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Hello all. I am fairly certain my next purchase will be an Omega from Japan, either via elady or another seller through chrono24. My question - is it possible to accurately calculate/guestimate the custom fees on a watch purchase from Japan? Is it truly a roll of the dice? Is there no way the seller can tell you what those fees may be? I know you are saving a good bit of money buying from Japan, but I am having a hard time making that leap not really knowing what additional costs may be in store for me once it gets stateside. Thanks for your time.
 

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Thank you, that does help. Apparently it is sort of a crap shoot. Guess I'll reach out to the seller(s) and see how they do the valuing on the sheet.
 

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I found this for you:
I read through the responses, and it seems that
if you are getting a good deal on the watch,
then it is worth it. Good luck :).
 
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Thank you, that does help. Apparently it is sort of a crap shoot. Guess I'll reach out to the seller(s) and see how they do the valuing on the sheet.
yup. Unlike other countries where there is a thresshold amount and then a fixed percentage for importations about that amount, in the US, above USD800, the rate depends on how the examiner breaks down the watch components.
 

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$5000 watch from Japan, I paid about $200 via DHL including all their dumb storage and brokerage fees. Had to fill out some sort of watch worksheet where cost of case, movement, and strap must be broken down to some made up number that equals the declared cost.

EMS/USPS used to be $0 almost always, but pretty much no Japanese seller uses JP Post anymore since this time last year because of corona. Apparently, the EMS postage network depended on extra cargo space from commercial International flights. FedEx/DHL/UPS has dedicated cargo planes. Do NOT use Surface Mail as that will take 1-3 months to arrive in the US (but little to no customs fees).
 

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Funny I've never paid any customs fees when seller marked "Gift" on ~5 purchases. I may just be the lucky one...
 

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My question - is it possible to accurately calculate/guestimate the custom fees on a watch purchase from Japan? Is it truly a roll of the dice?
I've heard there is a tax algorithm based on the case metal and retail price. When purchasing through Chrono24 in the past, I received a worksheet to list the value of the case, movement and strap, all of which had to add up to the price of the transaction. Since I had no way of knowing the breakdown of case versus movement value, I just arbitrarily chose 60% for the movement, 30% for the case and 10% for the strap/bracelet. Duties ranged from ~$50 to $300 depending on steel or gold cases.

I recently paid $214 on a $3000 steel JDM piece but got no feedback as to how that was calculated.
 

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Thanks everyone for the informative and helpful replies, I really appreciate it.
 
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In principle, you should be able to state on the official entry form that the import is not for commercial purposes. In the end, that worked for my Omega from Japan, but it was stuck for two months in customs. I'd probably rather have paid a little and got it much sooner.
 

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I was able to reach out to one of the sellers I am considering about how they break down the watch worksheet and was told this:

Movement: 90% of the purchase price
Case: 5% of the purchase price
Bracelet: 5% of the purchase price

So on a $3k watch, duties would be very minimal based on what's suggested here (thanks Pongster).
$1.53 flat (movement), 4.2% duties on the case and 2% duties on the bracelet.
$1.53 + ($150x.042) + ($150x.02)
 

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Sounds like you might already have your answer, but just in case, I think Marc does a good job explaining how importing into the US works.


 

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There's supposed to be a formula based on a base rate dependent on if it's an automatic and how many jewels in the movement, and then a percentage value based on both the case and the bracelet as those can be precious metals. I bought a $5k stainless automatic watch from Japan pre-COVID and DHL got it to me fast with an extra bill just under $200 -- I think it was about $175 for tariffs and $25 for DHL fees, but they were in no hurry to collect as they delivered the item and then sent a bill for the extra amount over a week later. The tariff amount is based on a HS (harmonized) code which you can usually look up here Census Bureau Schedule B Search Engine The watch/clock specific ones are at: Chapter 91 HTS Codes | Current Import Export Once you have that HS code, you can contact a shipping company like DHL or FedEx to get an estimated cost for tariff (it used to be easier to do online yourself, but lots of free sites have turned to pay sites or require registration). The case and bracelet being taxed differently due to possible precious metals is the biggest factor for varied totals I've heard.
 
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