I find it strange that consumers have no qualms paying the listed price for some retail goods and services, but not for others. We pay RRP for our clothes, our food, our dry cleaning and dining out, but somewhere along the way everybody decided watches (like new cars) were open to aggressive negotiation. This haggling trend, combined with the boom in online retailing has created healthy competition amongst retailers, and kept the manufacturers true to their pricing, thus creating a position of power for watch buyers. With so much choice, here are a few cities on my list of best destinations for watch shopping.
The Big Apple’s size, money, multiple manufactures and plenty of modern and vintage retailers, dealers and auction houses means the selection is as about as good as you can find anywhere in the world. Alongside Flagship retail stores from the likes of Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Panerai and Omega are mega retailers like Tourneau Time Machine (go here for an unmatched selection of brands), Motion In Time or Wempe Jewellers (stocking some of the most expensive watches in the world). Those searching for the finest vintage watches should check out the Aaron Faber Gallery, link up with some of the world’s best dealers including Andrew Shear of Sheartime, or align their trip with an upcoming auction at Antiquorum, Bonhams or Christie’s.
Singapore has become an undisputed mecca of watch retailing in the last decade and I think the majority of it can be attributed to the strength of the Chinese market. With the super wealthy now flocking to Singapore to benefit from the country’s attractive taxes, the luxury retail industry has boomed. The very best in haute horology can be acquired at countless locations, from the impressive mall networks to individual hotels – the Marina Bay Sands has roughly 30 retailers alone including Richard Mille and Roger Dubuis. The Hour Glass, Asia’s leading luxury watch retailer, has multiple boutiques throughout the city, my favourite being the stunning ‘More Passion’ in Paragon Shopping Centre. Knowledgeable buyers can also head to Lucky Plaza, Republic Plaza or People’s Park Complex to window shop a plethora of independent stores selling new and second hand watches. Successful shoppers can also take advantage of Singapore’s Tourist Refund Scheme returning roughly 5.5% of the 7% consumption tax after commission.