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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
After a few years at my current job, I've decided to upgrade my current watch. I've decided on a Jaeger LeCoultre Master Control. Obviously, I'd like to pay less than full retail at an Authorized Dealer. I've looked at some online gray market sellers and I think I've found a few with good reputations. I've also looked at the possibility of buying a used Master Control from personal collectors. I've found a few examples on sites like eBay. It seems buying the watch out of someone's personal collection would net the biggest savings but I'm a little hesitant as this purchase will be the first "expensive" watch I've bought on my own. (my current watch was given to when I graduated from college)

My questions are thus:
1. What should I ask from the seller (personal collector and/or gray market internet seller) to verify authenticity? Serial number good enough or do I need to ask for more?
2. Once I make the purchase, should I have the watch opened to examine serials numbers, etc.?
3. Am I just asking for trouble by going through online auctions sites like eBay? They often have the best deals on used JLCs but I'm well aware of the old adage, "if it's too good to be true..."
4. What red flags should I be on the lookout for to avoid getting screwed?

I've saved enough to buy the watch at full retail, and ultimately if I can't be assured of getting an authentic watch, I'd go with the AD. However, from reading watch forum posts, I get the impressions that only those who don't know any better pay full retail. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

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To be honest, you sound like someone with relatively low risk-tolerance since you are asking so many questions. It's good to be cautious and you are correct about paying more from an AD, but in the end don't you think it's worth it for the peace of mind? You are spending thousands in a watch, why not kick in a couple extra bucks and sleep easy at night knowing you have the real thing. However, you are correct in saying that only suckers pay full price. Shop around and let them know you're a serious buyer, I'm confident you can negotiate some sort of discount. Lastly, make sure to post lots and lots of pics!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It's not that I have a low risk tolerance. It's more that I'm at the beginning of the watch buying process (research phase) so I'm trying to gather all the info that I can before I decide whether the potential risk is something I can live with.
 

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My only experience with a gray market dealer for a higher end watch wasn't so great. What I discovered was that many gray marketeers don't actually have the watch in stock that they're advertising. After a month of being strung along, I finally cancelled my order and bought from a local AD. I got a 15% discount on my Omega Planet Ocean, which was still significantly more than the gray market price. BUT, I actually got the watch. :)

So my first question to a gray market dealer, if I were you, would be to verify that they actually do have the watch in stock. If they tell you that they will "order it," be prepared to wait because they're actually having to go out and find one to sell you.

Regardless of where you buy, "buy the seller." Get references, feedback, ask questions. You're absolutely right...If it's too good to be true, it is. Good luck!
 
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With a watch of this price why risk it at all. Owning luxury goods (not that I am an expert as I have no watch over $1500) is about the quality and authenticity. Why risk the possibility of buying a counterfeit or a defected watch. In paying thousands of dollars for any product you should have total piece of mind with the authenticity, quality, and warranty of the product.

I would go no less than purchasing from an AD for a watch of this magnitude. Try to negotiate a discount. That way you know the is supported by the AD and the manufacturer.
 

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With a watch of that caliber, personally, I would just go the AD route.

You'd be surprised at what kind of prices you can get from an AD; call up a few and see what they can do for you. If you pay in cash, the ADs are even more willing to offer an extremely generous price.

If you're in Southern California, I can refer you to an AD I frequent that carries JLC.

Great choice of watch, by the way.
 

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I'm approaching this with the perspective that you want to buy from the grey market or used, because not everyone has that kind of money and no, it's not just "a couple of bucks" difference, you could save thousands of dollars!

first of all, know the watch

second, know the seller (wether it be a personal seller, grey market shop or pre-owned watch shop)

do some study on the watch, know how it looked like/supposed to look like, know the movement as well - knowing the watch would help alleviate the authenticity worry - not only that, you could learn a thing or two about JLC (and hopefully appreciate them more)

also know the price they generally go for - like you said, if it's too good to be true, it's most definitely is

part 2, knowing the seller will come soon ... gotta get ready for work now
 

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about 'saving a few bucks', the basic Jaeger LeCoultre Master Control (on leather strap),
retail goes for about $6700
grey market about $5000
pre-owned/used about $4500

to some people, I guess that could be just a few bucks, not for me
 

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about 'buying the seller', (buying grey market or pre-owned shop, personal seller)
personally, I would only buy from an established company or individual, do some background check on them

a lot of these companies/individuals already have a good reputation, they do not want to tarnish that by selling fakes or questionable watches, nothing good will ever come from screwing their sellers

and about 'defective watches' ... from what I know, grey market shops get their watches from the AD (along with the AD), so no, these are not 'defective' or 'factory second' watches ... JLC's quality control will see to it that no defects go out from their factory - though this doesnt make it 100% foolproof, I wouldnt worry too much about defective watches from a good, established company

buying from a personal seller would be the cheapest way to go, but the most risk as well, I would only buy from an established individual - do a search on them, see their history, get some references and make sure it's that person you're talking to, not someone pretending to be them

buying from a pre-owned watch shop would be the next cheapest way
I would only buy from an established, brick and mortar shop - they've been at that location for a while, and pay them a visit, talk to them, get a sense of who they are, use your gut instinct

grey market - again, only from established ones ... there's a few. They've been around for a while, contact them and ask them question, get a feel of how their customer support is

I'm not endorsing these guys, but I've saved these guys on my bookmark, and personally, I would have no reservation (at the moment) buying from these guys:
grey market: jomashop, thewatchery
pre-owned shops: Paul Duggan, European Watch Co., Gray and Sons
individuals: Warren Brezina, Anthony Diamonds
 

