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Watch Education Introduction to Off Market Watches

What Are Off Market Watches?

Black Market

Watch Market Black MarketBlack market watches are either stolen, counterfeit or fake.  These watches are also, in most cases, illegal to manufacture or sell.  Watches have also been a target for counterfeiting schemes because they are desirable and small enough to conceal.  Counterfeit and fake watches do not have the same quality materials as a legitimate watch.  Purchasing these can lead to the continuation of poor working conditions and contribute to the use of child labor.  Counterfeiters steal the knowledge of watch companies and give no credit to the hardworking individuals who are behind the innovative and complicated designs.  By purchasing fake items, jobs can be lost which can cause ripples through the economy.

Gray Market

Gray Market watches are authentic products that are sold through an unauthorized source.  Watches purchased from a gray market source will not include a factory warranty and resale values will be lower than a watch purchased from an authorized retailer.  While these watches are made by the luxury brands, the warranty service will be denied by authorized service centers when the watch needs repairing.  Gray market watches are often sourced from overseas or even sold illicitly by dealers that have excess inventory.  When buying from a gray market source, you have no way of knowing when the watch was manufactured and what may have happened to it in its journey between multiple distribution points.  The repairs on the watch were likely preformed by an unauthorized repair center which also means that the parts may not be brand authorized parts.

Signs Of A Gray Market Watch

Scratched off Serial NumberIt may be hard to notice what makes a watch gray market because they are authentic pieces.  If you see a discounted price advertised online for a new watch, you can be certain that the dealer is not authorize.  Gray market watches do not usually come with the manufacturer’s warranty card or an authorized dealer stamp.  These watches may also be missing their serial number.  These steps stop the manufacturers from tracing the original authorized dealer that sold the watch into the gray market.  Removing the serial number means if the watch is lost or stolen, it will not be traceable or available to be claimed by insurance.  Authorized repair centers will also typically refuse to service the watch – leaving you in a bind when the watch requires service.  Some gray market dealers will be forthcoming with the fact they are selling non-authorized watches while other dealers may hide the fact until your watch needs servicing.

Authorized Retailers

Why Buy Authorized?

Authorized Dealer of Luxury WatchesWatchmakers have spent years building their unique knowledge to create beautiful pieces and have been validated and trained by the brands they represent.  By buying from an authorized retailer, you are supporting the lifestyle and creativity of the watchmakers that create these beautiful works of art.   You can sleep in peace knowing that your watch is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty.  Purchasing through an authorized retailer, you will also have the benefit of knowing the watch is genuine.  You will also have the ability to ask the retailer about the brand and know that you will be receiving truthful and informed information about the watches.  Authorized retailers are not able to post pricing information about the brands they carry online.  This is what separates them from a gray market dealer or even black market dealers.  At the end of the day, it is your decision whether saving a few percentage points is worth the risks inherent in buying a gray market timepiece.

Govberg Jewelers

A family owned business for nearly 100 years, Govberg is an authorized retailer of over 40 different brands of new watches.  These brands trust Govberg with selling fully authorized watches with full factory warranties.  Buying from an authorized dealer like Govberg also means full access to the entire line by that brand.  Govberg has been highlighted by Forbes in an article about how to become a number one watch retailer in America.  When purchasing a watch from Govberg it will also include the full factory warranty that covers many different repairs.  Your watch will receive the best servicing and authentic brand parts.  If you decide to sell your watch, you will be able to provide authentic box and papers showing authenticity, raising the value for resale.  It is important to trust where you buy your watches and to know that you are getting a genuine time-piece.

About Emily Smith
Newbie to watches but a quick learner. She loves the history of watches and loves learning how they work. She prefers Rolex and Omega watches but is learning the history behind other brands. Her watch of choice right now is her vintage Omega Ladymatic that is a mere 19mm. She has her eye on a few others including the Plum dial Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36mm and a Patek Twenty ~4 (4910/10 A011). While she enjoys the look of vintage watches, she is excited to learn about new models and build her collection.