel was in his ‘uniform’. Press needs to dress comfortably as there is a lot of walking and humping gear around. The first thing you ask for in a meeting is water!

  • Panagiotis

    MarkCarson  Speaking of flash, I’ve never seen flash photos that i’ve preferred to non-flash ones. I mean, with decent lighting, the photos look more natural without it.
    And regarding James i was referring to the European slimmer fit of the clothes–i’ve been to hundreds of exhibitions so i know that looking good and feeling comfy is a very delicate balance to achieve…Also, i thought Ariel was taller! ahaha 😀
    All in all, looks like you guys enjoyed it a lot!

  • MarkCarson

    Panagiotis Yeah, it was fun. I’m 6′ and James has me by an inch or two. Ariel a couple of inches shorter than I am. Yeah, James is slim. A problem Ariel and I don’t ‘suffer’ from ha ha.

  • Donna Lankford

    I agree that returning a watch to a retail store will always be easier than an online store….but feel that the ease of buying online outweighs the possible inconvenience of a return.  And, getting a discount price makes it much more worth the online buying experience.
    Donna
    Website Owner
    Dallas Tx
    http://watchesandmore.org/

  • elbowroom

    A very Informative and  insightful article. Thank you! I am new to the community and just beginning to collect distinguished time pieces. I”m gleaning a lot of helpful information from ABTW but Is there a premier online dealer that is a kind of “go to” site for watches? One that carries a large variety of well know and unusual high quality but affordable brands? I am particularly interested in high value names as opposed to pure luxury.I own a Yacht-Master, Hamilton Auto Pilot, a couple of Orients, an 88 Rue du Rhone and a few others. I am now beginning to become interested in German mechanical’s. e.g. Elysee, Graff Zeppelin, etc. So if you can share perhaps the top three online reputable dealers I would be most grateful.

  • Donna Lankford

    elbowroom  I’ll suggest my “go to” site….take a look and see it if can lead you to what you are looking for.
    http://watchesandmore.org

  • Younes El Moujahid

    some true facts indeed, the reality is online stores offer a much deeper discounts, free shipping and free returns, and the process is quite automated for some, and at the multiple brands they carry and volume they sell, very often the process of owning is much faster than in store, reality is moving online, it`s has become a very aggressive market for everyone even online stores, and consumers have less time to shop or go out to malls, so online is making shopping for quit anything you can think off quite easy. hey amazon is bringing drones to the matter….so not sure about the future of bricks and mortar stores..

  • GaryCai

    This doesn’t address the issue of buying vintage watches very well. What about older watches that no brick and mortar shop will have?

  • EdoPolimac

    Very nice article. If i can suggest to go this site  http://www.online-shopping-hub.com/watches/ . I have been yesterday and really suprised me on very large collection of watches.

  • aleky66

    Thumbs up for a very informative article i just came across this site with very good deals in watches check it out…
    http://www.tripleclicks.com/detail.php?item=375979/15536484/

  • Woh nice blog i have gain many new things thanks for sharing.

  • Pretty good list on buying luxury watches – I opt for the online route because price is so very important to me. Maybe when I can afford a Patek Phillippe or a Zenith Automatic Chronograph, then price won’t be such an issue and I can get the timepiece I want and stop scouring for amazon watches lol.
    http://taranwanderer.hubpages.com/hub/luxury-watches-you-cant-afford-on-amazon

  • Jason

    I hate buying online and never will for anything luxury, high end or with a high price tag. I buy online for things inexpensive or easily returnable. I do not risk fraud, missing packages or even misadvertised. I want shop owners, authorized dealers, the manufacturers and authorized channels to win over grey market and online. I do not mind jewellers or second hand watch stores. People need to pay their bills and run companies and make money overall. I feel more happy and confident when I try something on and see people working and earning commossions and credit for their hard work. I will never buy anything $1000 plus on the internet. Shoes and clothes and Amazon type stuff and games and Blu Ray movies. Or random parts and junk.

    I dislike seeing empty stores and shops doing badly and closing and lost jobs because a website, warehouse and small office and call center in India or China is robbing them.

    It is not about the money or the discount. It is about the ethics and I like meeting people and trying on things and watches and know who to see if I have issues or questions. I am not a cheat or cheapo. I also do not like buying fakes or not genuine and online you cannot tell unless know and trust seller.

    Shops and boutiques came first before internet and online stores and they should stay king and stay true to history. There is no experience and no fun and no good reason to buy online.

    Also I have respect and favor through family towards manufacturers and authorized dealers. If I can I buy things from main dealer and boutique because it helps the brand do well and suceed. That is loyalty.

  • iebaymall

    Mademoizelle Sefra’s Jewelry Bracelet in 925 sterling silver, crystal and pearls Stones dimensions : – round stone : 1,5 cm diameter – long stone : 3,5 cm lenght Size of the bracelet : from 16 to 18 cm (internal circumference) visit website : https://www.cityblis.com/12172/item/8734

  • Phrank

    Its good buying from brand stores, I bought a breitling super avenger 2 wristwatch with rubber at the dealer in Dubai, after few days I notice the rubber has started having some cuts which I took back to the dealer. After examining it,took it back and called me after 2 days with a new handle.

  • Anu

    it is very guidliness for buying watches and it is very useful to me

  • h2xxh2

    Also Useful as there are multiple ways to buy watches online, but not all are safe! Got ripped off once on ebay, so be aware people! http://watchoro.com/3-ways-how-to-buy-luxury-watches-online/

  • Dannyboy

    I love to browse things online. I literally spend hours and days looking over merchandise before deciding to buy it, if at all. When I walk into a retail store, the sales people are on top of me right away, making me uncomfortable and rushed and they end up losing the sale. If I tell them I am just browsing, they get annoyed. They start treating you like a loser or a potential criminal. Learn how to treat customers like me in this day of increased competition and I will come back.

  • Tom

    what a truly great article. It can be a minefield not being able to touch and really get a feel of a watch when buying online. When buying from an online watch store it’s key to make sure they have a good returns policy. I love this place https://royaletimepieces.com as they offer great value and no fuss returns. Take a look at one of their watches for under £100 – simply beautiful !

    • sfpeanuts

      That’s his company ! Ha!!

  • Lenny Estrin

    Thanks for telling retail and online shopping of watches.

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