The seamless nature of online transactions has made internet shopping easier than ever. That being said, buying a luxury watch is a big deal. Luxury timepieces tend to have a special significance - they are often purchased as heirlooms, heralded for their timeless quality and craftsmanship. For this reason, it’s important to know exactly where to browse in order to find a reputable online source.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there, and getting snared into a bad deal is actually a lot easier than you might think. To help you avoid these potential pitfalls, we’ve put together this guide for buying a luxury watch online. These tips range from where you should look, as well as recommendations for authorised representatives and outlets.
Authorised Third Party Dealers
This is the best place to start if you are looking for the safest option when buying a luxury watch online. Authorised Third Party Dealers tend to be traditional brick and mortar retailers who have entered the online space. These kinds of dealers tend to have a very loyal customer base due to their continued presence on high streets and shopping districts. You will also find these Authorised Third Party Dealers operate online too.
Take Watchfinder & Co for example. They have a strong physical presence and have many stores dotted throughout the UK, but they also have a noticeable presence online as well. They boast an incredible selection of pre-owned luxury watches as well, which tend to be very popular, since ‘birth year’ luxury watches tend to be sought after as heirlooms.
Amongst the online-only options, retailers like Mr. Porter have begun selling fine watches alongside their high-end clothing offering. It is worth noting that Mr. Porter was actually acquired by the Richemont Group, who own brands like Cartier, Panerai, Jaeger-LeCoultre, and several others.
Another reputable third-party retailer is Chrono24, which is considered a listings site for pre-owned watches. They are authorised sellers of luxury watches, with agreements signed with brands like Moritz Grossmann, Nomos, and Porsche Design as well as many others. Always try and look for an authorised third-party retailer as your first option.
The Grey Market
The grey market is a term used to describe places where one can buy authentic, brand-new timepieces sold by an unauthorised dealer. The main appeal of browsing the grey market in order to find luxury watches is the fact that you can usually get the timepiece for a slight discount. However, the trade-off is that these watches usually come with no factory or manufacturer warranty. In addition, the source of many grey market watches tends to be unknown - a grey area if you will! Furthermore, grey market luxury watch purchases may come with unreasonably long waiting times due to the fact that they could be coming from anywhere in the world.
Many grey market watches are considered as excess stock or unsold inventory, which is why their prices tend to differ from those sold by authorised dealers. IconicWatches.co.uk and Jomashop.com are two very reputable grey market sites for you to consider. They both have a wealth of positive reviews from happy customers, as well as a wide range of luxury watches and other crafted goods.
eBay and Watch Auctions
When it comes to purchasing luxury watches online, it’s very hard to ignore the significance that eBay has had on the process. It is by far the most popular online auction platform, and whether you’re looking for pre-owned or brand new watches, the chances are you will be able to find something. eBay is considered to be one of the most efficient platforms to buy and sell watches, proving itself to be a great option for buyers and sellers alike.
Even though eBay is home to many luxury timepieces, always exercise caution when looking for one. We cannot stress this enough - if it’s too good to be true, it probably is! Whilst there are plenty of legitimate stores and users selling luxury watches on eBay, it is very easy to fall for a fake if you don’t know what to look for.
Our advice here is to stay vigilant by sharing the images of the watch with members on official watch forums, like Watchuseek or official Facebook communities dedicated to the watch brand you are looking to purchase. This is not only a good way to ensure you don’t get scammed, but it’s also a great way to learn what to look out for so you don’t fall victim to any online traps.
Clearly, there are many ways of sourcing a luxury timepiece online. Some ways are easier and safer than others depending on what you are looking for. If you are looking for a pre-owned vintage timepiece that may be difficult to find due to its age and limited availability, auction sites and reputable watch forums like the ones listed are usually the best place to look. That being said, it’s important to be careful when doing so - for every genuine luxury watch, there are thousands of counterfeits. We recommend taking this route if you are already experienced and capable of separating legitimate watches from their counterfeit counterparts.
On the other hand, if you’re in the market for a brand new luxury watch - one that you can purchase easily and safely - look no further than an authorised retailer. Transactions with authorised retailers or dealers tend to be very smooth, with short waiting times and guaranteed authenticity of goods. Take us for example! We are official retailers of Oxbridge Watches and have agreements with both Bremont and Oxford and Cambridge University, meaning that everything available on our website comes with a seal of authenticity. Purchasing a watch in this manner is the route of least resistance when it comes to online luxury watch shopping, and some authorised retailers even have payment plans available for those who would rather spread the cost of their watch over a period of time. This kind of customer support and service is a huge selling point for going through an authorised retailer - they take care of you, plain and simple.
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