Personal consultation
+49 711 217 268 20
Your contact person
To the contact form
Available until 17:00 today.
What you should definitely consider when buying a luxury watch on the Internet

In an increasingly connected and hectic world, many people have a growing need to be able to buy even luxury products securely on the Internet. This includes buying watches online. But it is precisely this need that dubious dealers and watch counterfeiters want to exploit for their own purposes. So-called replica watches sometimes look frighteningly similar to the originals - but there are ways to spot the black sheep here too! Almost 90% of the counterfeit goods currently come from China and Hong Kong. But how can you actually recognize fake watches and can you buy watches safely online?

In addition to replica watches, the so-called "gray market" also harbors uncertainties when purchasing luxury watches. Via detours, watch lovers are given the opportunity to purchase a timepiece for a lower price - but often with considerable disadvantages. Why buying from an online concessionaire can save you these risks, by which characteristics you can recognize a fake watch and how you can also buy luxury products safely on the net, you will learn in the following.

ratgeber uhren uhrenverkauf ct 05
ratgeber konzessionaer contentteil 01

What should you consider when buying a watch

Exclusive, rare products are often imitated or counterfeited, as this is where fraudsters scent the big money. They want to take advantage of the reputation of well-known watchmakers - this crime is increasingly being observed in the case of luxury watches.

While some inferior fakes may appear to look like the original at first glance, they are always of a lower quality. Both from a technical and visual point of view, these products are miles away from the standard of a real luxury watch.

Along with bags and shoes, watches are probably the most frequently counterfeited product group. And more and more people want to buy watches online. Every year, at least as many fake as genuine Swiss watches are produced: In 2013, there were 29 million genuine Swiss watches, offset by 33 million fakes. The Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (FH) has already had 1.2 million of these replica watches destroyed. Often, the counterfeit watches enter Europe via Dubai. In 2014, the association had 35,000 fraudulent online ads removed and monitored 8,000 websites per week to limit this.

However, there are people who buy watches online and specifically search for fakes - so there is a target group that wants to buy replica watches that look as authentic as possible. To find out how great the demand for such replica watches is and which manufacturers are most frequently searched for, we took a closer look at the search volume of certain Google keywords. The term "search volume" here refers to the number of times users search a search engine (example: Google) for a specific term (example: "replica watch"). As the graph shows, the greatest demand is for fake Rolex watches. With an already larger gap, the keyword "Breitling Replica" is in second place, followed by Hublot, TAG Heuer and Omega.

Many prospective customers who buy watches online rely on the security of the serial number. But even that no longer offers 100 percent security these days: "Recently, crooks have been buying an original and milling its serial number onto their fakes," according to an article in Focus Online about product piracy from China. It is thus becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish a replica watch from a genuine one. The president of the Customs Criminal Investigation Office, Norbert Drude, speaks of organized gangs that want to make big business with counterfeit watches. Through this trade in plagiarism and fakes, buyers are increasingly losing confidence in the real brand - and this is dangerous. Replica watches cause an annual damage of about 200 billion Euros. Especially due to today's increasing use of the Internet to purchase goods, the operating channels have changed: The Internet is increasingly becoming a sales platform. This is an advantage for plagiarism dealers, as the risk of detection can be minimized on the Internet.

What should you look for when buying watches online? We will tell you some criteria by which you can determine the quality of a watch and thus exclude the likelihood of a replica watch:

Accessories and papers. When buying, always pay attention to the accompanying papers, certificates of authenticity with serial number and warranty certificate, original box and instruction manual. The warranty certificate should always be filled out correctly, including the name and address of the dealer, reference number and date. But beware: these can also be forged!

Glass. An extremely hard, scratch-resistant and usually anti-reflective sapphire crystal is usually used in the manufacture of high-quality watches. Take a close look at the glass: Does it show fine scratches? Can reflections be seen when looking at it from the side? Impurities on the glass surface usually indicate a fake.

Engraving. On counterfeit watches, engraved lines are often imprecisely processed, contain gaps or are placed in an incorrect location.

Dial. When you buy watches online, pay attention to the contours - are they blurred? That suggests a copy. An original always has exact contours and clean lines.

