The Watch Appreciation Thread (Reviews and Photos of Men's Timepieces by Rolex, Patek Philippe, Brei

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by gdl203, May 20, 2007.

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  1. Dino944

    Dino944 Senior member

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    I've worked in high end retail also.
    Stitchy,

    Always a pleasure reading your thoughts on watches and from a sales perspective. Let me start by saying, I've worked in high end retail. I know what its like spend time on tire kickers or people that are just in the store with friends to look like big shots who might buy a high end item...but never do. So I have sympathy for sales associates, and I'm a firm believer that on items that can be negotiated, everyone can be a winner. I should feel like I got a good deal, but I also want the sales associate or business owner to feel that they sold the item for a fair price, they can make a profit, and they were glad to do business with me. I've had sales relationships that have lasted for several years (in some cases more than 10 years). I've been invited to their homes and parties...so if I had a history of jerking business owners or sales people around, I probably wouldn't get invited to their homes.

    That being said, in an effort to just have a paragraph or so about each of the stores I visited in NYC, a few details were left out. However, so that you have a more complete understanding of my dealings with Cellini, and the AD from another state, let me start by saying, I started my quest for a high end sports watch on a visit to NYC in May 2012, without any intention of buying during that trip. I wanted to look and try on VCs, APs, Pateks, and a few other watches that are not available through ADs or Boutiques in my home state. Each place I went to on my initial visit I told them I was considering a few watches to mark an occasion, and I needed to see them and try them on to narrow down my selection. I discovered that none of the ADs in the States had received their allotment of Jumbos. After spending time looking at APs with the sales associate at Cellini, I explained what I was interested in and what I was looking in terms of brands. I told him I still had some looking to do. I did ask what kind of discounting one could expect on an AP as I had never bought one. He said they discount, but not as much as they used to years ago. He gave me his card and said to call him if I decided that I really wanted a Jumbo and he would look into availability. He said to shop with him last. He also asked for my contact info which I gave to him. I did my home work, decided I wanted the Jumbo and called several places.

    I called Govberg, since I had heard of them and they said they had a wait list and probably no discount. I called a place I knew was an AD in Chicago, they said they only expected 1 watch for the year and that it was spoke for at full price. I called the AD (I eventually bought from) and he we chatted on the phone. He talked to me about APs history, Genta, the RO's history and other interesting things having to do with the brand. I told him I was interested in a Jumbo. He said he said he would have to talk to the AP Rep about availability and that he would call me the next day. He called and we chatted some more about APs, ROs, and the availability of Jumbos. I asked him what the best deal he could offer me was. He put me on hold for a minute or so, and then gave me a figure. I asked if he could do any better. He replied, that he wished he could, but that was the best he could do. He was closing for the day and told me to think on it and if were interested he would need a small deposit $500. I said ok. The next day I called the Cellini guy and told him I had done my home work and I was interested in a RO Jumbo. He said he would have to look into availability. I said what can he do on the price...he asked me if I could commit to buying it right now. I asked how I could commit when he hadn't given me a price? He said he could only get me a soft price right now and if I were certain I would commit to him, he would see if he could do better.. Then he started to tell me that its a tough model to get, blah blah blah. I said, "Look I visited you in your store. I called you on the phone to get a price and availability. I have a price from another AD." At which point he asked what the price was. I said that wouldn't be fair to the other guy who already gave me a price. If you want me to consider buying from you I need a price." He said he would get back to me on availability and price. I said sounds good. He called me later that day and gave me a price and availability. I said I have a better price from the other AD, but thank you. He said he gave me a soft price and that maybe had a little more room but he didn't think there would be a lot. I said, the other guy gave me his best price if you want to do the same fine, but if not his price is better. Then he started telling me their customer service is better than anyone else's. Then he said well if he knew what the other offered and maybe they could match it. I said, what for...if it weren't for the other guy I wouldn't get a better price from you so shouldn't I reward the other guy. He said he would see what he could do. He called and left a message saying he could only do a very little better. The other guy was significantly less, so I didn't bother to find out what a second very small discount was, especially as I found the entire ordeal a f*cking waste of my time. I wasn't trying to screw him over, nickel and dime him, waste his time, or make him sell for what he couldn't sell it for. Just give me the best deal you can. If it works great if not, no hard feelings. However, if the other guy could give me a single fair price...it just made me feel the Cellini guy wasted my time (and his own). I find the used car tactics annoying and tiresome. I sent my deposit to the other guy, he ordered my watch and he got the sale.

    While I get the entire thing about someone using their negotiations with a sales associate to get a price or leverage from some place a friend or relative has...then on some level did you really lose a sale no matter what price you gave? He had no intention of buying from you...so you couldn't really lose the sale. Although, if you gave a tough low figure...it probably annoyed and put quite a squeeze on the friend/relative dealer.

    I think in your situation Stitchy, on used pieces its more complicated. What you can sell a piece for an still do well, maybe be different than for an AD. You guys buy your pieces from owners who may or may not know the market so there is greater variation for what you can buy for and sell for and make a good profit. Also, when the next piece in similar condition is coming in you don't know and neither does the buyer. Another store may not have the same pieces to directly compete with you. With ADs their purchase price is the same, they can get the same inventory etc.. Their margins may differ a bit based on overhead etc., but theoretically, most can should be able to give similar deals.

