Armand Nicolet - brand, reliability and popularity?
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  1. #1
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    Armand Nicolet - brand, reliability and popularity?

    Hi,
    Hopefully this is the correct place to post.

    I am considering my next purchase; I have just the one automatic watch (Ball Worldtimer) but can see this becoming a collection. I realise the popular watches are Rolex, Omega, Panerai and therefore owning one can be as much an investment as enjoyment, as you can sell a few years later in the buoyant pre-owned market. That in itself creates some reassurance for the buyer. But I am not sure I will get that reassurance with my next purchase.

    I think I have fallen in love with the Armand Nicolet LS8.

    I have a few concerns though - it doesn't seem a very widespread brand? I am struggling to even find a dealer in the UK that I could visit. And if they are not popular, then presumably the resale value of them is very poor?

    The next thing is that with the Bremont I was also considering I can see plenty of comments from people who have dealt with the company, had warranty returns and services etc and can feel comfortable with the post-sale service. I don't really see any for Armand Nicolet, so then I have doubts around how I might handle any problems, or a service down the line.

    Then finally is the price. A couple of people have commented on this forum that Armand Nicolet will sell for as much as 80% off their inflated original price. I presume this means grey market, but then the only grey market sites I know of are in the US and I am in Scotland - I would not like to think of a $3k watch being opened and messed with at UK import customs...

    Would like to hear people's thoughts on my concerns, if I'm being irrational or if any others have an AN and can share their experiences.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Re: Armand Nicolet - brand, reliability and popularity?

    The only place I am aware that you can buy a new AN is Ashford.com (in U.S.A.). I had one one but it had problems from the beginning. Ashford couldn't fix it after two attempts and it had to go back to Switzerland. Personally I wouldn't touch another one but that's just one person's experience.
    As far as price and resale, Yes they sell for at least 70% off list price and resale goes down from there. My advice would be to make sure you are REALLY in love and plan on never selling it.

    Also, this is the wrong forum for this question, you should post to public.
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  3. #3
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    Re: Armand Nicolet - brand, reliability and popularity?

    Public Forum for this one.

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    Re: Armand Nicolet - brand, reliability and popularity?

    Amazon.com carries them. That suggests Amazon.co.uk might.
    That said...I'd cross-check prices with, say, Ashford. Amazon functions as a storefront, not just a direct vendor. The supplier sets the prices, and can base it on whatever they want.

    I can't speak to the brand. I can say this: I am very, very leery when I see street prices consistently at 1/3 of MSRP, or less. Too often, it's bogus...it's selling you that, oh, WOW, you're getting something AWESOME at a great price! Makes me wonder if even the street price is excessive...but even more so, it's just a model that makes me think the seller is fundamentally a shyster.

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    Re: Armand Nicolet - brand, reliability and popularity?

    Find the watch that speaks to you, not your wallet.....
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    Re: Armand Nicolet - brand, reliability and popularity?

    Check ebay. There is at least one reputable seller from Germany having several Nicolets with great discounts.

  8. #7
    Member mpalmer's Avatar
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    Re: Armand Nicolet - brand, reliability and popularity?

    It's a small brand, with a relatively long history (particularly these days). As far as I can tell they have a decent enough reputation, however, they are not really sold in the USA, and their msrp is vastly marked up. If buying, buy at a huge discount off msrp or buy preowned.
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  9. #8
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    Re: Armand Nicolet - brand, reliability and popularity?

    With your concerns there are lots of other options.

  10. #9
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    Re: Armand Nicolet - brand, reliability and popularity?

    Quote Originally Posted by gangrel View Post
    Amazon.com carries them. That suggests Amazon.co.uk might.
    That said...I'd cross-check prices with, say, Ashford. Amazon functions as a storefront, not just a direct vendor. The supplier sets the prices, and can base it on whatever they want.

    I can't speak to the brand. I can say this: I am very, very leery when I see street prices consistently at 1/3 of MSRP, or less. Too often, it's bogus...it's selling you that, oh, WOW, you're getting something AWESOME at a great price! Makes me wonder if even the street price is excessive...but even more so, it's just a model that makes me think the seller is fundamentally a shyster.
    Yes there is one available on Amazon.co.uk - and its from a German company with near identical name to the eBay user Okapi makes reference to below. Strangely though its available on Amazon, but that eBay seller doesn't currently list one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Okapi001 View Post
    Check ebay. There is at least one reputable seller from Germany having several Nicolets with great discounts.
    Is the fact the initial price is so high, that much of a surprise? I don't know a lot about it myself but from spending a good deal of time researching this forum I see a lot of comments from people suggesting that this is normal for the 'smaller' swiss watch makers.
    Also as with this model (9620S-AG-P713MR2) the serial number is part of the dial I would have thought it would not be shaved off a grey market model.

    Supposedly the retail price is around £7k - although I have not seen it for sale anywhere at that price.
    The Amazon site/seller mentioned above has it for sale at around £4,000.
    I found a UK seller (chrononext.co.uk) selling it at around £3,600
    Ashford is for sale at what would convert to around £1780 (but would then incur tax and duty above that)

    Can anyone give me any tales of experience with the brand? I have read about its heritage, but I'm wondering more about the here and now - is their service and communication up to scratch?

    Also for those saying there are other options... would you care to propose any? I have not found any that are quite the same; Hamilton do a similar model at about half the price but it is nowhere near as refined-looking.

  11. #10
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    Re: Armand Nicolet - brand, reliability and popularity?

    I have read a lot of comments that the retail pricing bothers a lot of people and rightfully so. However, If you check the online watch specials this brand frequently has tremendous markdowns from the exorbitant retail prices and can provide a good value in my opinion.

    A concern I have with buying these from Ashford or any other grey market seller is that while new, they are older models that may require service. My watchmaker recommended fresh oil on an M2 I have had less than a year (but may be 6-8 years since manufactured) and charges $200 for a full service. I personally like the look of quite a few of their watches and believe I got a lot of watch for the money even after paying for service.

    They have a nice presentation for their watches and all come with a certificate and timing info. I was happy to pick up a brand new, Calibre AN 9201/2846 full calendar moon phase watch with a sapphire crystal and see through case back for under $1500 even if I have to spend a couple of hundred to service it. If you want an LS8 I recommend you keep an eye on the online watch discount sites and Ashford has always been great with me and willing to negotiate a price. Also, I have seen an LS8 in the Amazon warehouse site with steep discounts from gray market pricing. Personally I have had good luck purchasing everything from night vision, Trijicon scopes and watches through them and have always been pleased, in fact they were like new each time. I mention the optics in that they are similar mechanically to the sensitivity of watches to abuse and they all worked perfectly.

    This summer Ashford had a special program and offered an additional nine percent off the lowest advertised price so I picked up a few and my only regret was buying a gold and stainless model instead of just one or the other. I have only worn two of the ones I purchased but they have worn well so far. Here are some pics of the presentation and timing certs as well as a few watches.



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