Should You Buy a Gray Market Watch?

Are you in the market for a lower priced Swiss watches? You may have noticed the low prices offered on different sites that are on the internet. Today, I will discuss the major points that are important when you buy a watch online, let us take AuthenticWatches as a good example to walk you through. Also, I am here to examine all the pros, cons, and risks correlated regarding on buying a gray market watch.

John wondering where to buy an authentic Rolex watch that is in a lower pice

For ages, I’ve been discussing Swiss watch companies in manufacturing lavish and high-quality timepieces with mid to high-range of luxury prices. However, some of these timepieces are available to purchase through authorized dealers, but if you want to get them at a lower price, your best option is the gray market.


Should you buy a gray market watch? What is the gray market?

First and foremost, let us fix a major issue. The gray market is not illegal at all. It is mostly referred as a parallel market that channels through imported goods by distributors that are unauthorized by the original manufacturer. It consents USA consumers to buy products that are not meant to be sold in the USA market, and at the lower prices usually paid overseas.

The gray market is different from the black market because the goods in the black or underground market are all illegal to buy in the USA. Even though you are not breaking any law by purchasing gray market products, there are still a few important notes that you would like consider.

Questions about the gray market

1. Authenticity: Is the gray market watch fake?

AuthenticWatches claim that their watches are 100% genuine and authentic. Gray market watches are authentic watches from the original manufacturer. They are not factory seconds or fakes. What makes them different is that they passed through a reseller or an unauthorized dealer on your way. If you purchase or plan on purchasing from gray market sites that have an excellent reputation and are highly known to be selling of authentic watches, such as the AuthenticWatches, then you are in good hands.

Common signs of a fake watch

AuthenticWatches can guarantee that they only sell authentic watches since all of their items come from authorized dealers that are scrutinized upon arrival to ensure authenticity and quality. Their watches will be no different from anyone that is purchased from a licensed dealer.

AuthenticWatches Logo

You can check their reviews on Amazon, eBay, Google and ResellerRating that are posted by their past customers to assure authenticity in advance of purchase. Also, you can confirm by any reputable watch dealer in your local area once you have received the item. A piece of advice from AuthenticWatches is if you submit your watch for verification to a local dealer, it is best to inform the dealer that you received the watch as a gift. In this way, you will be getting an honest evaluation of authenticity since the local dealer might not take it seriously to having lost transaction to another vendor at a lower rate.

AuthenticWatches on eBay
AuthenticWatches on Amazon
AuthenticWatches on ResellerRatings

Also, be mindful that some gray market dealers are dishonest. Hence, being a buyer, you must be fully aware. If you are doubtful about the status of the gray market seller you are thinking of buying a new watch from, then consider buying the watch elsewhere.

2. Product pricing

If you are looking at a definite watch on a gray market site, you must first check if the site has a toggle switch that allows users to change the default currency to your desired currency. If there is no toggle switch and its default currency is in US dollars, you can do the calculation of the approximate cost using the built-in converter of Google. For instance, you are trying to convert US dollars to British pounds, just type in the search bar ‘convert $X to £’ then hit enter for a quick conversion.

Website's toggle for currency conversionUS dollar converion to British pound

You’ll encounter the prices being incomparably lower in contrast to the UK’s price. One of the reasons is the products sold in the UK frequently have a substantial markup in their price. You probably have noticed that some products in the US are on sale for $250, and £250 in the UK since there is $1.23 to the pound. Also, you probably heard the argument about US prices exclusion of the VAT and local taxes. However, the markup is undeniably evident. On a positive note, the gray market eliminates the markup for the UK and other consumers to purchase goods at overseas prices.

Another important note to be aware of is the inevitable price change that happens on a daily basis. Frustration is just around the corner where you might end up wondering if it is the best price offered. What you can do is to decide if it is the price that you are willing to pay. If it is, just buy the thing. Otherwise, leave it and find somewhere else.

Woman is confused for the regular price change

On a brighter note, AuthenticWatches guarantee the lowest prices available online. However, if you find any watch on another website that is lower than their price, you can give them a call as they give proper price matching. All price match inquiries should be done before placing an order. Otherwise, they can’t do a price match once the order is placed. Also, price matching is not applicable to exchanges and can’t be accommodated if the competing website resides in the same state as the customer’s billing or shipping address. This offer only applies to a competing internet site’s regular pricing and does not apply to temporary or promotional pricing and can’t be combined with any other offers, credits, or discounts.

AuthenticWatches Offers Price Matching

3. Packaging

Gray market sites such as the Jomashop and Prestigetime do an incredible packaging of their products. However, your parcel’s chance of getting destroyed during the delivery is very minor, provided the postage charges which have the best interests of everybody. Some of the gray market sites offer insurance if your package is lost or the like. For instance, “The package was internally boxed and was very well wrapped in a bubble wrap bag, and put in an unmarked strong outer packaging box. It has an excellent protection given the contents.” reviewed by one of the AuthenticWatches verified customers.

 AuthenticWatches Packaging

4. Shipping and customs charges

Although gray market sites provide free shipping to the USA, they are out of paying any import duty charged by the US Customs when sending goods from their warehouses. Shipping to some other countries is available, but each one of them has different import rules and regulations.

Free shipping

You can get an immediate shipping from AuthenticWatches to all of their “IN STOCK” items indicated on their item page and item description. Otherwise, the item page will show an estimated lead time for the product availability or shipping. It will take all the in stock items to be processed and shipped within 1 to 2 business days.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 39 114300 Breitling Colt Chronograph Automatic A1338811-G804-173A

AuthenticWatches offer a free overnight shipping within the 50 United States and international shipping on all orders above $500. The overnight shipping will be done on the same business day as long as the payment is received before 12 PM PST. Also, they offer free shipping for orders below $500 in the 50 states in U.S.A through FedEx Express Saver. For international orders under $500, a $25 will be charged for standard international shipping via FedEx. All orders that include a California address in either billing or shipping fields will be subject to a 7.25% sales tax.

