If you are a person who likes to wear or collect watches, you certainly would know about the grey market and authorized dealers. For those who are not much familiar with these two, here is an in-depth guide as to what these both are along with their pros and cons.
The grey market offers an ideal market place for a large number of potential buyers. To put simply, a grey market watch dealer is a store that sells you luxury watches at huge discounts compared to the authorized dealer or boutique by the brand.
Usually, retailers buy the unsold watches from the dealers and then resell them at significantly less price. So, they are not illegal. They buy the watches in bulk from the authorized watch dealers who suffered losses or were unsuccessful to move inventory. Retailers and brands reach out to grey market dealers themselves if they have excess inventory. They offer to sell watches in bulk these sellers and that, too, in massive discounts. Grey market watch dealers do not belong to the authorized dealer chain.
Watchmakers and brands make arrangements with a few dealers to sell their timepieces. This allows the watchmakers to effectively destabilize those who deal in counterfeit watches. The buyers get 100% assurance that they are getting the genuine product and the dealers can claim exclusivity to a certain extent in the products they sell.
Pros of Buying from Grey Market
It is important to know that grey market products are not bad. But as they are unauthorized sellers, they come with a few advantages and drawbacks:
Convenience:As stated earlier, grey market watch dealers usually operate online. It is easier and more convenient to do online shopping with easy payment schemes (credit card and cash on delivery) and browsing options compared with traditional shopping.
Price Point:As the price point per unit is a lot lower than the ones sold by official retailers in the U.S., the grey market merchants normally source their items from VAT-free countries like Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand. Bulk purchases lead to significant discounts.
Reliability: You can expect the products to be reliable as most of the grey market products come from the Southeast Asian region.
Cons of Buying from Grey Market
Here are a few cons of grey market:
Economy:The government loses millions in uncollected duties and taxes as few of the grey market imports are smuggled.
Support:If the grey market sellers make a sound customer base, it could even harm authorized sellers’ business.
Warranty:Grey market items usually come with store warranty only unlike licensed retailers that offer official manufacturer’s warranty.
Things to Consider before Buying from a Grey Market
Most brands and watchmakers would advise you against buying from grey market. Now, the watches in grey market are genuine, so why the negative advice?
Here are a few things you should consider before buying from the grey market:
Pros of Buying From Authorized Dealer
Buying from an authorized dealer comes with the following advantages:
Extended Warranties: Apart from the basic 1-3 year warranty, you can enjoy extended warranties when you buy from authorized dealers and special brand boutiques. Sometimes, they can be as long as 5 years. They not only cover the major defects or movement issues if you are lucky, these warranties could get you a complete replacement in case of a faulty timepiece.
Chance to Buy First:Authorized dealers maintain a list of their customer demands and what they like. Sometimes, they make special requests to the manufacturer if there is a request of a particular model from a customer. This is not only when a customer makes a demand but also in cases when it is difficult to get ones hands on a limited edition model. If you want to get a limited edition or want to be the first buyer of the new watch model, an authorized dealer could help you with that.
Exclusive Product:With the passage of time, more and more watch manufacturing companies are offering customers to purchase exclusive products from brand boutiques or authorized dealers. They are usually limited edition models and could be popular non-limited models as well.
Say a certain watch may have different precious metal versions and you can buy them at a variety of authorized dealers. The non-precious or less costly timepieces will be available at exclusive authorized dealers. This might not be that big of a deal to some customers if they are not interested in buying the less costly timepieces. But you cannot deny the reality that more and more desirable options of timepieces are available exclusively at brand boutiques or particular stores.
Cons of Buying From Authorized Dealers
Listed below are some cons of buying from authorized dealers:
Hard to Find Online:Nowadays, most people prefer to shop online rather than going out of their homes. It is not easy to find a dedicated authorized dealer may be online, but there are the risks of falling in a scam.
Paying a lot more: To buy a genuine timepiece from an authorized dealer, you often have to pay a lot. Usually the recommended price suggested by the manufacturer could be anywhere from 5 % to 50% more than the grey market seller.
So, now that you know the difference about the two, you can make an informed decision.
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