Grey market and buying online

2252 Views 7 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  CometHunter
I've been reading some of the posts prior to joining and just needed to ask for help.

I would much rather spend my money locally, in this case at a local AD - locally for me would be a half a day trip.

However, buying online makes the possibility of owning a watch more of a reality due to the price differential between online and an AD locally.

In researching online stores I have been finding great reviews from folks, except if something goes wrong. For example, "authentic watches" has great reviews, but they do not seem to live up to the standards outlined on their website when it comes to dealing with customer service if a problem develops with the watch. I have found similar results with other online stores.

One review even stated that the watch they bought was a fake, another stated a watch was grey market, and yet another that the serial numbers were taken off.

This begs the following questions:

1) Are fakes a normal thing to receive when dealing with these big online stores?

2) I assume grey market is normal for online. I take this to mean that the same watch is sold over-seas as in the US, but you do not get a US warranty. Is this a correct assumption that oversea markets get the same quality watches sold in the US?

3) I also assume that the highend watches are of great quality, like Omega.
Do watch companies dump their stock that did not pass their inhouse quality inspection onto the online stores, and hence that is a reason they can sell them so cheaply?

4) Since finding online sources for store reviews is so readily available, why is discussing the pros/cons of various on-line stores on forums seem so taboo? Names are often deleted or omitted.

5) Given question 4 above, would not maintaining a list of great shops to frequent and a list to bad shops to avoid go a long way to cleaning up the industry?
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... and then you have experiences like mine. I've bought dozens of watches online. From big internet retailers, grey marketeers, used and new, from fellow enthusiasts, and from ebay. I am typically not the exception to "rules" so I'd like to think my experience is not unique. Not once have a received a blemished, non-running, fake or anything other than what I anticipated. I've not lost anything from careless shipping or theft. Am I careful and picky about who I choose to deal with? Sure. But I am not fearful of the process.

Over the course of my online dealings, I've saved well over $15K. *your mileage may vary. $15K can cover a lot of angst, if I were to receive something that needed attention. Now granted, most of my purchases have been under $5K and I'd probably not want to buy a Patek or Vacheron online (as if I could).

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