Jomashop vs. Watchmaxx (Brands, Service, Reliability, & More!)
Swiss watchmakers have often said they loathe the gray market. They’ve called it the watch industry’s cancer, and it’s easy to see why. Taking as much as 20% of revenue from the overall global watch market (worth $62.5bn as reported by Euromonitor), the gray market is growing massively.
It continues to cause a significant revenue loss to watch brands with high discounts that wreck the conscientious prestige and reputation that the brands have built over the years. This is also reflected in Jean-Claude Biver’s statement to Reuters. The former LVMH president stated that once you’ve broken the illusion of prestige and high prices, it will slowly lead to the demise of luxury goods.
A couple of years back, the gray market was nothing more than a shadow, and then it caused very little irritation to authorized dealers and prestigious watch brands, but not so anymore. If you’re a watch enthusiast, you must have been advised to purchase a gray market watch, and at this point, I want to add that gray market dealers aren’t the bad guys; it’s just that they are unauthorized.
What Is A Gray Market Dealer?
Unlike the black market, the gray market is legitimate. It constitutes dealers outside the authorized dealer network of watch brands that offer authentic products at prices 20% to 30% below the retail price. To buttress this further, a timepiece purchased from Exquisite Timepieces would be a primary market purchase.
In contrast, the same watch purchased in the Jomashop store would be a gray market purchase. The watches purchased from the gray market generally come without factory warranties and have a lower resale value than those purchased from an authorized dealer.
So, gray market dealers include all the watch dealers and boutiques that are not accredited distributors of the watch brand they sell. They are an unauthorized source selling authentic watches that are legally sourced outside the distribution course agreed upon by the brand and authorized dealers.
Where Do Grey Market Dealers Get Their Watches From?
It is difficult to determine how the gray market gets its supply as unauthorized dealers acquire timepieces in various ways. Many gray market dealers are keen on protecting their suppliers’ identities. Still, one speculation is that the watches are obtained from authorized dealers around the globe who are striving to sell off their stock to get a new intake. Another speculation is that the watch brands themselves sell obsolete and unsold timepieces from their inventory directly to the gray market dealers in ways that make traceability very difficult.
Luxury Brands’ Response To The Gray Market Watch Industry
From forfeiting hundreds of millions of dollars to keep stock out of the gray market to cutting down wholesale orders to preserve the patina of exclusivity and rarity, top watch brands have often tried to solve the gray market issues.
Mr von Känel, former CEO of Longines, said the brand was attacking gray market sites by tracking Longlines watches found on the gray market online stores back to the dealers and then penalizing such dealers by delisting them permanently from its list of official retailers.
Others are rebuying gray market inventory. For instance, Richemont (which owns A. Lange & Söhne, Cartier, IWC, Jaeger-LeCoultre, etc.) reckoned that 500 million USD was worth paying to prevent the global gray market from being flooded with its timepieces.
At the same time, Omega, in an attempt to curb the sale of one of its watches in gray market sites, put a tiny 0.5cm engraving on the back of it and claimed copyright on the timepiece.
Some other brands (like Rolex) are responding to this growing threat by offering in-house resale services. This is not to say brands are not two-faced. Most brands are unwilling to take legal action against their dealers caught defaulting or even reduce their stock volume.
Should You Buy Watches From Gray Market Dealers?
No one is immune to a discount. As the gray market continues to grow massively with an increased number of luxury watches on their sites with beckoning bargains, they have become a powerful force that is impossible to ignore.
While buying a watch from a gray market or not lies within your power, take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of doing so below to make an informed decision.
The gray market offers a wide array of elegant watches that are readily available and easier to access. There is hardly any waiting list, even for luxury watches from high-end brands – which is not the case with licensed dealers. It is even possible to access rare collections on the gray market.
Gray market dealers operate online, so you can browse through numerous available options and make purchases easily with flexible payment options, including cash on delivery with just one click. Features like trade-in schemes for old watches, price-match, etc, heighten the ease and comfort of an effortless shopping experience.
Since gray market dealers usually get their watches in bulk from VAT-free countries, they are priced more competitively and are steeply discounted than those obtained from authorized dealers.
Warranty And Resale Value
Watch warranties protect against manufacturer’s defects and give you (the buyer) the opportunity to be compensated for any losses suffered while purchasing the watch from an authorized dealer. The complete manufacturer’s warranty is one of the benefits an authorized dealer can offer, which gray market dealers can’t.
Apart from fixing up whatever is wrong with the watch after purchase, the warranty card is seen as the Certificate Of Authenticity, making the timepiece retain its value when and if you decide to resell it. This is a significant trade-off when dealing with gray market dealers because gray market watches do not include the manufacturer’s warranty.
Authenticity And Product Knowledge
One of the biggest issues with gray market dealers is authenticity. Since the watches are obtained outside the manufacturer’s official distribution network, the risk of counterfeit watches is present, albeit very low.
Unlike watches obtained from the gray market, buyers can feel 100% secure when dealing with authorized dealers (ADs) since what they get isn’t counterfeit, and ADs can provide knowledgeable answers to product questions too.
For the gray market, there are bound to be a lot of fake watches in circulation, and it’s not so easy to undermine counterfeiters since the serial numbers are often completely removed, making tracking impossible.
