Timepiece Chronicle

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How to get a great deal on a new watch for Christmas

How to get a great deal on a new watch for Christmas

Black Friday, with all its supposed savings, has been and gone for another year, yet there will still be a lot of you out there looking for a Christmas bargain at your local jeweller. I believe that a fine Swiss watch shouldn't be devalued too much by extreme discounting but at the same time I understand the necessity (and thrill) of getting a fantastic price. 

For the most part, I won't talk in particular about how much discount that you should ask for. Each jeweller has an acceptable level which varies from 0% up to 25-30%, so setting a "golden amount" is in my opinion not worth figuring out. 

Now before I get into a few Dos and Don'ts of asking for a discount, I have to say that there is one sure-fire way of getting some money off: Working or knowing someone who works in the industry. Nearly all retailers and brands will offer their employees some form of staff discount, which can be sometimes be used on behalf of friends and family. If you know someone in the industry, go ask them about sourcing you a watch. If you don't then I hope the following tips will help you out.

DON'T

 Do not go to a single brand boutique - These showrooms are usually owned by the brand themselves or by a large chain jeweller and will have extremely rigid guidelines about how much pieces can be discounted. More often than not there is no discount offered on anything, maybe 1% or 2% to a frequent customer or big spender if the watch is expensive enough. Save yourself some time and go to a multiple-brand stockist.

I was lucky enough to get my Zenith Captain Dual Time at 50% off from Harrods in London. Definitely a once in a lifetime bargain!!

Be unreasonable -  Everyone has that friend whose sister's cousin's boyfriend bought a Rolex brand new at 50% off from a jeweller. Who knows whether those tales are true, but when you go to make an offer make sure your expectations are realistic. Compared to jewellery, watches have a very low mark-up and the amount of profit that can be made is slim. So by all means have a joke or two with the salesperson about half price deals but when it comes down to business, don't insult them or the brand with a ridiculously low offer. 

Try and price match on-line prices - Prestige Swiss timepieces do not sell on-line through discount sites, so do not expect that price in the showroom. The industry considers authorised retailers of the brand to be the only place to purchase new pieces and they won't be accepting any under-guarantee repairs with a guarantee card stamped by a non-agent.  Reputable retailers will not be willing to match or get anywhere close to an on-line discounted price, so it's really not even worth a try.

Take the first offer - Both the retailer and the customer are trying to get the most out the sale; You're trying to get a fantastic price but the retailer is also trying to get as much profit as possible. They will have a price in their head as to how far they can go down and I guarantee you that the first price they give you is not that number. Play the game with them, always keep a figure in your head and barter reasonably.

DO

Make things easy for the showroom - This ties into the first point about being nice but the easier you can make my life, the more I'm going to like you. If you know the brand's reference number for the watch then good, if you know my company's reference number then even better as I can find it a lot quicker. By leaving any kids at home (properly supervised of course) it means we both can focus all our concentration on watches, creating a much more enjoyable experience. Make the salesperson's job easier.

Come in on the right day - Come into the showroom at the end of the month when targets are needing to be met is the best time to get a good deal. Combine that with coming in on a quiet week day then a retailer will try their best to make sure their day isn't a failure. Plan when you're going into the showroom.

Your research - Before you even set foot into the showroom, make sure you know what piece you want and whether it is carried by the shop. If you start wasting my time for hours on end trying every watch in the showroom then I'm going to start getting impatient and think you're not serious. If I'm ordering a piece direct from the brand, I'm not going offer any significant amount of discount, however if I've had a piece sitting in a cabinet for a few months then I'll be much more inclined to let it go for a better price. Know what you want before going out to buy.

Know how much you want to pay - Nothing is more infuriating to a retailer than a customer coming in asking for discount but not knowing how much they want. A salesperson might not know the cost price of a piece but will know in their minds (or their manager will) how much is acceptable. If you know what you want to pay then you can steer the price in that direction, otherwise everyone's just throwing around numbers with no idea of their meaning.  Set a budget and stick with it.

A client gave me a box of chocolates for untangling a necklace for free and it was such a lovely gesture I won't forget her if she comes in to purchase a new piece!

Use whole numbers - Using percentages might seem easy but sometimes a nice figure said aloud, say 15%, works out at an awkward amount of discount on the page. Managers don't want odd pounds/dollars on their sales reports looking unsightly, they like clean round figures. Remember, making the deal easy for the salesmen is going to get you the best price as asking for £1000 off a a £6000 watch is better than asking for 16.67%!  Do a deal in whole numbers, it's easier for everyone to know what the price is and what kind of deal you're getting. 

Say thank you - Once everything's been paid for and hands shaken, it's always nice to say thank you. Not just shouting it over your shoulder as you leave the store but in a meaningful way. A sincere word to a manager or colleague about the experience or even a box of chocolates/similar gift will make you stand out and when you return for your next purchase, they will have no trouble remembering that you're a serious buyer.

I hope that these tips have been helpful and it will get you one step closer to the watch of your dreams. Please share your tips to how to get a great deal on watches in the comments below!

My (incredibly biased) thoughts on Zenith

My (incredibly biased) thoughts on Zenith

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