You might save thousands of dollars on a luxury timepiece, but are the risks worth the rewards? This guide reveals the secrets to help you decide.
If you’re in the market for a quality timepiece, you’ve probably stumbled upon Jomashop’s online store.
A quick scroll through the site shows a wide variety of watches from nearly every major name in the industry. They offer men’s and women’s watches, from prices as low as around $50 to north of the $1 million mark. But the prices don’t seem right.
Anytime a deal seems too good to be true, there should be some red flags that shoot up in the back of your mind. This is especially true in the luxury timepiece industry, where fakes abound and dishonesty can run rampant.
So why are these prices so low? Is Jomashop a legitimate business? Does Jomashop sell counterfeit watches? Let’s unpack Jomashop and find out.
WHAT WATCH BRANDS DOES JOMASHOP CARRY?
Aside from microbrands, Jomashop likely carries any brand you can think of, but it depends on their stock at the time.
You’re likely to find deals on Seiko, Citizen, Hamilton, Omega, Tudor, Breitling, Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philipe or Richard Mille watches. They’re all listed with significantly lower prices than through a dealer.
While the overwhelming majority of Jomashop’s focus is on timepieces (and that’s where we’ll focus this guide), the company carries more than just watches.
The apparel and accessory shop consists of the biggest names in fashion like Gucci, Tiffany & Co. and Ray-Ban for as much as 50 percent off the MSRP.
IS JOMASHOP LEGIT?
Before we can answer whether or not Jomashop is legit, you need to understand a few things. You need to understand what Jomashop is, how its business model works, and the difference between white, black and grey market sellers.
THE WHITE MARKET
Anything you’ve purchased 100 percent as it was intended to be sold per a manufacturer/dealer agreement was a white market purchase. This purchase might be a watch, appliances from the local home store, shoes from a high-end dealer or a craft good from a local artisan.
As the name suggests, white market purchases are the purest form of transaction. This is when a customer buys a product from the manufacturer or authorized dealer according to the authorization agreement.
The dealer may discount or mark up the price, but this usually requires the manufacturer’s consent.
THE BLACK MARKET
A stark contrast from the white market (in name and legality), the black market includes all illegal sales of any product.
This includes the sale of stolen goods, as well as the sale of counterfeit goods or other products that are illegal to own due to copyright laws, local laws or federal regulation. In short, consider anything sold illegally as a black-market transaction.
THE GREY MARKET
The name is misleading, as it suggests there are underlying legality issues, but the grey market is an entirely legitimate way to purchase products. Grey market items are authentic products, made by the original manufacturer but sold outside of the originally intended distribution chain.
A used car sale could be a grey market purchase. Wholesalers like Sam’s Club and BJ’s might carry grey market products. These are not illegal activities. Likewise, Jomashop is a grey market watch seller, which makes it a totally legitimate business.
Jomashop’s business model is entirely legal, and they sell authentic watches. However, they sell them outside of the originally intended distribution channel. This is how Jomashop can sell new watches at significantly lower prices than a dealer.
HOW DOES JOMASHOP GET ITS STOCK?
Jomashop’s business model is simple: Purchase stock at a low price and resell it for less than a dealer would. Jomashop purchases the majority of its inventory directly from manufacturer-authorized dealers (or the manufacturer themselves, although this is a taboo practice in the industry). When an authorized watch dealer needs to recover some cash, they’ll unload their inventory at near cost to a third party. In this case, that third party is Jomashop.
Jomashop then lists those watches in their store for a significantly lower price than the dealership was trying to sell them for. This grey market product movement benefits dealers with cash tied up in out-of-date inventory or those that have lost their authorization.
It could simply be that a dealer wants to move to a more expensive product line and needs to liquidate its inventory to bankroll those purchases.
Grey market profit margins are often less for a third-party seller, but the consumer can save a lot of money on the watch. Therefore, companies like Jomashop prefer to maximize their profits through quantity over profit margins.
IS JOMASHOP RELIABLE?
Let’s address Jomashop’s reliability on three levels; authenticity, customer satisfaction and warranty.
Since we already know that the grey market can’t sell fakes and counterfeits, it’s safe to assume that Jomashop’s watches are entirely authentic.
You can purchase a Patek Philipe, a Rolex or an Audemars Piguet and be totally confident that the manufacturers built these watches to the highest of standards.
Likewise, you can purchase older stock, like the discontinued Seiko SKX007, knowing you’re getting your hands on one of the last of these timepieces.
