For my first 3 watches I went through ADs, and at the time I felt that was the only way to go. I was afraid of knock offs and not having someone to service the watch and so on. For those watches if I had to go back in time and do it again I would still go AD. One was an Ebel, which was nicely discounted because Ebel, one was a steel DJ back when retail was under 4k, and thanks to a friend I got 15% off the DJ. The last was the JLC Squadra and I got it at 10% over dealer cost thanks to a great hook up, not to mention it had just been released and MSRP was about half what it is now.
At the time I did not feel I had enough knowledge to buy outside of an AD, and with watches in the 4k and under range the savings going outside an AD would not have have been significant enough to make me feel like the reward was greater than the risk.
The following 3 were all pre-owned and if I had to do it again I would do that the same too. I knew a lot more about watches and what I was doing when I made those purchases, they were pricier watches, and MSRP in the past 3 years is nothing like it was 10 years ago. Factoring in everything, I felt the savings were worth the small inherent risk in going outside of an AD.
Going on, although I really am satiated with the RO, more so than with any other watch I have ever bought, if/when I am to make further watch purchases, it would really depend on the various factors in the particular situation. I would not write off any option. Not to mention, if I had a lot of cheddar, I might go AD just for the fun of the experience, who knows.
Point being, each purchase is different, the options available to each person are different, and I think its best to weigh all your options and go with what resonates most with you.
As an aside, as far as getting cool stuff and going to cool places from an AD, ime, and from what I see going on, that is not something offered to every Joe that goes in and buys a watch. Its usually reserved for someone that buys a very serious watch or someone that makes a lot of purchases with that AD, and if its a jewelry store too, that would factor in all kinds of possible purchases a person or couple may make.
So, if you are making your first purchase, and its not a huge ticket item, sure, a good AD will treat you real nice while you are there and the royal treatment will be sweet, but unless its a place you expect to be building a relationship with over time dont expect too much cool stuff and exclusive invites. My experience anyways.