    In the end I'm a firm believer that fair deals can be made where everyone is happy, buyer and seller. But my experience in NYC ADs, (more so than anywhere) is the used car sales man tactics, where they won't even give a price unless I say I'll buy, without having a real price from them.
     


  2. Flake

    Flake Senior member

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    Only time I was ever treated like I was completely invisible in a watch shop was at Wempe in NY, about 10 years ago. Haven't been back since.

    Wanted to look at Langes, and seriously could have bought one that day, had things gone well. Admittedly, I was in jeans, but i would have assumed the Breguet I was wearing would have suggested I was at least a serious potential customer.
     


  3. cyc wid it

    cyc wid it Senior member

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    Looks like I can cross watch shopping off my list when I visit NYC later this year.
     


  4. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    thanks, wurger!

    dino, thanks for reading my post and for replying.

    i hope i didnt come off as accusatory of you in my post, i tried hard to make it clear that i though that the SA botched that deal, not you. i thought you were being perfectly reasonable. he was in a situation where you upfront told him you were ready to buy and you had a good price elsewhere. you gave him a shot at the deal, he flubbed it. he should have taken the gamble and put his best offer out there. if he was confident enough to do so, he may have gotten the sale. but he wasnt.

    it was also very honorable of you not to undercut the second guy you liked. im sure if you said his price there is a good chance the original guy would have at least matched it. by being fair, you may have spent a few dollars more, but you dealt honorably, and that says a lot.

    regarding this,

    "While I get the entire thing about someone using their negotiations with a sales associate to get a price or leverage from some place a friend or relative has...then on some level did you really lose a sale no matter what price you gave? He had no intention of buying from you...so you couldn't really lose the sale. Although, if you gave a tough low figure...it probably annoyed and put quite a squeeze on the friend/relative dealer."

    i dont look at it as being about losing a sale. yes, there was no sale to be made to begin with. its more that someone who is merely using you as leverage, and has absolutely no intention of buying from you, does not in my opinion deserve to even get a price quote. i just think its wrong. its like a grotesque peep show and a waste of the SAs time.

    certainly buying pre-owned is different, and i was trying to draw on my BNIB sales experience for my post up there.

    all in all, i think we pretty much agree here. especially in what you said here:

    "and I'm a firm believer that on items that can be negotiated, everyone can be a winner. I should feel like I got a good deal, but I also want the sales associate or business owner to feel that they sold the item for a fair price, they can make a profit, and they were glad to do business with me."

    thats 100% how i feel.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013


  5. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    i will say, that in the wempe i visited in manhattan (on 5th ave iirc) i have had only superb experiences. very nice folk, happy to show me stuff even though i said clearly i was just ogling. and no hovering. maybe i was just lucky, or its my pretty face lol.
     


  6. Dino944

    Dino944 Senior member

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    Maybe its a NYC thing. I have very rarely had ADs outside of NYC try a strong arm approach to get me to commit to a sale before telling me a price. As with you, that kind of deal is never going to happen with me. If the sales person can't give me straight answer on price...how much trust will I ever have in him. How can a build a lasting relationship with a sales associate who who I don't trust? Plain and simple, I can't.
    Really stupid tactic. Years ago, I went into a high end jeweler in Boston, with my father. They carried Patek, Vacheron, IWC, JLC, and a few other brands. My father was wearing an all gold Submariner. He asked to see a Patek. While we were there a woman came in and asked if they carried Rolex. A younger sales associate replied, "No, we only carry good brands." The older associate assisting my father knew he was wearing a Rolex and said, "You should be careful of what you say, we have guests."
    I've hit or miss service at Wempe. But I've never gotten a price from them that made them a serious contender on anything. I would have thought that if you were wearing a Breguet the jeans would be irrelevant, and they would be happy to wait on you. I guess not. Its not right, but it happens. My wife and I were in Vegas and she wanted an LV hand bag. It was hotter than hell, and we weren't really dressed up (although we didn't look like slobs or tourists that only buy junky T-shirts) when we went into the LV Boutique at the Wynn. No one could be bothered to talk to us. They were all standing around a register chatting and playing with their phones. I said to my wife ...no problem...we'll buy it at the Boston boutique...and we did.
    Its a fun place to see things...but in the more than 15 years I've occasionally been to the city, I've never ended up buying a watch there.
    Stitchy, I forgot to address this. I'm pretty familiar with the market for most watches (which are discounted, which are not). I've never presumed any seller HAS to discount an item. It's at their discretion. However, if its a watch I know no one pays MSRP for, I will certainly inquire about a discount if its a watch I want. If they say no, I'm not offended. I just know its not the right place for that watch. On the other hand I've purchased watches that I knew were not discounted, did not bother to ask about discounts (since I knew they didn't exist), wanted the watch and paid the MRSP.
    Hi Stitchy, no worries. I just wanted you to be clear that it wasn't like I walked in off the street and the sales associate at Cellini did not have ample time to evaluate whether I was a serious customer. I met him in the store. Informed him of my intentions, asked generally about discounting, and did not ask for an actual price until I was sure I wanted a Jumbo and I had done some homework. Then he and I had a few follow up phone calls. I wouldn't want some one to jerk me around in my business and I don't do that to others. I don't like playing games. I asked an up front honest question, all I ask is be polite and give me a fair and honest answer. Even if the guy said he couldn't discount it, that would be fine. I wouldn't buy from him as I don't need to over pay for an item, but I'd have more respect for him for being honest with me.