A watch obtained from an authorized dealer is eligible for in-house maintenance within the warranty period. Authorized dealers have direct access to various brands’ service centers, as brands do not service watches purchased outside their official network. So it will cost you some money to have your timepiece sent back to the manufacturer for fixing if you get it from the gray market.
Jomashop Vs Watchmaxx: Which is Best for You?
If you’re in the market for a quality watch, you’ve probably stumbled upon Jomashop, the king of the discount gray market online watch stores. Ranked 19 from over 100 jewelry and luxury products brands in the United States, Jomashop was founded by Marvin Sternberg and began operation in 1987, intending to be the number one luxury store gray market.
Watchmaxx, on the other hand, is a family-owned business founded in 1999. Both stores claim to offer a 100% authentic and unrivaled selection of luxury watches at some of the most competitive prices, but how do they compete against each other? Let’s find out!
Both stores have a wide array of watches to choose from. But, Jomashop’s inventory is more extensive and varied, with watches from hundreds of brands, including Cartier, Omega, and Rolex.
Watchmaxx, on the other hand, doesn’t carry every mainstream watch brand but has a strong inventory in the low to mid-range market. So if you’re interested in an affordable luxury watch from brands like Tissot, Citizen, Seiko, Orient watches, Oris, or even Longines, Watchmaxx is worth skimming through for deals.
This is not to say Watchmaxx doesn’t have luxury watches from prestigious brands, as they do have watches from numerous brands. But Jomashop wins the selection category because, in addition to low and mid-range watch brands, it delves deeper into the watch world and carries ultra high-end timepieces with complex movements like Breguet, Vacheron Constantin, IWC, and Patek Philippe.
Both WatchMaxx and Jomashop have built their brand on trust, and customers are generally satisfied with their purchases, according to online reviews. While none of them can be said to offer services that are up to par with today’s standards, they have acceptable end-user ratings.
WatchMaxx, for instance, has been rated 4.79 stars from over 9,000 reviews, while Jomashop has a 4.9 stars rating on Amazon from over 70,000 verified purchases. This shows that both Jomashop and WatchMaxx constantly work hard to ensure their customers feel secure when making purchases since poor service always leads to loss of revenue and lower profits.
However, prevailing comments show that customer service for both online stores is not always proactive, lacks product stock information, and doesn’t emphasize value to the end user.
Shipping and Return policy
Dealing with returns is unavoidable, and when it comes to the gray market, there are higher return rates compared to brick-and-mortar stores. Unfortunately, the reviews for both Jomashop and WatchMaxx are lined with people waiting for up to several days for their orders to be shipped.
So, don’t expect swift shipping as delays are common since both companies are large and run their logistics and warehouse. In addition to this, if you find your product defective on receipt, you are accountable for all the return shipping costs for repairs.
Jomashop and Watchmaxx are legit online retailers that source authentic stocks from reputable authorized dealers, distributors, and jewelers. Both stores have been in business for a long time and have established a good reputation for standing behind their products.
Jomashop has a stronger brand reputation than Watchmaxx, with a more extensive reach. It currently ships to over 150 countries, and its merchandise is guaranteed. Some of them even come with a warranty card (even though this isn’t validated by the watch brand), and the watches are as shown on the website.
Both stores strive to be credible and transparent in their deals and how they treat their customers. However, when you deal with thousands of orders daily, it’s natural to make mistakes.
There are plenty of unhappy reviews from verified buyers that received wrong or defective items and had a hard time returning or repairing them. Always remember that, when you buy from a gray market dealer, you lose out on the support and assistance of the watch brand itself.
- An extensive list of high-quality watches with frequently updated stock
- Affordable prices for high-end luxury watches
- Frequent promos and coupons, as well as a watch trade-in service
- Fast domestic shipping plus international shipping to about 150 countries
- Positive reputation
- Long delivery times for international buyers
- Return shipping charges are not covered
- Poor customer service & bad exchange, refund, and cancellation policy
- Risk of purchasing a defective piece or counterfeit watch
- Great website layout and selection of products
- A wide array of luxury watches with competitive prices.
- Quick delivery/Fast domestic shipping
- Generous discount code options
- Free sizing service
- Additional charges on international orders
- Risk of purchasing a defective or counterfeit watch
- No factory warranty
- Subpar customer support with a bad cancellation & refund policy
A Necessary Evil
Even though the gray market acts as an acceptable solution to overstocking, it can still be harmful to the luxury watch industry. Its prevalence has been significant over the past few years, and it may even outgrow authorized dealers in terms of watch sales.
The gray market does come with a lot of benefits, including access to luxury watches at lower prices. However, if anything happens to your timepiece, you’re likely to spend more to fix it than the amount you saved from shopping in the gray market. Not to mention the constant risk of buying a counterfeit watch.
If you want the peace of mind that you’re buying 100% authentic watches, then you should opt for an authorized dealer. Exquisite Timepieces is an authorized dealer for many popular watch brands such as Omega, Seiko, and Longines and provides an excellent customer experience with an unmatched warranty.
About Exquisite Timepieces
Established in 1998, Exquisite Timepieces is your one-stop shop for all things luxury watches! We are an authorized dealer for 60+ luxury watch brands including Omega, Hublot, Seiko, & Longines! We are proud to showcase one of the world’s largest pre-owned watch collections, including renowned brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe. Check out our brand new watch arrivals here and popular pre-owned listings here.