OK, having checked out our TAG Heuer Buying Guide, you now know which watch you’re looking for. Next, you might decide that buying online is right for you. There are lots of places that will take your order..but how do you know what you’ll get? Let’s look at your options.
1. E-retailers/ Authorised Dealer
Depending on where you live, TAG Heuer lists a group of Authorised Dealers that are accredited to sell their watches online. you can be 100% sure that these dealers will sell you an original watch that is backed by an official TAG Heuer warranty. There are several other dealers who have their own websites- some of who are also Authorised Dealers. If the website doesn’t say that they are an official dealer, then they almost certainly won’t be. Many sites try and confuse buyers into thinking that they are official dealers, but unless they specifically mention that they are…then it’s safe to assume that they aren’t.
2. Grey Market Dealers
There are many watch stores online who will sell you a genuine TAG Heuer- yet they are not official dealers. These are called Grey Market dealers. The deal with these guys is that you don’t know what you are going to get, because they buy their stock on the secondary market and not directly from TAG Heuer. What happens to that watch that gets returned to a dealer? Does it get sold to a grey dealer who “fixes’ it and then sells as new? If so, did they use genuine parts, or cheap generic parts? You’ll never know. Another trick is to show a full range of watches, including many that are not in stock. You order your watch and pay your money- and then the dealer goes to work to see if he can find one at that price. If not, you’ve wasted days- more likely weeks until you get your money back. These dealers are not allowed to offer an official warranty, and so will offer their own.
This sounds fine, but if you have a problem with your new $5000 watch, do you want to send it back overseas (as is often the case) to a dealer who will fix as cheaply as possible, or do you want it backed by the brand and dealt with locally? Some buyers will take a chance and save some money buying Grey, but the risks are clear. If you want to be 100% sure that you are buying a new TAG Heuer, and that you can trust what and who you are dealing with, then avoid Grey market dealers.
3. eBay/ Auction Sites
Buying on eBay has been a popular way to buy watches- but the risks are considerable. Unfortunately, replica watches are getting closer and closer each year to the real thing. There are also sellers online who will sell reprinted warranty cards and bags, so that buyers can package up their fake watch with boxes and papers that appear real.
Unless you are very confident that the buyer offering the watch has an unblemished record (and even that can be faked) and you’ve checked our catalogues carefully to compare every detail, then it’s hard to recommend eBay for buying new watches. It is however a fantastic source of parts for 5-10 year old TAG Heuer watches, and even +15 year old models. in some cases, your local AD will have run out of parts to fix your 15 year old watch…but you’ll find them on eBay.
Buying watches online- Swiss Luxury Brands
Given that Calibre 11 is focused on TAG Heuer watches, the advice here is tailored to buying TAG Heuer online- but the principles apply whether you’re looking to buy a Sinn, Omega, Rolex or any other luxury Swiss brand. There are some great websites offering reviews and news of luxury watches that bring you more information than buyers have ever had before. Tread carefully online and you’ll find a great buying experience, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first time buyer.