Magnifier. Pay attention to the magnifying glass integrated in the glass of a model with a date display. The magnified number should fill as much of the highlighted space as possible - in other words, it should fit as closely as possible into the display. If it does not, it often indicates a "patched up" watch.

Bracelet. Check the quality of the bracelet. Imitation leather often has uncleanly finished seams, stainless steel bracelets often have scratches.

Hands. The hands of a watch have a very individual design. If the design and shape of the minute and second hands differ greatly, this indicates that they are counterfeit. Today, the distinction between a quartz and an automatic watch can no longer be clearly read from the second hand. The assumption that second hands of quartz watches move jerkily, while the hands of automatic watches "creep", is nowadays outdated.

Weight. Weight can also tell you something about the authenticity of a timepiece. Some fake watches that are supposed to contain a mechanical movement often contain a much lighter quartz movement. So compare the weight of your watch with the manufacturer's specifications.

Product labels. Do not be deceived by product labels and seals, such as the "Geprüfte Sicherheit" (GS) seal or the CE mark - they usually say nothing about the authenticity of a watch.

Price. The retail price is a strong indicator of fake watches. If the price is set extremely low - from a discount of more than 50% from the official list price - you should become skeptical.

If you buy watches online or in store, the best and safest method is to have the watch checked by an experienced master watchmaker who is familiar with the brand. You are in good hands with official concessionaires of the manufacturer, as they have a high level of expertise and are familiar with the products.

To get more security when buying a luxury watch, the customer should pay attention to the enclosed papers and accessories. These are different for each manufacturer, which is why we can not give you standard guidelines for this.

In most cases, the original box, instruction manual and warranty card with serial number and dealer's data are enclosed along with the watch. Some manufacturers also include certificates of authenticity. Buyers should pay particular attention to the warranty certificate. In 2013, the watch manufacturer Breitling switched to an electronic online warranty procedure: e-Warranty. Warranty cards are now electronic and equipped with a chip and transmitter. They are read by a reader, which then automatically forwards the data to Breitling. This is intended to reduce gray market sales, so you can buy watches online safely. This means more security - on both sides. This kind of electronic warranty card is supposed to last about 15 years with a battery. At the end of this period, the old e-Warranty warranty card can be exchanged for a new one for free at Breitling and concessionaires of the company.

Besides, it is always advisable to inquire individually with the company about the scope of accessories.

A gray market is a so-called niche market that is located between legal and illegal (the black market). They are, so to speak, "second-tier dealers" who want to make a big deal in the gray market. A trader normally has the obligation to order his goods from the official importer at the trader's price. Gray market dealers, however, usually purchase and sell the goods below the official list price and thus want to encourage interested parties to buy with more favorable sales prices. But how do the goods get to the gray market in the first place? Not much is known about this and it is probably a concern of the gray market traders to keep this under wraps.

There is an assumption that many gray market traders buy "excess stocks from concessionaires and wholesalers around the world". In addition, it should be noted that a large proportion of gray market goods come from abroad. Many such dealers can be found on forums on the net or Internet auction sites such as Ebay, but other jewelry stores also offer watches from the gray market. The discount on such a watch varies depending on the model and demand - sometimes it is just 5-10%.

Graumarkthändler begründen den günstigen Verkaufspreis oft damit, dass sie ein sehr hohes Einkaufsvolumen hätten. Dieses Argument wirkt jedoch etwas suspekt, da die Uhren bei diesen Händlern zumeist nie lagernd sind. Zwielichtig erscheint des Weiteren, dass Paketen aus dem Graumarkt oft ein Instruction leaflet beiliegt, auf dem steht, man solle nicht mit der Rechnung zu einem Konzessionär gehen und Garantieansprüche geltend machen, da die günstige Graumarkt-Rechnung zu "Spannungen" führen könne.

Whether concessionaire or gray market trader - anyone who wants to take a closer look at these terms should in any case try not to divide the subject simply into "right" and "wrong" or "legal" and "illegal". Ultimately, it is the diverse range of services and the individual scope of service that determine the success of the dealer.

