Watches aren’t just a time-telling tool. They’re also an outlet for self-expression, an heirloom, and in the case of luxury watches: goods that retain the value paid for them – or better yet, become even more valuable over time.
And the enthusiasm affluent Singaporeans have for these fine timepieces is palpable; revenue in the luxury watches segment is expected to amount to US$315 million ($416 million) this year.
If you’ve just dipped your toes into the high-end watch market, however, the price-tags might have scared you off from making a purchase. Thankfully, there are plenty of affordable local places you can source for your dream luxury watch without burning a hole in your pocket.
Reach out to private sellers on facebook groups or P2P platforms
Peer to peer (P2P) marketplaces (e.g. Facebook and Carousell) have made sourcing for luxury watches from individual sellers easier. Join private Facebook groups like SG Buy/Sell/Trade Luxury Watches and SG Watch Trade to access local listings of luxury watches for sale.
As individual sellers typically operate out of their own homes, they can offer watches at relatively attractive rates. That said, buying a luxury watch from a private seller is still somewhat risky; you might overpay, or worse, waste hard-earned money on a fake.
Do everything you can to mitigate these risks. Understand the history of the listed watch and get a few good photos of it. Questions you should ask the seller include “Is it still under warranty?”, “Was it purchased locally from an authorised dealer?” and “Are you the first owner?”.
Plus, it’s always ideal to have the watch verified for authenticity by an authorised service centre. You will bear the expenses – but it’s a much smaller price to pay than shelling out thousands on a counterfeit.
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Buy from pre-owned and grey dealers for a peace of mind
Don’t want to deal with the hassle of sourcing for a reliable private seller? There’s also the option of pre-owned dealers and grey dealers – a thriving market in Singapore.
You might have to pay a little more for your dream luxury watch, but in turn, you enjoy the assurance that you’re indeed paying for an authentic good.
Many of these dealers operate out of physical shops and survive mainly on a word-of mouth basis; they wouldn’t risk sullying their reputations by selling you fakes.
Many of these shop owners are also watch collectors and enthusiasts with many years of experience. Who knows? You might leave their shops with a more valuable watch than you came in for.
Support home-grown luxury watch brands
There are plenty of local, home-grown luxury brand watch brands. Many of these independent micro-brands got off the ground as successfully-funded Kickstarter projects.
Pushing out watches that feature unique designs, these Singaporean brands are perfect for anyone looking to stand out.
There’s no need to worry about quality as well. Many of these fiercely-independent Singaporean brands use the same manufacturers as premium, foreign brands. There’s no better opportunity to #SupportLocal.
Consider getting in on the luxury watch sharing economy
Operating on a similar basis as fashion subscription boxes, a local watch subscription startup offers various luxury watches for rental, with prices as low as $175 monthly.
The company charges based on ‘tiers’, with the highest tier priced at $375 monthly (roughly $12.50 a day) for more exclusive models like a Rolex Daytona and an Audemars Piguet Roo. For reference: a Rolex Daytona retails at a whopping price of $42,600!
Use the right cashback credit card to maximise savings
Ultimately, if you’re indeed buying a luxury watch, do treat it as an expense – and make sure you can afford it. Do not overstretch your budget because it’s an ‘investment’.
Maximise any rebate you can get on this hefty purchase (e.g. with cashback credit cards or shopping credit cards). There’s also no harm in reviewing your home insurance to ensure your watch is protected in cases of perils, like fire or theft.
This article was first published in ValueChampion.