Coming back to the warranty, then, if you're a company that does sell to the grey market, there's no problem. You don't want to support the AD who's cheating, by backing his brother in law who sold a couple of watches out of the back door. But honouring your manufacturer's warranty for your trusted grey dealers - people who don't advertise next to your ADs, or even supply the same markets maybe - is no problem. Those discount buyers still tell their friends about their watches, and looking after them is still in your interest.
In conclusion, then, it's worth checking the warranty arrangement as it's going to vary from dealer to dealer and manufacturer to manufacturer: they all have their trusted friends. But if a watch is on the grey market in any numbers then it's got to be with the maker's blessing, so chances are there's some way of finding it with a warranty.
And now, a black-dialled dress watch, just because.
Dino might not love you, Langematik Perpetual, but black or white, you make my heart go boom boom...:)
Hi Mimo, very good post and of course thanks for making me laugh with your final line. Also, very interesting and good summary of the gray market. I understand how the gray market works and its purpose. My main issue is when buying a new watch whether the warranty truly is valid or void. I am sure lots of people end up going past the warranty period without any problems, and I'm sure there are some that have a problem and get by without the manufacturer determining that it was from a gray dealer and the warranty should technically be void. Its the people that have a problem and end up with a warranty that is void as far as the manufacturer is concerned that would worry me.
While I get it that the gray's purpose is to help get rid of the less popular models, I have also seen popular/hard to get models at grays also. While your guy says, manufacturers "Honor the warranties of their trusted grays,"...I have my doubts about that (at least in some parts of the world). If there is no advantage to buying from an AD because the Grays sell at a drastically discounted price and the warranty is honored from the gray sale of watches, why buy from the AD or boutique? On some level, isn't the manufacturer punishing the AD and rewarding the Gray? It essentially steals sales from the AD, in favor of sales by the Gray.
Obviously, if one buys a new watch from an AD or a Gray one hopes that the shop will stand behind the product and help the consumer resolve a problem should one arise. However, as mentioned in a previous post, the guy I know saved about $1,200 buying an AP RO chrono from a gray rather than an AD. However, when the problem arose and the watch needed a repair, AP refused to honor the warranty so it cost the guy out of pocket about $2,000. So his $1,200 savings was lost and it cost him $800 more than if it were purchased from the AD. The watch was repaired and eventually all was fine, but it soured my acquaintance on the idea of buying a high end watch from a gray.
I'm all for getting the most for my money. I just think buyers should be aware that even if a gray dealer give them the warranty papers that go with the watch, it doesn't mean that the manufacturer must or will honor the warranty in the future. Whether a buyer is willing to take the risk, is something every potential buyer must ask themselves.
Also, different jurisdictions come to play. In the EU consumer law, manufacturer is responsible for a product for (don't know the legal term exactly, legal eagles help me here) it's "feasible life cycle", i.e. we might say that a Swiss watch should run perfectly for 3 years. During that time, if it breaks, I can drop it off to an AD for a free fix-up, no matter where I bought it, as long it is 100% genuine thing. It is also up to the AD/manufacturer to prove it's not genuine, if push comes to shove.
Interesting, a link to my profile. Not sure how you did that but its amusing.
I can't speak as to the EU, I don't know anything about the practice there. Here in the US, without valid warranty papers or a receipt indicating it was purchased at an AD, a watch owner would likely have trouble getting the manufacturer to honor the warranty. The company will still do the work, but it would end up being an out of pocket expense to the owner.
As for proving a watch is not genuine, its always up to the manufacturer to do that. In addition, its quite easy for them to do that. I'm not sure if it is still true, but at least years ago the practice of Rolex and Cartier was to confiscate any fake watch turned into them for service.