As an Authorized Dealer for six of the biggest watch brands in the world, one of the biggest questions that we get asked is why should you pay more to buy a watch from an Authorized Dealer as opposed to a Gray Market site? If you’re into watches, you probably know their names and their unbeatable prices, but as with anything that’s a bit too good to be true, you’ve undoubtedly wondered how they can get to those prices.
Well, as an Authorized Dealer, we have to adhere to certain standards in order to sell these beautiful items. We train our staff to give our clients like you the best possible experience in our store that we possibly can. While that may not affect our online clients, we work hard to train everyone in our store to adhere to the exacting standards of Breitling, IWC, Omega, Ulysse Nardin and the rest of our brands.
We have a rapport with all of our clients that has kept many of them coming back for years or even decades.
True, Blue Warranty
Now, you may think, “I don’t care about the in-store experience – it’s all about the dollars and cents.” Well, with an Authorized Dealer, you get the peace of mind of a Full Factory Warranty. While Gray Market Sites may have a warranty – read the fine print. They have their own warranty – not the factory’s.
If they do carry a warranty, typically, a Gray Market warranty means a shorter duration than a Factory Warranty and if there’s a problem, when you send your watch in for repairs, it’s going to go to an in-house watchmaker, not to the brand’s actual watchmakers. Plus, you may have to jump through hoops like an activation window that renders the warranty null and void that’s just not existent with a factory warranty.
One of the fun perks of getting a watch from an Authorized Dealer is the swag that comes with it. These items include hats, luxury pens, branded luggage, clothing, watch winders, travel cases, and more. Then, as time goes on, and more Breitlings pile on, the gifts get bigger and bigger. While pens and hats may not seem like a lot compared to the thousands of dollars for a brand new Swiss watch, it’s a fun little perk that you just don’t get with Gray Market watches.
In-House vs. Factory Watchmakers
In-house watchmakers are plenty capable of maintenance and standard repairs, but you’ll never know if legitimate parts were used on your watch. We go to great lengths to ensure that we have the correct parts go to each and every watch and no short cuts are taken. After all, Authorized Dealers’ watchmakers have better access to parts. As an AD for Ulysse Nardin, UN will ship us parts for installation in a customer’s timepiece. Meanwhile, a gray market dealer will have to “back channel” any new parts or they may block the order altogether forcing the watchmaker to go with non-factory parts.
So, while you may save money upfront on the watch, if there’s an issue on the watch, you may lose it all. Plus, if you collect – and believe us – once you start down the path, you can’t stop – you may end up ahead on one watch only to lose that advantage on a repair on the next one – especially if it has a complicated movement.
Check before buying
As with the warranty, always read the fine print with a gray market dealer. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We recently encountered a gray market Ulysse Nardin that was touting itself as a brand new watch, but when we checked the serial number, was actually a preowned watch. A client would have had no way of knowing that, but as a UN Authorized Dealer, it was a computer search away.