What is the best Watch in the World?
Where are the best and worst places to buy watches in terms of price/selection/legitimacy? Not that flying somewhere to buy a watch would be the cleverest way to save money, but you know, just for reference. I was in China until recently where watches are taxed heavily and it doesn't make much sense to buy there if you'll have a chance to go somewhere else. But people certainly do. And I hear that all that may be changing in China soon.
Now I'm in Bangkok, Thailand, but still not sure what the situation is here. It seems like the US is a good place to get all kinds of watches, from Swiss to Japanese. If, for instance, I found myself in Switzerland for some reason, will I find better deals there? Will Japanese watches actually be cheaper and have greater selection in Japan? What about Hong Kong? Should I be buying in duty free shops?? I imagine there are other world travelers out there who would benefit from this as well. Thanks!
This is a question I was recently wondering myself while in Hong Kong. For years, Hong Kong was considered a top world destination for watches when it came to price and selection. These days that is different because of a lot of factors. When it comes down to it, the perfect watch shopping destination will have good prices, a great selection, and a safe buying environment where consumers can trust in the quality of what they are buying. The problem is that these places continue to change, and with the Internet being a good place to shop, these issues become less salient.
However, buying a watch in person makes a lot of sense in many instances. First of all, you can see and touch the watch to make sure the quality is good and that you aren't dealing with a fake. Authorized retailers selling only new watches aren't going to have fakes, but some pre-owned dealers may have them mixed in with real stuff from time-to-time. In most instances, they aren't trying to trick anyone, it is just that they themselves don't know they have fakes in their stock. Also, and this is a factor to seriously consider, if you buy a watch from overseas and it needs to be shipped to you, there may be customs implications. Depending on where you live (and how honestly the shipper marks the package), you'll need to pay some type of duty on watches sent to you from other countries. There are tricks to this of course, but you always need to measure safety with cost.
Many people overseas tell me that the best place to buy a watch is the United States. Taxes are relatively fair, prices are good, and if you look in the right place there are bargains to be had. There are also ways of avoiding certain types of tax if watches are shipped over state lines. Though this isn't always "good practice." US retailers tend to be relatively honest, easy to work with, and happy to work with you. Selection of product in the US is pretty good, but finding rare or unique watches can be tough.
China (mainland) isn't a good place to get watches because of taxes, and the same reason applies to a lot of countries. One of the main reasons rich people go to the U.S., is to get luxury goods at cheaper prices. This is a main reason why many Latin Americans fly to Miami each day. Another good place to get luxury watches are many of the vacation destinations in the Caribbean. Not only are there a lot of tax advantages, but the selection is really good. But then again you may have to do a lot of Island hopping (which isn't always a bad thing).