As any watch lover will know, the state of the market over the last few years has been rather ravenous. Watches that once sat idle in the display cabinets of authorized dealers across the globe now go for multiples of their MSRP and have multi-year waiting lists. Those same display cabinets that were once filled with Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet timepieces now sit like empty vessels holding only the non-existent chances of getting a Rolex, Patek Philippe, or AP watch for its retail price. However, while getting one of these watches for retail is all but impossible, the chances aren’t quite zero. So, how does one maximize those chances? Let’s explore.
Build A Spending History
Perhaps one of the most important steps to overcome while trying to buy a desirable watch, no matter the brand, is to build a spending history. Generally speaking, the more you have spent, the better and more desirable the watches offered to you will be. However, this comes with a pretty significant obstacle, how does one buy the watches required to build a spending history in the first place? Well, you have to buy less desirable watches first — readily available ones.
In the case of Authorized Dealers, this will be pretty easy. Just find a watch that you like from a brand you like in one of the cabinets that is within your budget, and readily available, and buy it. While this might not be your first choice timepiece, you will show the sales staff that you are a collector and aren’t only interested in the stuff that can be flipped on the secondary market. In the case of brand-specific boutiques, your job is a little tricker. You will have to buy the least desirable watches from the brand first, and these might be timepieces you have no interest in and, in some cases, will even require a wait too. However, you are in this for the long haul regardless; there’s no skipping the queue here; that’s what the secondary market is for.
Build A Rapport With The Sales Staff
Next on our list is fostering a genuine connection with the sales staff in the establishment you visit. While it might seem like a moot point, sales staff are people at the end of the day and will only sell their watches to people they like. In fairness to them, they have a list of potential clients as long as your arm; it is only natural that they will sell their watches to the people that they like, wouldn’t you? So, be nice to them, speak to them like they are your friend, and try to create a genuine friendship with them. Bring them in a small gift if they sell you a watch and show that you genuinely do love watches, not that you just want to add some value to your net worth. Sure, it’s a great feeling to know your watch is worth a lot more than what you paid, but don’t let it get in the way of the horology.
Don’t Flip The Watches You Buy
This is quite a quick point, but simply don’t get caught flipping watches on the open market soon after you buy them. That is a sure-fire way to get banned from ever buying from that same establishment ever again. Ads can get in trouble with brands if they are found to be selling to flippers, so bear that in mind. In the case of being caught by the brand, you might never be able to buy from that brand again. Of course, you can sell your watches if you want, but try to leave a period of time between when you bought it and when you try to sell it. Hide the serial numbers and your name from the papers/advertisement if you decide to flip the watch, or sell it to a grey market dealer in your area who will sell it and hide your identity as the original source of the watch. After all, if people aren’t selling watches to them, then their business will dry up, so they have a horse in this race too.
Time and time again, authorized dealers emphasize the importance of selling to their local population. While they can easily sell a watch to international clients and tourists, they want to foster a community of local watch enthusiasts that they can sell their watches to when tourism dies down during the off-season or that will attend their events throughout the year. So, try to shop as locally to yourself as possible. Don’t go to a faraway AD or brand boutique just because it is bigger than the others closer to you. After all, if they are bigger, the chances are that they are in a busier location and have more clients anyway. Use the fact that you are local to your advantage, and you never know; your AD might just get a high-value watch with your name on it. If you spend the most and have a connection with your sales assistant, they might just take very good care of you.