It may seem on the face of it that it’s an easy decision to make, after all, you’re saving heaps of cash right? But it really depends on the situation you find yourself in at the time. Read my Watch buyers notes before you take the leap.
There are certainly pros and cons to buying online just as there are at a physical shop but they are not always that easy to reconcile.
What’s The Main Issue?
At a physical shop you can browse the selection, ask questions, and inspect the product for defects plus you also know where to return it should you need to. You can also take your new watch home that day and enjoy it immediately. The only problem is the high ticket price and limited choice available to you in the shop. Also, I’m not totally convinced someone looking to pay $10,000 or more for a watch is necessarily going to want to buy online.
In this situation, the customer may want to try the watch in the shop, feel the weight, know if it suits the wearer. At this point check for defects, ask questions about the product and the warranty, and generally, have the sales assistant fuss over them.
But wait a minute! I said it depends on the situation and it’s true. Let’s use the same customer as the example and work it through.
That same customer is looking for a high-end watch and their heart’s set on a particular brand and model. Great, they track it down on the internet and choose their preferred color and size and because it’s a discounted online store the customer pays $5000. You can see that makes it much more affordable, saving the customer $5000 for a holiday, or more likely saving enough money to make ownership of their dream watch a reality. So rather than saving money, it makes ownership possible for someone who may not otherwise have had financial reach.
So we are looking at two very different types of customer here. The customer buying in the bricks and mortar shop is more interested in the experience of buying the prestige piece and doesn’t need to consider the ticket price.
The online buyer is looking for quality and genuine pedigree but needs to work with some financial restrictions that may mean they’re willing to forgo the shop experience in favor of a great deal.
Okay, so that’s one scenario dealt with but what about finding a fault and having to make a return.
In life, we have to expect the odd bump in the road and I’ve heard stories making returns to physical shops and online stores alike and neither one nor the other seem to fair any better or worse in general. It’s true that dealing with a physical store on return or warranty work could be easier, most shops will take care of everything for you and call you to collect, although, that efficiency is not written in stone.
Returning a watch to an online store will entail a little more work in terms of contacting the store, explaining the issue, completing a written report and arranging to ship.
Let’s take a story I read online of one watch collector who received a defective watch in the post.
Buying from an online store based in his country of residence the watch arrived with defective pointers. Under instruction, he took photos, described the problem, waited for authorization for the return before shipping it back to the online store.
This is by no means saying the online store were unhelpful but it simply illustrates that the return for warranty or servicing can be more involved when choosing to purchase from an online store.
Our watch collector also pointed out that buying from a physical store doesn’t automatically mean problems don’t come your way.
He tells another story of buying a high-ticket item from a physical store, and even after checking for problems in store before buying, he soon realized his new watch suffered from a rate error and returned it to the shop. As expected, the shop listened to the complaint and took the watch away for repair and returned it a few weeks later.
So What Have We Learned?
When studying the pros and cons of buying from an online store or a physical shop, the decision really depends on your situation. I will illustrate the ‘pros’ and ‘cons’ below, but I my view it really comes down to what you’re looking for as a consumer.
For sure, the internet has opened up many opportunities and these opportunities are not going to disappear. On the contrary, online stores are strong and getting stronger. With the advantages attached to running an online store for both, the customer, and the store owner, this trend is not going to change. With this buyers guide, you are able to make informed decisions towards making a safe purchase.
Online Stores: Pros vs Cons
Why buy from an online store?
No sales person pushing you to make a decision
Buy from anywhere in the world
Why avoid an online store?
Returns mean more work
Not authorized (Important Note About Warranties below)
No immediate answers to questions
Need to wait for delivery
Physical Stores: Pros vs Cons
Why buy from a physical store?
Easy to inspect
Immediate answers to questions
Faster sale and service
Sales person makes a fuss over you
Why avoid a physical store?
Is this model a show model or brand new?
So there you have it, a pretty level playing field in terms of pros and cons. As I said before, it’s just about where YOU are as a potential customer. Whatever your position it’s important to know the online discount watch industry is an industry that has a particular understanding of the importance of customer service and customer relations. They go out of their way to make you feel you’re in safe hands so, don’t worry about asking all the questions you need to be answered before parting with your cash.
For anyone looking to buy discount price watches you can now source peruse, and buy any brand, any model saving thousands of dollars in the process, so why not buy online?
Accuracy is a thing of beauty but how important is it to you? I ask because there are watches that keep atomic accuracy, watches that keep accuracy with 3 seconds in the month, and watches that loose 30 seconds through the month, but can you guess which is the most sort after and expensive? Well, the Automatic mechanical Swiss movements are built by master watchmakers and command a high price and are seen as the pinnacle of watch making. But your $30 Quartz Casio will keep better time than any hand built mechanical movement, and the atomic time keeping is found on other Japanese models that you can pick up for under $500.
So you have to understand what you are buying and why you are buying it. If you demand accuracy above all else you can buy this very cheaply, or alternatively, look for one that’s been certified as a “chronometer” by COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres). These watches account for only six per cent of all mechanical watches, which is reflected in their higher prices.
You insure your car, your house, your pet, so just remember, if you buy an expensive watch it’s likely to become an heirloom so insure it.
My List Of Preferred Online Stores.
Visit my list of preferred online discount watch stores. They have been sourced over a long period and I can recommend all of these stores as they have a long history of providing top quality customer service and products. Please note that they are listed in alphabetical order rather than order of importance.
If you are still unsure about dealing with an online store when such large sums of money are involved, my advice is to approach the online store as you would a real world store and ask questions until you are satisfied.
Questions when buying from an online store
Are they an authorized dealer? (Important Note About Warranties below)
Are they a reseller/packager?
Do they inspect or test the watch before shipping
Do they have an inspection check list- what does it include
What is their returns policy (FEE or FREE)
Warranty: Who pays for what?
Look for review on product and online store
Are there any state taxes to pay? (keep all receipts)
Questions when buying from a physical store
Are they an authorized dealer (must be authorized at physical location see opening notes).
Is this watch a show watch handled by many people? Check for damage and wear (ask for new or safe stock)
Check that all functions work correctly. Do complications pointers line up with their markers?
Have a good idea of what you want before entering the store dress watch, chronograph, material type, preferred brand etc.).
Do the staff treat the product with care? If not, just leave
How long have they been in business and how long have they carried this brand
Know the prices available from competitors. It may be possible to negotiate small discounts
Always take everything including the right box, warranty materials, receipts, extra links (from resizing), and tags. This will serve you well for servicing and resale.
What is their returns policy?
Important Note About Warranties
It’s been brought to my attention that a number of customers buying genuine watches from discount online stores have been upset, suspicious, or even shocked to find a none genuine guarantee cards in the package. Please understand that only authorized dealers can provide the genuine guarantee cards with the product and with it, and ‘locked in’ high purchase price.
Discounting is only possible when nonauthorized dealers sell the genuine product and offer their own international guarantee with the product sold.
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For more information about where to look for your favorite watch brand why not read my watch store reviews to get a better idea where to look?
Check Out My Watch Store Reviews