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ultimately though, it's all up to you and what is important to you, know the pros and cons from buying from all the venues (AD, grey market, used)

if peace of mind and 100% assurance that it's authentic is most important to you and money's no object, then I suppose AD is the way to go, plus you get all the documents and manufacturer warranty

if you think you know enough about the watch to assure it's authenticity (you could always authenticate it at a watch shop or an AD) and want to save money (at least 1k), and can trust the seller, then go with grey market or private sellers

congrats on being able to save that much and best of luck in your search ... and dont forget, we want to see photos!! :) JLC's a great brand
 

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about 'saving a few bucks', the basic Jaeger LeCoultre Master Control (on leather strap),
retail goes for about $6700
grey market about $5000
pre-owned/used about $4500

to some people, I guess that could be just a few bucks, not for me
When I look at the list for that (and this particular JLC I'm not familiar with on the pricing), I'd still go new at my AD because I can get it for less than the grey market price and close to the price of a pre-owned example so personally, it makes the most sense to buy new from an AD. Of course this also depends on whether there is a pre-existing relationship with an AD so the percentage off retail will vary but I'm basing this from my own experiences.
 

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this would be the best option ~ purchasing it at an AD you have a good relationship with at a grey market (or even lower) price

that's why know the watch, know how much they go for at each venues - then I suppose the first place is to go an AD and see how much discount you could get, if it's pretty close to the grey market price - then that's your best option
When I look at the list for that (and this particular JLC I'm not familiar with on the pricing), I'd still go new at my AD because I can get it for less than the grey market price and close to the price of a pre-owned example so personally, it makes the most sense to buy new from an AD. Of course this also depends on whether there is a pre-existing relationship with an AD so the percentage off retail will vary but I'm basing this from my own experiences.
 

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After a few years at my current job, I've decided to upgrade my current watch. I've decided on a Jaeger LeCoultre Master Control. Obviously, I'd like to pay less than full retail at an Authorized Dealer. I've looked at some online gray market sellers and I think I've found a few with good reputations. I've also looked at the possibility of buying a used Master Control from personal collectors. I've found a few examples on sites like eBay. It seems buying the watch out of someone's personal collection would net the biggest savings but I'm a little hesitant as this purchase will be the first "expensive" watch I've bought on my own. (my current watch was given to when I graduated from college)

My questions are thus:
1. What should I ask from the seller (personal collector and/or gray market internet seller) to verify authenticity? Serial number good enough or do I need to ask for more?
2. Once I make the purchase, should I have the watch opened to examine serials numbers, etc.?
3. Am I just asking for trouble by going through online auctions sites like eBay? They often have the best deals on used JLCs but I'm well aware of the old adage, "if it's too good to be true..."
4. What red flags should I be on the lookout for to avoid getting screwed?

I've saved enough to buy the watch at full retail, and ultimately if I can't be assured of getting an authentic watch, I'd go with the AD. However, from reading watch forum posts, I get the impressions that only those who don't know any better pay full retail. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Unfortunately the more popular and pricey a watch is the more it becomes a target for counterfeiters. And your watch is widely copied and counterfeited. There are very good fakes of that watch, Rolex and many others widely available for purchase in China. Tourists and organized counterfeiters bring them back regularly. The first question you should be asking is how much do you really know about the reseller of the watch you are considering. An honest answer is probably not very much. For that amount of money I would buy from an authorized dealer and spend your time enjoying the watch rather than worrying after the fact if it was fake or not.
 

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Buying from a an AD does not automatically mean one will be paying full retail. It will be worth contacting some AD on the forums for a price quote. In my case, I too was aiming to get my first "luxury" watch from the gray market. However, after contacting one of the AD on here, that clearly was totally ruled out. The price quoted to me was in fact less than some gray market dealers with the peace of mind that comes with buying from a legitimate dealer. I placed my order two weeks and will be receiving my brand new Omega this friday.
 

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Buying from a an AD does not automatically mean one will be paying full retail. It will be worth contacting some AD on the forums for a price quote. In my case, I too was aiming to get my first "luxury" watch from the gray market. However, after contacting one of the AD on here, that clearly was totally ruled out. The price quoted to me was in fact less than some gray market dealers with the peace of mind that comes with buying from a legitimate dealer. I placed my order two weeks and will be receiving my brand new Omega this friday.
Mark, I am on the verge of buying a new Omega and would love to hear about the process you took to buying the watch you mention above. If you could tell me how you were able to get an AD to come down in price I would very much appreciate it. Thank you!!
 

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Mark, I am on the verge of buying a new Omega and would love to hear about the process you took to buying the watch you mention above. If you could tell me how you were able to get an AD to come down in price I would very much appreciate it. Thank you!!
Hi Neknim ...

Bear in mind, Mark's post was almost 4 years ago. So you have resurrected what is sometimes called a "necrothread." No worries though. If you'd started your own thread, surely someone would have suggested you use the search function, which you apparently did. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

So a quick answer from my experience. A local Omega AD mentioned to me in conversation that Omega got upset if they discounted more that 15%. I took that to mean that he would readily give me 15% off; and possibly (as a previous customer) might be able to squeeze a bit more. An Omega dealer across town offered a blanket 20%. You can also contact ADs out of state (check out forum sponsors) and inquire. But don't waste their time kicking tires, if you're asking, be prepared to buy.

If you're approaching a local AD for a price, do so having done your research. Know what GM pricing is, and what an out of state AD will sell for. Give them an opportunity to match or to come close. Often they will. Most brands can be had at discount. Some at significant discount. Rolex and some esoteric manufactures are the exception. Last time I bought a fairly expensive piece, my local AD knew I had researched pricing. The discount he offered me was better than a West Coast AD, and almost as good as GM.

And like Rick and Captain Renaud, it can be the start of a beautiful friendship.
 
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