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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, I will be heading over to Switzerland soon and have been reading up on some posts regarding the mecca of watchmaking and have realised that it issn't the best place to buy luxury watches there due to the steep prices and low discounts offered. However, I have not heard anything about pre-owned there? Anybody has had any good experiences with that? How's the secondary watch market like there? Recommendations on pre-owned watch delears to hit while i'm there? Once again, thanks for all the knowledge sharing and will pass it on as I gain more as well!
 

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I’ve read plenty of posts saying that Switzerland is the last place on Earth to buy new watches if you’re seeking a bargain so I assume the used market ain’t that keen either.
 

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Well I can only write about Zurich, and the main problem is that wages in Zurich are very high. Many have too much and just pay whatever. There are lots of 2nd hand watch places but I find the prices don´t compare at all to the sales forum here or at TZ.
The best place I have found are the UhrenBorses ´watch exchanges´which happens a couple times a year, the last one was in April. Next one is October 27th.

Most of the larger mid tier AD´s have sales on select models in July and January.
 
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Uhrenatelier Rindermarkt in Zurich has a decent selection of older Swiss watches. It helps if you're looking for something specific and not just window/display shopping.
 

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You won't find much in the way of deals on pre-owned watches in Switzerland, unless you are buying direct from the owner (in which case, try Chrono24 / Chronext).

If you want to find the stores, I think Google will be your friend. The terms to search under are:

montres d'occasion suisse

gebrauchte uhren schweiz


To be honest, you would probably do better to buy a new watch at a small watch AD and try to negotiate price, you'll have a guarantee and not need to worry if it has an issue.
 

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I agree with the comments posted before, in particular the comment about using Chrono24. If you are mainly interested in Switzerland then simply narrow your search in the filter.
 

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I am going to Switzerland later in the year and looking in to staying around Lauterbrunner area. I also am thinking I will look for a watch and a Swiss army knives for souvenirs.
 

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Was teaching in Switzerland a little while ago - chap driving me around told me about the high cost of living and how comfortable life is -
he said that State Unemployment payment is 70% of what your final salary was - now that is a country with a lot of cash - they dont do discount watches
 

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Well, to reply to the original post from a local's point of view : yes, there are a few pre-owned watch dealers in Switzerland.

The easiest to spot probably is Rent-a-Box with its ten branches or so across the German-speaking part of the country.

Geneva has a couple of specialist pre-owned watch dealers, such as Watchattitude or LMDH, but prices are going to be steep, since those are focussing on luxury pieces.
So Vogue, Based in Biel/Bienne, mainly selling new watches at a discount (kind of a local equivalent to Jomashop or Ashfords, but nowhere as cheap), also has a few pre-owned pieces.

Another, possibly more interesting option from a WIS perspective, would be the few watchmakers who sell pre-owned pieces on top of their repair services. One such repair shop, who always has quite a few second hand pieces - some pretty obscure or quirky - on show in his tiny shop window, is Uhrenservice Ricardo Wütrich in the centre of Berne (just off the main street all tourists follow)

As a general rule, looking for better prices, it may be a good idea to steer clear from the tourist track in cities such as Geneva, Zurich, Lucerne, Gstaad, Zermatt, etc. and either explore side streets nearby, or head for smaller cities in the north-western watchmaking areas such as Solothurn, Biel/Bienne or La Chaux-de-Fonds, where there are quite a few ADs whose rents are noticeably cheaper than in Geneva and Zurich.

BTW, as mentioned in this thread, high street watch and jewelry stores chains such as Christ, Christian or Helen Kirchhofer, usually have sales at their many branches in January and July. And year-round on their respective webshops.

Point remains: if it's a bargain bin prices at US grey market or Singapore online dealers you're looking for, Switzerland indeed isn't the place. And the touristy parts even less.
 

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(...) State Unemployment payment is 70% of what your final salary was - now that is a country with a lot of cash - they dont do discount watches
Erm, most western european countries have state unemployment insurance, in many cases more generous in percentage or duration than the Swiss one, which is seen as pretty minimal. So that's clearly not why the Swiss don't do discount watches. It's more a case of haggling in general not being part of the local culture.
 

