Buying a watch can be exciting, but it is smart to be mindful of a few things before sealing the deal. Follow the tips below and you will not only purchase a great watch, but you will be happier in the long run both emotionally and fiscally.
Watch Purchasing Tips
1. Define your watch buying needs. Explore different brands and models after you figure out what your watch needs are. Are you wanting to own a watch for exploring mountain tops or diving 1000 feet deep in the ocean? Are you looking for a dress watch with a leather strap to wear to your business meetings? This is obviously basic, but I encourage people to start with the basics. Address your watch needs first. The more you think about your life and in what capacity this desired watch will serve, you will be much happier in the long term. There are many people that spend years floating in and out of different models, but then suddenly stop when they find the right model. There is nothing wrong with swapping watch models, but those people who are trying to find the right model (non-collector type) would save a lot of time if they first explored their watch needs.
2. Ask questions. This step can be applied to so many purchases, except so many people short themselves by not asking enough questions. I have been asked on numerous occasions to assist with watch purchases. I’ve been flattered, but also shocked. Buyers seldom take the time to ask the right questions. Slow down and compile a list of questions that you have and ask the dealer. You deserve to have your questions answered. This is similar to marrying a spouse who had a previous marriage. Ask why they didn’t have kids if that’s important to you. If asking questions bothers the salesman or dealer, find another. There are plenty of dealers out there who would be more than happy to provide answers to your questions.
3. Negotiate price, but take your time. For the sake of your children’s inheritance (if you have any) or your own retirement fund, do NOT buy the watch without negotiating. Rumor has it, Tourneau does not negotiate. My advice – find another dealer. There are plenty that negotiate. When you get resistance, that’s okay. It’s called reluctant negotiation and it’s widely used in the marketplace today. Ask for a $1000 off and the dealer may start with small denominations (such as $100, etc.). Regardless you will never find out what the dealer can do, if you purchase on the spot. Even if you know it’s the watch you want, walk away from the sale. Clear your head outside the store and think about the price. The key here is to remove yourself from the environment. It’s exciting looking down at the watch that you’ve looked forward to owning, but there is an emotional period where a lot of very smart people get blindsided. They get caught up in the excitment and often make a decision on the spot. Don’t fall trap to this and remove yourself from the scene. Clear your head. Think about it. Then make your purchase if it feels right. Also by removing yourself from the store, it gives the dealer some concern that they are losing you as a buyer. It shifts the power to you. As long as you are in the store, they will practice reluctant negotiation and you won’t see the whole financial picture with what they would be willing to do price wise unless you leave. There is one caveat to this of course: If you found yourself an unique timepiece and you know from experience that the price is good, make the purchase and get on with your day. Otherwise, take your time and you will save money without a doubt. Also, you should get into a habit of pricing 3 or 4 dealers on a similiar watch. This way, you can ensure that you are paying a good price. I did that on a watch once and saved $1,000 just because I shopped two dealers instead of one.
4. Be choosy of the dealer from whom you buy. I was asked by my friend to find a Rolex for his wife. I recommended that we visit my local dealer who I had known for 20 years. I was so disappointed with my dealer that day that I will never purchase another watch from them again. There are too many dealers to choose from who care about customer service. Why would you buy from a dealer who treats you horribly? You deserve good treatment and you deserve an ethical dealer to care about how they handle the sale. It was a pre-owned Rolex that we had been looking at. My friend ended up purchasing the watch from them. When we asked about the year of the watch, the dealer was reluctant to give up that information. At one point, we were told “I am not sure, it looks new.” I knew the dealer knew or knew how to find out what year the watch was and the dealer knew I wasn’t a dummy. So, we pushed more to find out the year of the watch. They reluctantly took apart the case to find the serial number. Then, I was told by the dealer “It’s an L serial number…I am not really sure what that means. Do you?” Of course, the dealer knows what that means. They are an authorized Rolex dealer and deal with serial numbers on a daily basis. He was simply testing my knowlede to see if I knew what it meant prior to offering the information to my friend. I was very upset that they would play this sneaky trick, especially when I was providing a referral to them. I replied “Well, let me look it up on my phone.” Turns out that the watch was 24 years old, which is why they wanted to hold that fact to themselves. Later, I saw the dealer a few weeks later in passing and was treated rudely. I am thinking they weren’t too happy when the circa was revealed to the customer and thus they couldn’t hold as much profit. To me, the circa or year of the watch should always be revealed to the customer. That’s like buying a car without knowing the year and the dealer getting upset when they have to tell you. The moral of the story: Even if you have purchased from a dealer for 20 years, you deserve top customer service and treatment. It’s your money. Make them earn it.
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