Lets talk about grey market watches.
Grey market goods refer to “legal goods” which are sold outside normal distribution channels by companies which may have no relationship with the producer of the goods. –Wikipedia
It seems to me like grey market is the only way to go. I know there are people out there with horror stories and every site with thousands of reviews will have some bad ones. But it seems like if you do your research, it works, and like buying full price would just be stupid.
Here is my experience with Jomashop. I had my eye on the Hamilton Intra-matic 38mm for some time – it may have had to do with watching too much Mad Men. At the time of writing this article Jomashop lists the retail price as US$945 (correct), with a 30% discount offering it at US$661.50 (out of stock now though), and free shipping in the US. With an ETA2892-2 in there and the sapphire crystal and all, this is already a good value.
[Value, as in bang for buck, really is what the grey market question is all about. But it is something I would like explore in more detail and devote an entire future article to…]
Some time in 2013, Joma had a Hamilton event and when I saw my baby had dropped to US$550-600 (can’t remember precisely) I had to jump on it. I’ve been wearing it for about 8 months or so now and am very pleased. [I can talk more about my experience with the watch itself in another post later maybe.]
Jomashop is not an authorized dealer, so you don’t get Hamilton’s warranty. But they know that this is a big concern for consumers buying grey market, so they offer their own (see the site for those details). I have not had the occasion to use it, thankfully, so I cannot comment on that aspect of the experience. But I somehow trust them now and continue to go back to the site when I am considering an actual purchase.
I am now relatively comfortable with grey market watch hunting. I have also bought from some online grey market Chinese shops through the Chinese site taobao (I was living in China for some years). Decent experiences all around. The key is to research a lot.
Now I’m after a Mido, wich Joma doesn’t sell. Would love to find a legit grey market site for that. Would also love to branch out from Joma, but I am very cautious about buying online. Would also like to hear other people’s grey market experiences, suggestions, and opinions.
Chronocentric on grey market
aBlogtoWatch with more on the subject