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Rolex Submariner, Seiko SPB143, Bulova Lunar Pilot
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I live no where near a boutique but have the option of purchasing from GS online direct. Is there any benefit to this (return policy, etc.) Versus a store? My take I can save more ordering from Japan, but loose out on the warranty.
 

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AFAIK the warranty is international, so I don't see any benefits of buying from a boutique apart from bracelet sizing and a cup of coffee
 

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I would try and buy from a boutique. You build the relationship, issues dealt with straight away and they keep you in mind if you require any new hard to get models.

How far are you from the nearest?
 

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You do get to see the actual individual watch you're purchasing.

That and avoiding shipping anxiety.

I also got the "goodies" treatment with all the branded stuff I could carry, but that's neither here nor there.
 

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In my experience, Boutiques don't give discounts, approved dealers do.
 

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You get a warranty from the AD plus the start of a relationship. Worth it IMO if you plan on purchasing more difficult models. Especially if your AD sells other brands like Rolex. It may help your ability to get one in the future because of your history.
 
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My visit to the boutique was a great experience, but I ended up buying from the AD simply for the discount.
 
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Advantage = see and try on the whole range.

Then go and buy it online for a cheaper price, or with GS even better LNIB and save 40%.
 

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On one hand a dealer in a different state can ship it to you and avoid sales tax. And as @Stowie said, now you can make a connection to help with other brands they deal in.

On the other hand, a boutique gets the largest allocations and are more likely to be able to secure you something limited or a standard production with the shortest wait. They also get the first production runs, such as their customers receiving the first run of the SLGA007 this December while ADs get theirs to customers in January-March.

Best strategy I know:

The past couple LEs I've noticed were announced at 12:00p Tokyo time, 10:00p Central for me. As in a dozen articles with photos from the industry -- all published simultaneously as the embargo lifted. I'm actively shopping for an anniversary present, so I have a habit of checking both the Grand Seiko and Boutique Online homepages after 10:00p or first thing in the morning.

If a new LE you want is announced, call the AD and employee you've worked with before in the first five minutes of the business day to try securing one of their few allocations, reinforce the relationship, and save sales tax. Having an AD in Eastern Time might make a difference since they'll open soonest and more potential buyers will not have heard yet. Preferably an AD who moves a lot of GS so they get larger allocations.

If the AD has nothing to offer, check the GS Boutique online. You'll have tax but you'll have a watch.

If no joy, call the physical GS Boutique and employee you've spoken to before in the second five minutes of the business day. Also preferably Eastern Time. They can put you on their list for callbacks if none are available now.

Also, ADs will often take a deposit but the GS Boutique requires full payment at time of order. So if going with a boutique, be sure you can throw down cash with short notice or you may miss out on a popular LE. And not trying to sound like Dad here, but please don't buy with credit you can't pay off before month's end.

If it ain't the thrill of the chase for a LE, I'd still prefer an AD to save taxes.

Please share any other insights or tips I'm missing.
 

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As far as I’m concerned a boutique is just like an AD. I like to buy from either because I feel that it’s nice to be able to talk to someone when you are buying what is a fairly high end watch. I had problems with the supply of my GS diver but because I’d bought from an AD my only problem was the lack of a watch.
 

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Ya know, when a dealer says I need to "build a relationship" with them to get the watch I want, I turn around and walk out the door.
I would also walk if they suggested some relationship was required. But we're talking about voluntarily keeping your name and story on someone's mind because it just might benefit. Put you higher on a wait list, maybe get a discount the new customers wouldn't otherwise get, etc.

On the other side of the spectrum , I walked into a jeweler a few wks ago. Empty showroom. Guy steps to the back office doorway and asks, "Can I help you?" Told him I was interested in finding an anniversary present, asked if I could look around. He nodded, then stood and watched as I walked around for about two minutes. Just stared at me to be sure I didn't reach around the counter, didn't say another word. Later I need to drop by and show him the $17k I spent on my wife and I, then offer some constructive feedback on why he lost my business.
 
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