Das Zeitalter des Internet-Shoppings ermöglicht Graumarkt-Händlern einen großen Aufschwung: Was früher unter der Theke verkauft wurde, wird heute weltweit in Online stores sold. Zwölf Prozent der deutschen Uhrenkäufer nutzen das Internet zum Erwerb. Viele der bestehenden Online-Plattformen für Uhren sind allerdings keine Konzessionäre (offizielle Händler der Unternehmen), sondern ein Ergebnis des Graumarkts. Dort finden sich neben ungetragenen, getragenen oder korrigierten Gebrauchtuhren re-importierte Uhren oder auch gute Fälschungen - dies alles jedoch ohne einen Beweis der Echtheit oder Gewährleistung.

The gray market provokes a loss in value of the goods with dubious, non-binding price recommendations. This is because a substantial discount in the gray market simultaneously leads to a devaluation of the product. In the long run, this damages the brand and thus also every customer who invests good money in high-quality watches. The value of one's own watch decreases and the reputation of the brand and the specialized trade is attacked by the uncontrollable trade.

Watch manufacturers are therefore trying to combat the gray market in various ways: the Rolex brand, for example, is buying back many of its watches to counteract a drop in value. Many companies are having sales channels and distribution partners monitored increasingly strictly. In addition, many established companies in the industry intend to take control of the online trading of their watches themselves and thus have better control.

Some watch manufactures refuse warranty on watches purchased on the Internet. However, when shopping online, you are on the safe side if you purchase a watch through the website of an official concessionaire. Here it is absolutely safe and harmless purchase, because Internet sales are made in agreement with the manufacturers.

If you have any doubts when buying on the Internet, you can check the information on the brand's website in the list of official concessionaires or official points of sale.

Prospective buyers should not be convinced by the price alone - sometimes more costs are added to the purchase of a gray market watch than expected. Often, the goods do not come directly from Germany, but from abroad and therefore only have a foreign warranty stamp. This can lead to considerable inconvenience: In principle, a warranty can also be given by a foreign seller, but this can lead to complications in the case of a warranty claim. Also in the case of warranty claims, the foreign law and not the German law would apply. Security with the warranty is often not given with a watch purchased on the gray market.

Products that are offered at low prices on the Internet or from dealers outside Europe usually do not include the value-added tax applicable in Germany or the applicable customs duty. Together, these currently amount to approx. 25% - the perceived price advantage is thus eliminated. Here are hidden costs that the buyer often does not notice at first glance. In addition, the joy of a watch purchased on the foreign gray market can quickly be clouded if it is possibly retained by customs - for example, in the case of stolen goods.

Gray goods also often have a longer supply chain and may pass through many hands and countries. While most manufacturers use air transport as a safe and fast mode of transportation, gray market products are often transported by sea to keep costs down. In doing so, there is a risk that the goods will be transported improperly packaged in high humidity, which can cause damage.

In order to get first-class goods with full warranty protection, it is recommended to obtain sufficient information about the dealer. If you want to buy a watch or jewelry on the Internet, we give you some criteria to pay attention to:

1. pay attention to the imprint. If a phone number is given, call once before buying. In this way, you can often check the seriousness of the dealer and get more information about the desired product first hand.

2. be careful with chargeable service numbers, as you may incur hidden costs.

3. find out about the right of withdrawal and return.

4. if you buy in a non-EU country, think about so-called "hidden costs" such as customs duties and import VAT. The amount of this is determined by the type and value of goods. The import sales tax is 19% of the value of the goods, which also includes the postage costs. With the calculator you can check how much you would have to pay if you bought in a non-EU country. Customs often checks the authenticity of high-value watches and destroys the item if the watch or parts of the watch are not original - of course without the buyer getting his money back.

5. always check the "fine print" and official company information. Questions here may include: What is the name of the manager? Is there a customer service department? Is there a number from the commercial register entry?

6. don't save at the wrong end: many buyers look for the cheapest possible offers and forget to pay attention to quality. However, it pays to invest a little more money - for that you get the real product.

7. last suggestion, but of utmost importance: always trust your gut feeling, your intuition. Do you feel you are in good hands? Do you trust the dealer?

