So I've been exploring this site as I look to learn a bit before buying a replacement for my 20 year old Tissot PRS200. Actually, my thought is to buy something to wear on the 3-4 days per week that I'm not working. I seem to be drawn to Breitling watches, specifically the Avenger Blackbird, Colt Chronograph Black Steel and Avenger II. I have some general questions, as well as Breitling specific questions, and figured I'd post here to get a wider perspective. Thanks in advance for any advice.
I think I have a decent handle on the pros and cons of buying from the gray market vs from an AD. That said, there seem to be a few self- described independent collectors that have large collections that they're selling for discounts, yet somehow offer a manufacturer warranty. A few of them seem to have long history and a solid rep built over time on this forum, an others, so I would think that mitigates some of the risk.
How are they able to offer the warranty while the gray market cannot?
Are there any potential issues with these warranties being honored?
Are there any downsides to buying watches from these "indie" collectors/sellers, besides the obvious increased risk vs. an AD?
Breitling Specific Questions:
How reliable and durable is this brand overall, and the watches I'm considering (Breitling Avenger Blackbird, Colt Chronograph Black Steel, Avenger II)?
What is the cost of ownership after purchase (routine service, etc.)?
How often is routine service for these types of automatic watches -- once every 4 years or so?
Can routine service be done at any AD or must the watch be sent to a central Breitling facility?
What have people's experiences been with Breitling warranty and non-warranty service post purchase? I worry about this as I am driving distance from their CT facility and the on line reviews are primarily atrocious. And yes, I do understand that we're more likely to post negative experiences on line in general which is why I was looking to get a broader perspective.
As much as I love the black Breitlings, I worry about how they will wear over time and how durable the finish is. What have people's experience been? Is there any way to protect the finish or repair them after minor damage?
Why are Breitling bands so expensive (even canvas, etc.)?
Are there issues with swapping out straps/bands with non Breitling bands?