    As for not undercutting the second guy...he was straight up and honest, and I like that. He gave me his best deal without excuses or playing games...the other sales person was a leech only looking to piggy back on the other guy's deal. If he couldn't come up with his best price on his own, he certainly should not be rewarded for matching the other guy or for beating him by a few dollars when he never would have done it on his own. If it cost me a few extra dollars, well I think the good sales man earned it, as I could see he is the kind of guy I could do business with again. I'd rather give my business to the guy that treated me properly. If we all only shop with the guys that undercut the guys that makee an effort to give a best price, eventually the guy originally giving the best price will be put out of business and we will be stuck dealing with the slimy used car tactics sales person.

    Yes I agree, the person just seeking a price to use to gain leverage for negotiating with a friend/relative is wasting a sales associates time.

    I don't think sales people and customers should be adversaries, although sometimes I'm sure both sides see it that way. As I stated before, with regard items that can be negotiated, if everyone is reasonable and up front, consumers and sales people can all feel like winners and create a relationship that fosters both sides looking forward to doing business together again.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013


  7. Newcomer

    Newcomer Senior member

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    :censored: :censored: :censored:

    My JLC died again at 11:45. Poop.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2013


  8. ChicagoRon

    ChicagoRon Senior member

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    My $.02 on why NYC sucks for buying a watch, if you have other options-

    1> Multiple AD's very close to each other. So getting them to compete with each other is much easier
    2> High overhead in general, so they have a tighter margin
    3> There are a ton of people with money that just don't want to leave the Island to save $5k on a $100k watch.

    I suspect if you have a relationship at a place like Wempe (aka Frilly), it's a completely different story.
     


  9. fclund

    fclund New Member

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    Sorry for the bad picture, but I bought this, in my taste, very cool steampunk-kinda watch from Etsy a couple of weeks ago and got it yesterday. The picture doesn't do the watch justice, since it's more gold-like in reality. Looks very cool!
    [​IMG]

    My other, and somewhat different watch, is something I bought of the Cassiopeia shop (I live in Denmark) and is this Danish "Skagen" watch. It's kinda "blingy" I guess, but goes really well with a white shirt!
    [​IMG]
    Link to the product here http://www.cassiopeia-shop.dk/skagen-357xlsss/
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2013


  10. culverwood

    culverwood Senior member

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    As another used to low volume high value sales I find there are buyers, time waster and the vast majority in between. The person who you know and who has bought from you before will get premium service and the best price you are prepared to offer, which may not be as low as someone elsewhere but is your best price. The person you have dealt with before and who has never bought is treated politely but you wish he would not keep asking for prices just to beat down whoever he always buys from so after a while your price to him is not the best. Every one else should receive very good service and certainly until you know better a good market discount. We have the advantage of selling a product that while similar to other products is not available as an identical item from multiple distributors.

    There is a watch shop in London on whose adverts it says "don't come to us until you have been to every one else" - you know you are going to get the treatment that Dino had from Cellini from them.
     


  11. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    Kudos for not undercutting the 2nd guy, any sales is a interpersonal transaction of relationships and respect. In the end of the day, if you like the SA, you are more likely to buy from him even though he doesn't necessary provide the lowest price; same goes the other way, if the SA likes you, he is more likely to give you the best price.

    I know there is a the saying never buy stuff off friends and family, but if they do try to take advantage of you due to your relationship, then they are absolutely trash and not worth keeping.
     


  12. wurger

    wurger Senior member

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    Yeah, totally agree, if someone is just tooling you as a leverage, they ain't showing you respect and they simply don't deserve a SA's time for a quote.

    However, it's vitally important that SA don't simply judge a book by its cover, only through interaction with the customer that the SA can discover those facts. But then that takes experience and training.

    And Dino gave the first SA every opportunity to do so, and he just failed to grasp the compelling points that Dino as a customer is looking for, thus failed in that sale.
     


  13. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    WTF?
     


  14. Newcomer

    Newcomer Senior member

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    I don't know what is going on. At ~11:45 p.m. (within a minute or two in either direction), the watch dies. Contacting the AD I bought it from, and it looks like I will be sending it back to Richemont. It has happened probably 10 times now. Must be some problem with the date mechanism maybe?

    I will keep y'all informed. Also, for those that have sent a watch back for servicing... how did you package it up?
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2013


  15. in stitches

    in stitches Kung Joo Moderator

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    That sucks. :(

    Are you going to be sending it back in the box or by itself? Either way, if you're doing it through the AD they should know how to package it 100% correctly.
     


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