The one area where authenticity needs addressing is the boxes and papers. Not all Jomashop watches come with them. It’s important to know if your watch comes with its original box and papers, as display models in dealer cases might not.
You should also know if those boxes and papers add much, if anything, to your watch’s value.
When it comes to the grey market, customer satisfaction is not usually a priority. That’s not the case with Jomashop. Customer satisfaction matters so much that they use third-party reviewers to contact their customers and inquire about their satisfaction levels.
On top of that, Jomashop has garnered these scores and ratings:
Better Business Bureau: A+ Rating
eBay: 99% feedback score with over 140,000 ratings
Amazon: 4.9 stars with over 77,000 ratings
Shopper Approved: 4.7 stars with nearly 632,000 ratings
The worst score that we found for Jomashop was 4.2 stars from Trustpilot. Clearly, customer satisfaction is important to Jomashop.
As far as warranty concerns go, this is where the grey market falls short. Since these watches are being sold outside of their original distribution channels, warranties are definitely an issue. Unless you’re unusually lucky, any watch purchased from Jomashop isn’t covered under a manufacturer’s warranty.
That’s okay when we’re talking about a $50 Invicta Pro Diver, but it’s less acceptable when you’ve dropped $3,000 on a Tudor Black Bay. It’s even more of a concern when you consider that Jomashop has thousands of watches listed between $10,000 and $1,000,000.
Jomashop’s website states that it will service every watch sold on its website for a period of one to five years. There are some exceptions, but Jomashop isn’t coy about listing them. The warranty covers internal malfunctions while covering almost nothing externally.
This begs the question: Should you send a $20,000 Hublot or A. Lange & Sohne to a grey market seller for warranty work? This is a risk in its own right.
If it’s peace of mind you’re after, then you’ll have to take or send your watch to a manufacturer-certified service center, or to the manufacturer itself. And the bill, if you purchased your watch from Jomashop, is likely to come out of your pocket.
“SO, SHOULD I BUY A WATCH FROM JOMASHOP?”
Although we’ve answered the questions around Jomashop’s legitimacy, some watch collectors or consumers are still wary about purchasing a watch from a grey market seller.
It’s totally understandable to be concerned about where you’re going to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on a fine timepiece.
If you’ve been saving for hard-earned cash for your Grail piece, you want to know that you’re spending it on a quality watch from a well-respected seller.
Jomashop might be that dealer. Might be.
THERE IS A RISK INVOLVED…
The reality is that spending your money on a watch from Jomashop is a risk. You’re buying a watch outside of its intended distribution channel. That means the manufacturer is probably going to tell you to take a hike if you take it in for warranty work.
Like we touched upon earlier, this isn’t a big deal for the lower-end watches, but it can be a considerable issue for luxury timepieces.
You have to weigh this risk out against the reward. Is purchasing an authentic luxury timepiece at sometimes less than half of the original price a good deal? Absolutely.
Is it worth it if it breaks and costs you time and money sending it to the manufacturer, only to have them tell you it needs a new hand-built movement? Still yes—probably.
As long as you can afford to pay for the work.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
When an experienced collector saves for a Grail piece, they study it. They’re often educating themselves on every aspect of that watch until the time of purchase. By the time they buy the piece, they’re making an educated decision.
Jomashop makes watch collecting very accessible for new collectors. It’s also a perfect opportunity for new collectors to get in over their heads in a hurry. A good deal it may be, an uneducated watch purchase through a non-authorized seller is always a risk.
The best way to hedge your bets against a lousy purchase is to do the research and know what questions you need to ask.
Jomashop takes and answers questions through their customer service page on their site. They’re also available for questions through their contact number during regular business hours.
You can ask them about boxes and papers, model numbers, common problems, and any other important questions your research has led you to.
The key here is educating yourself on the risks involved and how much they’re worth to you. And it’s important to note that the risk doesn’t fall on Jomashop—it’s proven itself a reliable and reputable company.
The risk revolves around the watch’s value (with and without the accompanying box and papers) and the chance that something will go wrong with it. The cost to repair will have to come out of your pocket.
THE BOTTOM LINE
If Jomashop carries the watch you’ve been after, you’ve got some gut checking to do. If you’ve asked the critical questions and weighed the risks against the rewards, and it still seems like the deal for you, then the answer is yes.
You should buy a watch from Jomashop. Since you’ve handled all of the research thoroughly and found the watch you want, it might be one of the best, most informed purchases you’ve ever made.