How to Buy Watches Online

Why it is Better to Buy Online:

After searching diligently for a great price on a great watch, I want to share my work. Do you want to know some tricks for finding a good style & price fit? Do you want to find the best price for the watch you select? Read on...

Why it’s Better to Buy Online:

First of all, the man in the mall watch store is very interested in upselling. He is not so much interested in matching you to the best watch for your lifestyle. The correct watch, the one that fits you and does not stress your budget, projects the image you see for yourself, and serves all your functional needs.

The man at the mall watch counter wants to tell you how much you are going to spend. “To get a good watch, as an engineer, you will need to spend between $200 and $600. That is not bad.” This is an actual quote from a mall salesman. He actually has no idea what my income level and desired image are. He tells me $600 is "not bad." What is his basis for that? His focus is on how much money he can wring out of you.

The mall watch man will listen to your questions about Swiss watches, or maybe even the Danish maker, Skagen. You want European. But, he shows you several watches from Citizen. He is going to show you what he has in his case. He wants you to buy the biggest profit margin watch. His goal is to move you past what you really want on your wrist to what he wants to sell you.

It is important you know what he is going to say, down at the mall. “It really just depends on what you grew up with,” he will say as he attempts to deflect you to the watch he wants to sell, not the watch you want to buy. “This is a nice watch for an engineer (or insert your profession here),” he will say. “See, it has this many gizmos and little sub-dials,” the salesman told me when I visited. To be honest, he used smoother sounding, but not technical words.

In short, the salesman wants to sell. No surprise here. But, you want to buy, not be sold to. So, what do you do?

Shopping Online Beats Shopping Downtown

Why Shopping Online for a Watch is Better than Buying from a Retail Watch Shop

Generally, shopping online has these major advantages:

  1. No travel: You can visit, many, many vendors without using any gas, wearing down your tires, or using down the miles on your 3,000 mile oil change.
  2. Better browsing: You can do image searches to look for the watch you want. Once you have decided on specifics like “18k gold”, you can begin to narrow the search. Using an image search, you will quickly discern which makers’ watches you prefer. Individual watch makers have discernible features and styles common to their lines.
  3. You can instantaneously compare prices on the watches you like using sites like Nextag, Shopzilla, and Pricegrabber.
  4. Online sales have discount opportunities not available in the limited local market. Discounts for display watches (never worn) can be huge.
  5. Online sales provide auction opportunities, and opportunities to buy valuable watches from sellers who do not understand what grand dad left behind. EBay is the best example. Avoid sites like Quibids where you have to buy bids in advance. In my opinion, sites like Quibids amount to gambling. Ebay is a true auction. You only pay if you win.
  6. Information: Details on specific watches, and on watch extras such as tourbillons and innovations can quickly be found on YouTube and other sites. A video reveals more information more quickly than a pamphlet or an overview delivered by a sales person. See the Omega video below.
  7. You have no waiting for a salesperson to finish with previous customers.
  8. Informed purchase: Many websites provide short, informative articles on watch components, makers' histories, and even resale values. The sales people I spoke with knew less than I learned from reading just a few articles about watches.
  9. Reviews: Many reviews written on sites like Overstock are prepared by aficionados of watches. They know far more than salespeople, and they have a grasp on what you want to know: comparison of value between brands and lines of watches.

Omega Watch Expert Shows how to Identify Fake Omegas

Best Places to Buy a Watch Online

The Best Places to Buy a Watch Online:

In searching, these sites you will find have many, many watches for excellent prices:

  1. Nextag. It is a shopping engine, but it finds them. The site also gives you feedback from those who bought the same watch, and has daily deals on watches.
  2. This site has many discounted watches. Reviews are available to read. Click on a watch you like, and several similar watches appear in the right of the window, along with your watch. These suggestions will be much better than the watches offered up by the salesman at the mall. Those time pieces better suited clowns and rap stars. Overstock will suggest watches you actually will want to see.
  3. Google Product Search: Yes! Google for “Mens watches” or “Rolex watch” if you want Rolex. Then, click “shopping” in the left hand margin. Now you have dozens of watches to peruse from the biggest sites on the ‘net. Prices and basic details also appear: 5-star review system results; lowest price; and nearby stores selling the item are some of the data provided by Google Shopping. Results from eBay listings are included, instantly making your search easier.


Risks to Shopping Online

Caveats in Online Watch Shopping:

Be sure to review return policies. Read reviews of others who purchased the same watch; if there is a major design flaw, you will find it in the reviews section. If you make a return, you will lose some money on shipping and insurance (use the original shipping container for return). It may not be convenient to receive the package when it arrives. Small or individual sellers may be difficult to contact if there is a problem

Reduce Risks to Online Watch Shopping

Protective Measures:

There are some risks. Be sure to buy from known vendors with a lot of positive feedback, a good-business return policy, and good customer service. If possible, use a credit card that insures your purchases, or protects you in some way. Use PayPal also if possible. I once bought an item (not a watch) on eBay, only to discover it was significantly different than what had been described, reducing it’s value 80%. PayPal got my money back for me. Do not rush to purchase.

So, buying a watch online can be a great experience. It is possible to get a watch much more suited to your style and preferences than shopping the local market place. Buying watches online can save you a lot of money as well. There are some risks in the process, but Internet commerce has developed processes and structure to protect you.

May you find a great watch that stays with you many happy decades.

Which Brand Makes the Best Watches for the Price?

Considering the value, which of these brands is best?

  • Omega
  • TAG Hauer
  • Citizen
  • Patek Philippe
  • Cartier
  • Skagen
  • Rolex
  • Breguet
  • Timex
  • Other
See results without voting

If You're Looking to Spend a Lot:

(Or if you just want to see how much some are spending on watches)

Check out this article on 10 Watches that Cost More than a Honda.

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Comments 2 comments

liutao 3 years ago

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Man from Modesto 3 years ago from Kiev, Ukraine (formerly Modesto, California) Author

liutao: That sounds great. I'm going to contact you right now! Oh, wait...

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