Swiss Watches Are Getting More Affordable

by MR Magazine Staff

To surf one of the many unauthorized watch “dealer” sites, better known as the “gray market,” is to find a horological bounty at bargain prices. Are you in the market for a Breguet “Classique Hora Mundi Automatic”? is offering one for $54,995, 30% off the listed retail price of $78,900. Interested in a Rolex Cosmograph Daytona in platinum? is selling one for 15% off at $70,125. “Yes, the gray market has exploded,” says one large east coast retailer who deals in both contemporary and pre-owned certified vintage timepieces. (Like most interviewed for this article, he didn’t want his name used.) “It’s crazy what’s out there.” Not only online. “Walk down 47th Street in New York,” he says, “you used to find just vintage watches for sale, and it was rare to find contemporary watches. Now you’re seeing brand new pieces, sealed and ready to go.” These are turbulent times for luxury Swiss watches, those wonders of 15th century technology now prized as 21st century status symbols. After years of intense growth and record sales, several signs indicate that the industry’s tick has slackened to a slow tock. In January, the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry reported exports fell 3.3% in 2015 to $21.2 billion (21.5 billion Francs) – the first such decline since 2009. Read more at Fortune.