"Grey Market" Pitfalls?
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  1. #1
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    "Grey Market" Pitfalls?

    I keep hearing about the dangers of buying through grey market dealers. Other than the probable lack of an official warranty, what kinds of problems have people on this board encountered with grey dealers?

    In my own experience, I once tried to purchase a seamaster through a grey dealer and when it arrived I could barely see the wave pattern on the face, so I sent it back, and received a refund.
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    Member SCRIBBLEDEAN's Avatar
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    Re: "Grey Market" Pitfalls?

    I think that the warranty is an issue - if something goes wrong and the watch needs to have warrantry service work. Then the watch goes back and who knows who is working on it (but they are advertised as a "watch expert").

    The other big thing is you may get a watch advertised as brand new - but is actually pre-owned and "serviced". Some of these places have very, very liberal return policies. They may send out a new watch and the purchaser wears it a few times for a day or two and then is allowed to return it. They turn around and sell it as "new" again (which, by definition, it is no longer).

    These types of things are the biggies - I have not personally experienced them but have read cases of others who have.
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    Re: "Grey Market" Pitfalls?

    I bought my PO new from a grey market dealer in 2006. Saved a buttload of money and never had a problem with it. The end.

    ~ David

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    Re: "Grey Market" Pitfalls?

    Quote Originally Posted by DMB View Post
    I bought my PO new from a grey market dealer in 2006. Saved a buttload of money and never had a problem with it. The end.

    ~ David
    Yup. I've never bought a watch from an AD. No problems either, and I even saved 15% on my car insurance.

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    Re: "Grey Market" Pitfalls?

    I bought an Omega thru newwatch.com (now ashford.com I believe) 10 years ago as it had an unbeatable 40% discount at the time but I didn't realize it was a grey market watch till several years later. A later customer of them bought a pair of Omega's for himself and his wife and went to get them resized at a local AD. The AD told him they were grey market so he sued newwatch.com and won. That's when they offered me and all past customers the option of a refund or a substantial discount on another new watch to appease the bad publicity.
    I was very happy with my Omega so didn't take them up on their offer.
    Had no problems with it to date.

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    Re: "Grey Market" Pitfalls?

    Quote Originally Posted by watchboffin View Post
    (...)The AD told him they were grey market so he sued newwatch.com and won.
    -I may be mistaken, but I would assume that the only way the AD could tell that an Omega was grey market was if the serial number had been removed - be it partially or fully.

    Which leads to my little piece of advice - I've been told that some grey market dealers remove part of the serial number in order to obscure where the watches they sell originally come from.

    It would not be a good idea to purchase such a watch; I would be most surprised if Omega would service a watch which had had its S/N removed - there is no legitimate reason why you would remove it, whereas there are a couple of illegitimate ones...
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    Re: "Grey Market" Pitfalls?

    I think the definition of Grey market is that the S/N on the case lug is polished off. The S/N number is still intact on the movement though as they don't open the case back.

    I read somewhere that Omega is probably in cahoots with the grey market to shift more volume. They're happy to differentiate the price by removing the s/n & not offering full AD service. Basically Omega is offering the same watch to 2 different buyer types without trying to upset either.

    You pays your money, you takes your choice as they say.

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    Re: "Grey Market" Pitfalls?

    The Warranty card will not be stamped by an AD, so no warranty there.

    If it is, (some grey market are AD watches that were returned and the AD could no longer sell it as new, so they get sold to a grey market dealer) and the serials are intact, then you probably have no problems getting it serviced.
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    Member Hansch99's Avatar
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    Re: "Grey Market" Pitfalls?

    The treatment here is as good as I've ever seen regarding grey-market watches:
    http://www.chronocentric.com/watches/graymarket.shtml

  10. #10
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    Re: "Grey Market" Pitfalls?

    Quote Originally Posted by OddE View Post
    I would be most surprised if Omega would service a watch which had had its S/N removed
    Surely if I am paying CHF390 (around $350, 200) for Omega to service my watch, it makes no difference whether the s/n is on the case lug or not?
    I can understand Omega not covering a warranty claim for a new watch with no external s/n, but a paid-for-by-the-customer service is different, no?
    And then, after this official service, you should get your 2-year genuine Omega warranty, shouldn't you?
    Or am I missing something?
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