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Going to Switzerland... purchase watch there???
Posted by Mark Harris on May 22, 1999
OK here goes... I am a nube to hard core watches.
I have been planning to purchase a new watch thiss fall BUT have just found out that I am going to Switzerland on business in June. Should I purchase my new watch while I am there??? Can it be purchased less expensivly in Switzerland than here in the USA???
I am looking in the $2000 range for a sport chrono that WILL be warn every day. So any sugestions on a good candidate would also be nice. I am thinking Zenith, Baume et Mercier-Capeland, IWC, ect.
Any input would be greatly appreciated. Also, what of taxes, duty, customs, ect.
Many posts here on US Customs matter. (more)
Posted by MJ on May 22, 1999 at 18:53:57:
I've collected links to them -- click below.
Re: Going to Switzerland... purchase watch there???
Posted by Philip J. Kuhl on May 23, 1999 at
I asked the same question of a friend of mine who lives in Geneva last year before I left Belgium. I can't say we did a particularly scientific study of the matter, but from the few watches I checked there was no price advantage in buying in Switzerland.
My advice would be to shop around here in the US for the best price you can get on the watches in which you are interested, then haggle over those same models once you are in Switzerland. Then buy wherever the price is lowest. A couple of points to consider:
1. Check the rules before departure so that you know what you need to do to avoid paying the Swiss value added tax that will usually be included in the prices you see in shop windows.
2. Don't forget to include the amount of estimated US Customs duty into your price calculations.
3. Remember that not buying from a local dealer cuts into his profits and makes it less likely that he'll be there to help with service or advice when you need him.
4. Be prepared to see watch models in Switzerland that don't exist in the US that you may like better than the models you were thinking about buying before you got there. Decide before you go how much you can spend on a watch so that you are prepared in case that happens.
Bon voyage, and let us all know what happened on your trip after you get back!
watch purchase in Switzerland
Posted by Leehu Z. on May 23, 1999 at
I've recently purchased an Omega Speedmaster professional in Zurich Switzerland, after a long search so I hope I can be of use to you-
Prices of watches in Switzerland are useally a bit less than the official list price in
US for many models (not all of them though...).
If you dont intend to buy a gold Rolex or something like it - forget about US customs -
wear the watch and cross the border.
Noe for my suggestions for a watch (chronograph - as I understand):
Omega - Speedmaster (Pro or Automatic - both are just good)
Longines - Avigation models - Retro looks and fine mvt.
Breitling - Navitimewr, Chronomat - manly, with a lot of presence.
Eterna - they have just launched a retro looking chronograph which sells for lees than
your budjet looks a real classic and contains a good reliable mvt.
also look for some of these names:
Porche design (Eterna make some of them), Tutima, Ventura, Zenith (Prime model is within your proce brackets).
Enjoy your visit and (perhaps) your purchase
Some bad advice here, I think. (more)
Posted by MJ on May 23, 1999 at 07:26:58:
"forget about US customs - wear the watch and cross the border"
I don't agree with this. You need to fill out and sign a declaration form, and the penalty for failing to declare (very intentional, in this case) is severe.
I would suggest that breaking the law and exposing oneself to criminal and/or civil penalties is a very bad idea.
Will cost more
Posted by Phil Baker on May 23, 1999 at 06:56:37:
I was there twice this year, and as hard as I looked, found no bargains compared to what you can buy in the US at a good discount or through several of the reputable on line TZ dealers. The retail prices in Switzerland are slightly lower than the US (perhaps by 15-20%), but you can save more than 20% here. One suggestion is to order a watch here from Markus Tschopp, one of the favorites on TZ, and arrrange to pick it up in Switzerland from him.
Picking up a watch. (more)
Posted by MJ on May 23, 1999 at 08:34:40:
You could pick up the watch, but then you will likely have to pay duty when you come back into the US, unless you sumggle the watch in, which I don't recommend.
On the other hand, when I have received watches shipped to me from Switzerland, no duty was collected. I am off the hook, because I made no declaration. Customs simply failed to request payment, or perhaps the carrier failed to collect it.
Re: Going to Switzerland... purchase watch there???
Posted by jkingston on May 23, 1999 at
My experience in trying to buy watches in Switzerland has been poor. The full retail
price in Switzerland is approx. 20% less than full retail here. However, one can easily
beat 20% off in the states. The problem in Switzerland is that they rigidly refuse to
deal. This is so even though watch stores nearby--Paris for instance--will deal. I have
tried to argue with the Swiss pointing out better competitive prices nearby. Their
response has uniformly been--fine go buy there. One option I have not pursued is Marcus
Tschopp. That might be the best of both worlds. I think the ideal thing to do is try to
arrange a visit at one or more of the great factories and buy a watch from Marcus or in
Paris. Forget the shops in Geneva or Zurich. Jeff