Watches are portable devices designed to help their wearers tell the time. The first watches, created in the 17th century evolved from spring-powered clocks and were all mechanical. Since then, there have been several advances in the design and creation of watches. In order for the watches to be more accurate, watchmakers used vibrating quartz crystals.
Digital watches mean the newest technology in the field of watches, and were introduced in the 1970s. Radio clock technology is used to regularly correct the time shown by the watches, should it differ from atomic clocks. Digital watches should not be confused with smartwatches, which are actually portable mini computers in a shape of a watch.
Watches are also a fashion statement and a status symbol, they are one of the few pieces of jewelry men are allowed to wear in the Western world.
There have been watches designed to work in specific conditions, e.g.: in space for astronauts or deep underwater, and many of them show more than just time and date (e.g.: the wearer’s pulse, body temperature, the depth etc…). But high end watches today are mostly worn as status symbols, especially in the business world.
Although you can find cheap watches to show the time in a great many shops, or just use your mobile phone to check the time, luxurious, elegant, limited edition wristwatches still command a high price.
If you would like to express your good taste without spending a small car’s worth on a watch, you should look around and see where you can get the watch you desire the cheapest, while still avoiding counterfeits.
This guide can help you find the best deals for buying cheap watches online and in brick and mortar duty-free shops.
UPDATE: Watch coupon codes are at the bottom! Scroll down to get the temporary coupon codes, while they are still valid. New coupon codes are posted regularly.
Airport duty-free shops are quite popular places to buy watches. The duty-free watches in these stores could, in theory, be cheaper than in regular stores as they are exempt from VAT and other types of taxes.
However, this is often not the case!
Due to the differences in exchange rates and the high profit margins, the prices they offer are often higher than those you can find at regular brick and mortar retailers.
However, online duty free shops sell watches for men and women below the regular market price. This is very easy to verify. Let’s do a price comparison.
I compared Casino G-scho G79000A-4 in a duty free shop at an airport, a local retailer and a an online duty free shop. The results might surprise you.
Duty free shop – $104.27
Local retailer – $101.52
Online duty-free shop – $95.99
Even though airport duty free shops advertise themselves as the cheapest option (and they very well could be considering that they are exempt from certain taxes and customs duty) – they are in fact, the most expensive.
As you can see, the online duty free shop is the best choice. You can easily do your own price comparison with just a few clicks, in every country. I did the same price comparison in 9 different product categories with over 20 products in 5 different countries (you can find all of the price comparisons on this website). This is not an isolated case. Brick & mortar duty free shops are ripping people off!
The online duty-free shop I recommend regularly has watches from all the popular brands available and offers free shipping. You can check out their selection here.
Be careful with other online shops because many don’t offer free shipping and the watches may appear to be cheaper, but once you add the cost of shipping you will end up paying more!
Buying wristwatches online
As the brief price comparison above shows, buying watches for men or women in online duty-free shops can be cheaper than brick and mortar alternatives, especially if you can catch a deal. Most of the airport duty-frees and many brick and mortar retailers have online price lists available, making price comparisons easier.
Apart from the low prices, buying watches online is also convenient. Online duty-free shops have a wide range of watches available, of various brands and limited editions as well. As a result, you need not go to several retailers or even countries personally in order to find a more exclusive collectible watch.
Airport duty-frees have the disadvantage that you need to visit them in person in order to buy the watches. Even if they offer shipping, it is usually only available within the country they are located in. Most online duty-free watch retailers offer free international shipping to most locations.
Bulk ordering watches online: Don’t forget, if you order more than 3 watches per person in a year it is most likely not considered personal use. In that case customs will seize your package and you will need to pay customs duty and a fine, making it more expensive than a regular shop. So, keep in mind that ordering duty free watches is only okay for personal use, do not exceed 3 watches per person, per year.
Due to not being physically present at the transaction, buyers face the risk of shops scamming them when buying watches online. This can be an especially great risk if you are buying luxury watches, as you could end up paying hundreds of dollars for a cheap knock-off.
There are some clues you should pay attention to in order to avoid being cheated in any way. The first one is whether the shop accepts credit cards. Online shops selling cheap tax-free watches that accept only alternative payment methods such as Bitcoin, cash in envelope, Litecoin, Dolla or Western Union are most likely a scam.
You should also check out whether the website is well-maintained – uncurated, outdated websites with no social media presence or customer support, that haven’t been updated for years are much more likely to be scams.
Duty-free watch coupon codes
Duty-free shops regularly offer discount codes for watches. You can find the latest coupon codes here.
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Last updated: 2016-08-12
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