How to Buy Discount Designer Watches

Buying Discount Designer Watches

Lots of people admire luxury and designer watches.  Sure, there are other ways to tell the time, as your cellphone can provide that information.  A wristwatch, on the other hand, is readily available and can make a bold fashion statement.  In addition, many designer and luxury watches still feature traditional mechanical movements, and they represent remarkable feats of engineering.  Unfortunately, this also means that they tend to be fairly expensive items and often exorbitantly so.  Some of the better known brands sell for thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars, and most of the time when you see them for sale in stores, the prices are both expensive and inflexible.  Is it possible to buy discount designer watches?  And why are luxury watches so expensive?

maurice lacroix designer watchWhen you buy a designer watch, you’re paying for a couple of different things.  You’re paying for the brand name, which has value in the marketplace.  When you are seen wearing something from a famous brand, it says something about you.  It tells people that you have good taste or that you are affluent, or that you like nice things.  The companies that make these watches have spent a long time, perhaps more than a century, establishing their brand and the identity that goes with it.  They often protect that brand by keeping the number of products that bear it limited so that they don’t become low-priced commodities.  Scarcity creates value, and the manufacturers of luxury watches know this.  That’s why so many of them create limited edition product lines, sometimes with only a few dozen units created.   You’re also paying for engineering.

Many designer watches today incorporate a lot of interesting features:

  • Day and date
  • Chronograph features with multiple timing features
  • Phases of the moon
  • Reserve power indicators
  • Self-winding mechanisms
  • Atomic clock synchronization
  • Water resistance to hundreds of meters of depth
  • Super-hard case materials, such as high-tech ceramics and titanium
  • Multiple time zone displays
  • “Skeleton” displays that allow you see the internal movement via a transparent watch face

These leaps in technology, many of which are available with traditional mechanical movements, are difficult to design and more difficult to manufacture.  Incorporating such features while keeping accurate time is even more difficult.  It’s not easy or cheap to build devices that do all of these things and to put it in a package that’s small enough to fit on your wrist.  You’re paying for that, and for everyone else, there are $5 Chinese-made electronic watches that only display the time and are easily disposed of when they quit working.

Oris watches - men's blue eagleIn order to keep control of how their products are sold and priced, and to regulate the use of their company name, many luxury watchmakers only sell their products through a limited network of authorized dealers.  In some cases, they’re only sold via company-owned stores.  In addition, these companies often implement strict retail price controls and refuse to allow their authorized dealers to sell at any price other than the one the manufacturer recommends.  This is why certain makes and models are often priced exactly the same, no matter where you see them for sale.  By regulating the prices, the manufacturers can maintain the value of the brand and can separate themselves from other companies, whose larger-production products are often heavily discounted.  If you want to buy a Rolex, for instance, you’ll have to go to a Rolex dealer and you’ll have to pay Rolex prices.  Yes, it’s expensive, and yes, it’s a lot of trouble, but in the end, you own a Rolex, and your neighbor likely does not.

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Another reason these watches are so expensive is that the products are almost always limited to sale by traditional jewelers at established brick and mortar stores.  Most luxury watch brands do not want their products sold online; they want them sold in person by experienced personnel who can offer their expertise to the buyer personally.  These sellers naturally have higher overhead costs than online retailers, who don’t have to pay rent in expensive shopping centers.

Bulova watches - women's diamond gold toneOK, but is it possible to buy these kinds of watches at a discount?  The answer is – usually.  There are designer watch dealers who sell these brands, but they aren’t necessarily authorized to do so.  That doesn’t mean that the legally cannot sell them, but it means that they have to acquire them via third parties, rather than buying from the manufacturer directly.  In addition, they cannot offer the manufacturer’s warranty at the point of sale.  As they aren’t buying directly from the maker, they may have access to only limited supplies or varieties of product from their third-party sellers, who are usually authorized retailers themselves.  Perhaps an authorized seller has to go out of business and is liquidating their inventory.  They can sell their inventory to someone who is not an authorized seller, and they are free, legally, to sell those products at whatever price they like.  They cannot, of course, advertise themselves as authorized sellers of the brand, nor can they offer the manufacturer’s warranty.  But they’re also free to set their own price, and the result is often a steep discount from what the manufacturer would prefer.  In the case of such brands as Rolex or Patek Philippe, these discounts can be thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars.

How can you find a seller to buy discount designer watches?  Your best bet is to use the Internet, as many of these retailers have an online presence.  You’ll find a number of retail outlets that specialize in both designer watches and high end luxury brands.  You’ll often find prices as much as 75% off of the manufacturer’s recommended price, and these sellers, who have experienced watch repair personnel on staff, usually include a warranty of their own on the timepiece to offset the fact that they cannot offer or honor the manufacturer’s warranty.  Since most of these watches are of very high quality, it’s rare for any of them to have any mechanical problems during the warranty period, anyway.  Keep in mind that due to supply issues, most online retailers of these restricted brands aren’t going to have any particular company’s full product line available; that’s only something an authorized dealer can provide. But it’s often a great opportunity to buy discount designer watches.

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