Buying Designer Watches Online – The Pros and Cons

Buying Designer Watches Online

There was a time when consumers who were interested in buying designer watches had to buy them from either a high end department store or from a jewelry store.  There weren’t any other options, really.  While there were a few mail order companies in the business of selling luxury watches by mail, for the most part, people had to travel to a store to buy in person.

Rolex Yacht Master II - steel and everose goldToday, those options are still available, but buyers of designer watches also have the option of buying over the Internet.  There are thousands of retailers, large and small, who offer all kinds of luxury timepieces that can be purchased with just a click or two of the mouse or a swipe of your finger across the screen of your tablet.  This makes it much easier to shop, as you don’t even have to leave your home.  Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages of buying online, so we thought we’d point out the pros and cons of doing so.  In many cases, it will make sense to buy over the Internet but sometimes buying in person has its benefits, as well.

Cons of Buying Online

Lack of personal attention – If you’re buying over the Internet, you’re not going to receive any personal attention.  You’re on your own regarding the features you want or what brand of designer watch will best suit you.  You won’t have someone to point out that a particular model might better suit your needs or your budget and you also won’t have anyone to recommend a model or feature with which you weren’t already familiar.  If there’s something new that was just released that may be a better fit for you than the model you’ve already thought you wanted, there won’t be anyone to tell you.  You’re on your own.  If you want the watch engraved or need the bracelet resized, you’ll have to arrange to do that on your own, too.  Were you buying in person, the jeweler could take care of those things for you right then and there.

Less protection against counterfeits – We don’t like to bring up such things, but many designer watch brands have been counterfeited, and the online market is full of replica designer watches.  A lot of sellers identify their wares as replicas, and they cater to people who want to wear a luxury brand but cannot afford, or aren’t willing to pay, the price necessary to acquire the genuine article.  While these products are illegal in many countries, it’s hard to police the Internet.  The biggest problem comes when buying from the occasional unscrupulous dealer who sells replica watches but doesn’t say so.  You might think you’re getting a great price on a designer watch, only to find out later (or never find out at all!) that the timepiece you purchased isn’t actually authentic.   Be sure that anytime you buy online you make your purchase from a retailer that guarantees their product.  It also helps to buy with a credit card or Paypal, as either method will give you some recourse should you discover that the watch you bought wasn’t genuine.

That’s pretty much it for the cons of buying online; there really aren’t that many reasons for buying in person, though a lot of buyers prefer the “in person” experience and many luxury brands insist upon it, and only permit their timepieces to be “officially” sold via brick and mortar retailers.  On the other hand, there are some good reasons for why you might want to buy designer watches online.


Pros of Buying Online

cartier watches - women's chronograph blueGreater selection – When you buy in a jewelry store or a department store, your selection is necessarily going to be limited.  A store can only carry so many brands and they can only stock so many models of any particular brand.   As a number of luxury watch brands offer hundreds or even thousands of different models, there’s simply no way that a brick and mortar can keep all of them in stock.  Invicta, for instance, offers more than a thousand models.  No jeweler is going to carry a thousand different models of the same company’s watches.  They don’t have room in their store.  On online retailer, on the other hand, can easily keep that many models in stock as displaying them for sale is only a matter of creating additional Web pages.  Furthermore, you have the option of doing comparison shopping with several different retailers at once, comparing both models and pricing, and that’s a whole lot easier to do on the Internet than it is to do in person, where you will have to go from store to store and take notes as you go.  With online shopping, you can simply open multiple tabs in your Web browser and compare different brands, models and prices on the spot.

gucci watches - mens interlocking collectionDiscounting – Many luxury brands are concerned about dilution of their brand.  They’ve spent a lot of time and money establishing their brand name as a status symbol, and they don’t want to give the impression that their products are ordinary or common commodities.  By keeping distribution limited to a handful of retailers, these manufacturers create artificial scarcity, which increases demand.  Increased demand also makes it easier to charge premium prices for their products.  Some brands only officially sell their products through company-owned boutiques, while others restrict their sellers to a limited number of retailers who are usually located only in the largest of cities.  Many online retailers carry the same brands, however, and are able to offer them at a discount.  They might have acquired the products indirectly, rather than right from the manufacturer, and as such, they aren’t bound by contractual agreements that require the watches to be sold at specific prices.  That means that these online retailers can sell discount designer watches that aren’t otherwise available through normal channels.   Sometimes the discounts can be substantial; we’ve seen some designer watches for sale at 75% off of the suggested list price.  That certainly makes it worth considering buying online.

Every individual has their own reasons for where they want to buy and from whom they want to buy it.   While the time-honored tradition of buying luxury watches in person at a jewelry store has its benefits, we think the advantages of selection and pricing make buying online a good move.

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