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Was teaching in Switzerland a little while ago - chap driving me around told me about the high cost of living and how comfortable life is -
he said that State Unemployment payment is 70% of what your final salary was - now that is a country with a lot of cash - they dont do discount watches
Life is not "comfortable" for everyone living in Switzerland. It's not like every Swiss person is rolling around in a private vault full of gold. Nor is everyone walking around with a Rolex or Patek Philippe on their wrist, far from it actually. In reality, Switzerland's local sales of luxury watches are sold to tourists, not locals.

While the average salary is close to €4500, living in Switzerland is horribly expensive, which effectively zeroes out what some consider a "high salary" but for the locals is barely a living wage. The main problem today is that people are paid the same salary as 20 years ago, but prices keep going up and their purchasing power is greatly reduced (hence the explosion of Aldi and Lidl in Switzerland). This is mostly thanks to companies hiring cheaper labour that live in a much cheaper neighbouring country and who commute over the border, essentially it's salary dumping which is illegal, but all of the companies do it anyway.

If you think getting your watch serviced for USD 1000 is expensive, try getting the oil and timing belts changed on your car by an authorised stealership. The invoice will likely give you a heart-attack.

And while unemployment benefits are 70% of your salary, that only lasts between 12 or 18 months. After that, no more dole money (it's an insurance actually, not a government programme). Plus that percentage scales down depending on how much you earn. If you are making 300k a year, you will not receive 210k from the unemployment office, more like only 100k, that is a serious hit which can make life extremely difficult if you rent anything larger than two rooms, or worse yet, have a mortgage (houses and apartments can cost in the multiple millions, even for a small one), tuition for kids going to a private school, etc etc.

So, anyone thinking Switzerland is some sort of paradise for average wage people to make a lot of money, that is not at all the case.
 

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Hummm.....

Think I will continue to look for used watches on this site......
 

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Your best bet is not switzerland but instead somewhere where no one has any money. I used to know a Rolex dealer in a smallish town that gave me 20 percent off of a brand new black submariner. For example....
 

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Your best bet is not switzerland but instead somewhere where no one has any money. I used to know a Rolex dealer in a smallish town that gave me 20 percent off of a brand new black submariner. For example....
Or... As someone pointed out in the for sale forum right here. I doubt you would find a better deal on a good watch than many of the offerings in the for sale forums here.
 

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My son in law is a Brit living with my daughter here in Chicago, and his business partner lives in Switzerland. He buys watches here in the US, and has told me, as others have said, that it's the last place he would buy. But, it's just one opinion of course. Happy Hunting - never know wha you may find !
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Life is not "comfortable" for everyone living in Switzerland. It's not like every Swiss person is rolling around in a private vault full of gold. Nor is everyone walking around with a Rolex or Patek Philippe on their wrist, far from it actually. In reality, Switzerland's local sales of luxury watches are sold to tourists, not locals.

While the average salary is close to €4500, living in Switzerland is horribly expensive, which effectively zeroes out what some consider a "high salary" but for the locals is barely a living wage. The main problem today is that people are paid the same salary as 20 years ago, but prices keep going up and their purchasing power is greatly reduced (hence the explosion of Aldi and Lidl in Switzerland). This is mostly thanks to companies hiring cheaper labour that live in a much cheaper neighbouring country and who commute over the border, essentially it's salary dumping which is illegal, but all of the companies do it anyway.

If you think getting your watch serviced for USD 1000 is expensive, try getting the oil and timing belts changed on your car by an authorised stealership. The invoice will likely give you a heart-attack.

And while unemployment benefits are 70% of your salary, that only lasts between 12 or 18 months. After that, no more dole money (it's an insurance actually, not a government programme). Plus that percentage scales down depending on how much you earn. If you are making 300k a year, you will not receive 210k from the unemployment office, more like only 100k, that is a serious hit which can make life extremely difficult if you rent anything larger than two rooms, or worse yet, have a mortgage (houses and apartments can cost in the multiple millions, even for a small one), tuition for kids going to a private school, etc etc.

So, anyone thinking Switzerland is some sort of paradise for average wage people to make a lot of money, that is not at all the case.
Thanks so much for all the info! I now have a small itinerary at least to work on. Totally understand that prices aren't gonna be the absolute lowest but I just enjoy watch shopping wherever I travel to see what there is to offer around the world. Like we all know, the hunt is all part and parcel of the enjoyment of this hobby! At least I'll have VAT rebate!
 
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