Concessionaire is the official dealer of companies. Only as an official trading partner there is a possibility to receive goods directly from the manufacturer.

Buying a watch from an official concessionaire guarantees you the best protection against fakes and gray market goods. Certainly, not all watches coming from non-concessionary dealers are fakes, however, this risk cannot be eliminated.

Security. Buying from a fixed trading partner lets you know exactly where the watch comes from: namely, directly from the manufacturer!

Direct contact person. When you buy a watch from an official concessionaire, you always have a direct contact person who is there for you in case of any questions, problems or repairs.

Information & Repair. What happens if my watch is defective? Where do I send the watch? What are the repair times? Where do I do the revision? With all these questions you don't have to worry at the official dealer. A concessionaire with its own certified workshop offers experienced watchmakers as direct contacts for repairs, who can provide accurate information and feedback. Besides, the repair time is shorter, because the watch does not have to be sent by mail several times.

Warranty. Since gray market dealers cannot offer the manufacturer's warranty, they often offer an in-house warranty. With this, however, it is not certain what will happen if the watch needs repair - or is not repairable. With a concessionaire, you always get the full warranty from the manufacturer.

Free additional services. Another advantage with the concessionaire is the free services such as engraving, custom bracelets and personalized configurations.

Service experience. A unique, exclusive shopping and service experience is simply part of buying a luxury watch. With a concessionaire, you often have your own personal contact who will respond to all your wishes individually.

Faster delivery time. The concessionaire also scores with faster delivery times because he gets the desired watch directly from the manufacturer. In the gray market, the retailer sometimes has to go on a weeks-long search until he finds the desired model.

Most watch and jewelry manufacturers offer a store locator or a list of their official dealers on their website. As a buyer, you can thus be sure that you are buying from a licensed dealer of the manufacturer.

The advantages of buying from an official concessionaire have been highlighted in detail. However, there is still a special individual case that can fulfill even more conveniences and advantage: A concessionaire with an online store offers all the features of an official contractor and can also score with additional benefits:

Browse around the clock. Benefit from the convenience: when buying from an online concessionaire, you are not bound by store opening hours and can browse for favorite pieces from the comfort of your couch, taking your time.

Wide selection. The online offer provides a larger selection than most stores. In addition, products are also presented, which can be reordered promptly if desired.

Transparency. Online you can get the desired information about the product at any time and immediately see the diverse, related range. In addition, you will receive useful background information on the manufacturer and contractual partner, model and collection.

Personal consultant. When buying from an online concessionaire, you do not miss out on first-class service and expert advice. A personal consultant is available to the interested party, who can be consulted by phone and will be happy to answer all questions and requests.

Time savings. The customer has a significant time saving when buying a watch, as inconvenient journeys are saved.

Usable everywhere. Buying from the online concessionaire can be done anywhere and from any place, whether you are on a business trip, on vacation or at home on the sofa.

More flexible payment methods. Benefit from a variety of different payment methods: Whether PayPal, credit card, prepayment/bank transfer, instant bank transfer, 0% financing (from 1000 EUR order value) or an escrow service (from 1000 EUR order value) - the choice is yours!

Additional services. As a customer, you naturally receive the same service and additional benefits as with the official concessionaire with a retail store. Whether repair, engraving or other additional requests: the online concessionaire is there for you.

Trust. As a prospective customer, you can be sure that no dubious internet trader is hiding behind the site. You can always visit the concessionaire's retail store and know that a certified contractor of the company is running the online store.

ratgeber konzessionaer contentteil 02
wt quarzuhren Quartz watches
Quartz watches - how they work

Learn more
wt uhren gehaeuse Watch case
Around the case of a watch

Learn more
wt wasserdichtigkeit Waterproof
The special features of a diver's watch

Discover now

More topics

wt quarzuhren Quartz watches
Quartz watches - how they work

Learn more
spezialuhren fuer situationen brogle ratgeber 8ad62baa55 Watch case
Around the case of a watch

Learn more
wt wasserdichtigkeit Waterproof
The special features of a diver's watch

Discover now