I purchased a DA363(bracelet) and a DK11(bracelet with 5-55 bezel) from an authorized dealer The Watch Boutique in Bahrain. The seller/owner that sold me the watches is Asrar Merchant. He's a member here and has great reviews. The communication and the transaction went great. I eagerly waited for the watches to arrive. They did arrive and this is what happened.
Both the DK11 and the DA363 had to be ordered as he did not have them in stock. (Although his website clearly stated they were both in stock). I received the DA363 first as promised and it was an absolute stunner. However upon inspection I noticed that both solid end links had a very faint marks on them. Could only be seen at certain angles. The best way to describe it is it look like metal to metal contact. In addition to this, one of the links on the ice hardened bracelet was discolored with slight abrasion. It was a darker shade than the rest of the links. Unfortunately it happened to the first link after the solid end link. I read in the manual "Please note that the screws of the first link after the casing cannot be removed." This means that the solid end link would need to be replaced which has the first set of links already attached. My plan was to replace the discolored link with a spare link but unfortunately the affected link is attached to the end link and could not be removed. I was ok with the light marks on the solid end links but I was not ok with the discolored link. I informed Asrar about this and he apologized for the imperfection escaping his quality control. He informed me Damasko will send him another solid end link in which he would ship to me. But there are more issues with this bracelet in which I will mention a bit later.
Mark on solid end link
16 days later Asrar informs me that he has the DK11 in his possession and informs me that he had tested everything including the bracelet and all is perfect. I was relieved and excited.
4 days after receiving the great news I took delivery of the DK11. What a beautiful watch but the imperfection continues. I quickly accessed the bracelet and discovered the exact same findings on both solid end links that was on the DA363. Faint marks on the end links and were more prominent than the DA363. This was not good. As I looked at the solid end links more closely, both did not have a tight fit to the casing. Both did not fit snugly the case. The solid end link at the 6 oclock position had so much play that you could see a gap between the end link and casing. The attachment of the solid end link to case on the DA363 was rock solid. Could not even budge it. (here is a link to a member that had the same problem on a different model. So I bought a Damasko Bracelet...). More issues. Upon inspection I found 2 white specks on the black bezel at the 57 and 44 markings. You can see it with your naked eye. I was not sure if it was excessive white paint or if its actually a scratch on the Damest coating. I gently wiped it with a microfiber towel but it did not wipe away. I then used my loupe to inspect the dial and discovered a piece of lint near the middle of the dial. When I removed my loupe I could actually see it with my naked eye at certain angles. Its more visible when the black hour or minute hand is right below it to add contrast. This final problem really got me worried about Damasko's quality control. I noticed a piece of metal protruding from the parts that holds down the rotor??!!
Mark on solid end links
Loose end link to case fit
White specks on bezel
On the same day I took delivery of the DK11 I noticed a new problem with the DA363 bracelet. One of the hinges(12 o'clock side) on the butterfly claps became very stiff. I couldn't close the clasp without applying force. It does not dangle freely. In matter of fact the stiff hinge could support the weight of the watch as you can see in the pictures.
I quickly informed Asrar of the DK11's problems and the new DA363 bracelet problem. Now that I have two watches with multiple problems he asked me to mail them both back to him and that he would get me new top quality and issue free watches. He apologized for letting me down twice. As I immediately prep the watches for their return I noticed yet another problem with the bracelet on the DA363. This time a set of links on the 6 o'clock side became very stiff as well. Much force was needed to straighten them out as it no longer flowed freely.
I immediately sent both watches back to him. At this point I didnt want new watches nor wanted them repaired. I received 2 watches with multiple problems and I was not very confident in Damasko's quality control. Usually I have a tolerance towards minor issues like the light markings on the end links on the DA363 but the issues with these watches are too prominent that I can not ignore. I also feel the stiffening bracelet and hinges may be a continued problem after repair. I understand things could go wrong however I dont understand the oversight by Damasko in delivering products with obvious imperfections detectable by the naked eye. I could only imagine the oversight and imperfections inside the movement. In both cases I am left with the confidence that there will be more problems in the future beyond their warranty. I am also not confident with Asrar sending me the DA363 with a discolored link that stuck out like a sore thumb. After this, I thought he would meticulously inspect the DK11 before sending it to me. The lint in the dial, the white specks on the bezel, the faint lines on the solid end links, the loose fitting end links to case and the metal part sticking out from the rotor assembly shoudlve all been detected with visual inspection. Due to this I politely asked Asrar for a refund.
