Is a grey-market watch worth it?

x-post from r/watches

[OP got offered a new PAM380 for 3200 euro, wants to know if it’s a good deal.]


This is how you choose whether or not to buy a grey-market watch.

To compare prices, we usually use two sources above others: Jomashop and Chrono24.

Jomashop sells new watches. Chrono24 lists both new and used watches.

Right now I see Jomashop selling a new PAM380 for almost exactly 3200 euro (though it is out of stock). Now, Jomashop does provide a certain amount of warranty coverage, but the general feeling on this sub is that it’s worth nothing (or less) – so that doesn’t really enter into the calculus. So this does suggest that 3200 euro is a fair grey-market price for a new grey-market PAM380.

On Chrono24, you can buy a new PAM380 for as little as 2700 euro. Now, on Chrono24, you have to “buy the seller” – make sure you buy from a reputable company or individual, or you can get scammed. However, it looks like there are plenty of used PAM380 from perfectly reputable “trusted sellers.” The cheapest one – here – is listed as condition “0 – new/unworn” and comes with boxes and papers. This suggests that 3200 euro is a rather high price for a new grey-market PAM380.

But the third step is to look at the retail price of a new PAM380 from an Authorized Dealer (AD), and comparing it to the grey-market prices. A PAM380 from an AD costs about 3400 euro.

When you buy from an AD, you not only get a complete guarantee of authenticity, and a perfect and legitimate paper trail of your purchase, but you also get the manufacturer’s warranty. This is the best possible warranty to have – a lot of people consider it the only warranty worth having.

Also, when you buy from an AD, you can often talk them down a little. 3200 euro is not unreasonable here. Especially if you walk in with this grey-market offer and ask them to match it.

To determine whether an AD purchase is better than a grey-market purchase, the general algorithm employed on this sub is:

IF [cost of new watch from AD] MINUS [cost of watch grey market] IS GREATER THAN [cost to send the watch to the manufacturer for servicing], the grey market watch is a good deal. OTHERWISE, it’s a bad deal.

In your case, 3400 euro (at most), minus 3200 euro, is 200 euro. According to Fratello, the cost of sending a broken/misbehaving watch back to Panerai for servicing will be 440 euro – which is more than 200 euro. As a result, this is not worth the risk. Just buy from an AD.

Now compare to buying from Chron24. 3400 euro, minus 2700 euro, is 700 euro. That’s a big savings. Based on Fratello, it’s more than the cost of a manufacturer’s servicing. So buying the grey-market watch on Chrono24 is worth the risk.

As such, if you can get the AD to reduce its price to the point where their price, minus 2700 euro, is greater than 440 euro, then it’s a good deal. That price is about 3200 euro – IE, matching your grey-market offer.

Personally: in any circumstance, I’d pay up to a few hundred euro more to buy from an AD. It’s just so much easier, and so much less risky. But that’s just me.

So to answer your question: 3200 euro is a fair price for a new grey-market PAM380. Still, it probably isn’t worth it. You can, however, get a grey-market PAM380 for so much less that it might be worth it. However, the difference is so small that it’s probably better to just buy from an AD – and if you can talk the AD down even 5%, the AD becomes the definitively better option.


~ by davekov on 2 October 2017.

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