How to Spot a Grey Market Watch

We often hear of replicas flooding the market and many websites offering discounts on amazing timepieces that they claim to be authentic, the same ones that are often found at retailers for thousands more.

So whats the catch?

Well, there are several…

  • You don’t get an official warranty when you buy online. You often get a warranty from the seller, not the manufacturer. This leads us to believe that some companies sell you original casing, but not movement and therefore the manufacturer would not fix it anyways if you sent it in.
  • The movement cannot be verified authentic prior to buying.
  • There is also the possibility that the watch is a used movement (original) with new casing, which looks new, but is an older model at heart.
  • You risk sending a lot of money online without seeing the timepiece first.

These are some of the criteria you run into when purchasing high dollar piece online and not from an authorized retailer.

To recognize a grey market seller, simply look in the “terms and condition” or “warranty” section of the site.

It will indicate that the warranty available on the watch is two years, but through them, not the manufacturer.

Check Prestige Time for an example of a grey market seller.

As a watch collector, I prefer buying used over grey market.

If you buy used, remember to only purchase watches that have authentication cards along with stamps of the authorized dealer on them.

If they do not, they could have easily been grey market purchases, which are worth much less.

Be careful, ask for references, and educate yourself prior to buying.

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