He received the watches and he confirmed all of my findings were true for both watches however he could not see the metal part coming out of the rotor assembly. This is what he said concerning my refund throughout our communication.
1. He said that he could not give me a refund unless it is authorized by Damasko.
2. He would express my concerns to Damasko and push for them to authorize him to give me a refund.
3. He said once I buy the watches they are my property. When they dont work or have issues it has to be sent back to Damasko for review and they will provide a solution or a decision on sending new watches or refund. Dealer does not have the right to issue refund without confirmations from Damasko.
4. I pushed harder for a refund and he said he is lacking funds right now and would need to get a refund from Damasko to get the refund back to me. ??
5. He said he could not issue a refund on specially ordered or rather non stocked items and would need consent from Damasko for refund. He can only give refunds on stocked pieces without Damaskos consent.
I was taken aback about the information he had given me about his/Damasko return policy. So naturally I emailed Damasko about it. Specifically Isabella. I told her I purchased 2 watches from an Authorized Dealer and they were imperfect. I sent them back to the AD and asked for a refund . I just simply asked her if an Authorized Dealer needed Damasko's consent to give a refund. She replied that if I would like the watches repaired they dont do a refund initially. They have up to 3 attempts to repair the same matter.(I think in this case if the watch had been worn and is still under warranty and if they cant fix the problem after 3 attempts then they would refund) She also said if I would like to have my money back I have 14 days time to return it and it has to be unworn. She said my concessionaire is always responsible for me and since Asrar sold me the watch only he can decide what to do. She also sent me a copy of their General Terms. I quote.
"III. Revocation right and revocation instruction
(1) Revocation right
You have got the right to revoke this contract within fourteen days without providing reasons. The revocation period is fourteen days, starting with the day on which you or a third party appointed by you that is not the carrier of the goods have (has) taken possession of the goods (or the last part of the goods, the partial delivery or piece, in the case of a contract concerning several goods of a common order or concerning the delivery of goods in several partial deliveries or pieces)."
My thoughts on this is that Asrar has the right to refund me if he chooses. The right to refund is with the dealer and not the manufacturer. If I were to buy directly from Damasko they would honor a 14 day return policy without providing reason so why cant Asrar do the same?
I told Asrar what Isabella told me but he said that my understanding of what Isabella said is flawed. He has no idea as to why Isabella would tell me that when they clearly told him they dont refund and will repair the watches 3 times before they discuss a refund. But on the other hand he said he can give refunds on stocked pieces only? Something doesn't make sense.
I shipped him both watches on 9/6 and he received them. On 9/26 he sent me the Fedex tracking number which constantly says "Shipping label has been created. The status will be updated when shipment begins to travel." (dated 9/23) He said he would inform me of every step. On 10/5 he informs me that the packages have been cleared by customs and that Damasko should have it by the end of the week.
Fast forward to 10/24. He did not keep me updated with what Damasko did with the watches nor did he confirm when Damasko actually got the watches. He just said Damasko wont do a refund and they have up to 3 times to repair the watches and beyond that a refund will be discussed. He said Damasko have solved all my concerns with the watches and they have shipped it back to him. He said once he receives them he will inspect and send them to me. He also said that he is willing to give me store credit and would waive the restocking fee if I do not want the Damasko's.
At this point I am not getting and refund. I would like to ask if anyone can confirm the policy that Authorized Dealers needs Damasko's permission to give refunds? Also can anyone confirm if Damasko's repair policy up to 3 times applies to unworn watches under warranty or does it apply to brand new unworn watches? I dont see how this can apply to brand new unworn watches when Damasko offers 14 day returns as per Isabella and Damaskos General Terms. I am just seeking the truth here. If there is any validity in what Asrar is telling me then I will accept my misfortune and move on. But what do I do if hes not telling the truth? Do I have a case here?
I emailed Isabella to confirm if 3 times repair policy applies to worn watches under warranty or unworn watches but I have not heard a reply yet. I also contacted Janine about my situation and she replied that she will let her CEO know and get back to me. She never replied until I sent her a second email asking what her CEO said she replied, "I am kindly asking you to contact Mr. Asrar from the Watchboutique regarding this matter." Huh? That was not helpful. I also emailed Nadja. She simply never replied. That's my experience with Damasko's customer service. Seems like their customer service is a hit or miss.
A hard lesson learned. I should have purchased from an Authorized dealer in the US. I am sure they believe dealer issues the refund and not the manufacturer.
I appreciate any suggestions or advice that you guys could provide.