FedEx Express Overnight Shipping

Customs charges are your main issue here. Some customs would say that they have your package and you won’t be able to receive it until you have paid the customs fee for a maximum of 20 days. There would be a chance for a damaged package if you failed to pay, if it is returned to the sender, you will be responsible for paying the return costs as well. Either or not your package is picked up by Customs is so much a healthy dip, the charges must be paid in all legal forms. The best piece of advice we can give is to expect in paying the import VAT and have it included in your calculation of the total price of your device.

Paying the custom fee first before getting the package

Another worth mentioning information is that some gray market sites have Chinese and EU warehouses. On purchasing goods that are in these warehouses would mean that you don’t have to pay for Customs charges. Gray market sites are usually open to discuss any special labeling or packing instructions you may have. The products sent through an air mail would be marked up as of little value or a gift even though you must know since it will not make them as an exemption from the US charges when opened. However, AuthenticWatches does not have a storefront or a show room to visit. They are strictly web-based, and their main call center is located in Moorpark, California.  

5. Delivery times to overseas countries

Here is a rule of thumb: Never expect to get a next-day delivery from these gray market sites even though the delivery is much faster than your expectation. Be keenly aware that if Customs inspect your package, expect a much longer delay.

Do not expect for a next day delivery

International orders from AuthenticWatches are shipped via FedEx International Economy. You can contact FedEx or USPS for specific delivery times in your area. Free shipping is not applicable to exchanges, refunds, repairs or exchanges. Most of the items are shipped “direct signature needed,” and someone should be physically present to sign for the item. There is no indirect delivery since the courier will not leave the package if a door tag is left with a signature. AuthenticWatches will not be held liable for any late package arrivals due to courier delays. You are encouraged to contact the AuthenticWatches if the ordered package doesn’t arrive on the provided date. Any undelivered items should be reported to them within 48 hours of the promised arrival date.

6. Return Policies and Refunds

Return policy and refunds

Here’s the fact: The return policies is the biggest risk that you can experience in buying from a gray market. Think of this, “What if the watch is defective?” You are not covered by the regulations of the European Union law if you purchase overseas products such as a timepiece.  Take into account that there might be a language barrier in dealing with the customer services depending on the site in an inquiry.


Gray market watches will not be defective. As I’ve mentioned, most of them provide an incredible packaging and perform a checkup before sending out to dodge the potential dramas of returns. Nevertheless, it is important that you check the site’s return policy before buying.


Let us take AuthenticWatches as an example. Within 30 days of shipment, you may return your purchased item if you are not satisfied with it. The company will also give a full refund less on shipping fee (calculated on on all domestic purchases received within the allotted return period on “In Stock” items that are below $5000 being fully paid through Paypal, Amazon Payments, Discover, MasterCard, or Visa for the advertised price. Furthermore, the company will also give a full value one-time exchange for a correspondingly priced item including the shipping fees. There will be a 10% restocking charge on all other orders, minimum of $50 or a full value one-time exchange. Items should be returned unaltered, unworn, in their original, unused status, in their original boxes and with all paperwork including the warranties, accessories, and parts to ensure any credit. “New and unused” means that there are no blemishes, marks, or scratches on the item; protective stickers and tags have not been eliminated; there are no signs of wear on the product or the case, and the product should not have been sized or adjusted in any way.

All returned items should be shipped to them via USPS REGISTERED MAIL along with a completed RMA form. The sender is responsible for fully insuring the package. The AuthenticWatches will not be held accountable for packages lost in transit, and hence, demand packages to be sent insured. So your investment is protected if a package is lost. FedEx and UPS do not guarantee watches. Thus, the company requires any package being returned to be sent USPS REGISTERED MAIL. Also, they will not be responsible for any packages sent via UPS or FedEx or any other means other than the listed method.

AuthenticWatches returns and repair request form

7. Conclusion

Purchasing a timepiece on a gray market site or dealer is not suitable for everyone, and some of the risks are very clear. You probably will get an excellent deal on a luxury Swiss watch, or you probably get a headache that will stay for some weeks. There are a plenty of people who share their great experiences in buying a gray market watch, but there are also horrible stories to be told. Guided by the facts, you can deliver an educated decision to whether purchasing a gray market watch or the retail watch price from the original manufacturer is the best solution for you.

Gray market watch risks might give you a headache Gray market watch great experiences from satisfied customers

If you are convinced in buying a timepiece from a gray market, get one or two from AuthenticWatches as they have gained a very good online reputation and great reviews from their customers over 30 years in service. They are an elite member of, this means that only merchants with the best experiences can earn it with high ratings. It is how ResellerRatings help you select the best stores for your online shopping. Also, AuthenticWatches is an accredited member of or better business bureau with an A+ rating. BBB ratings exemplify the BBB’s opinion of how the company is expected to support with its buyers. The BBB rating is based on information that BBB can get about the business, including complaints taken from the public. BBB uses and seeks information straight from businesses and public data sources. They also got a certificate from Manufacturing Jewelers & Suppliers of America (MJSA) which is known as a world class trade association dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design. Furthermore, your information details are secured with AuthenticWatches. Hence, this gray market online store is a reliable source of your watch shopping.

AuthenticWatches ResellerRatings Elite member
AuthenticWatches is an accredited member of BBB
MJSA Certificate
4.9 (97.78%) 9 votes

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