Switzerland, buying a Rolex watch.

Apr 18th, 2009, 05:21 PM
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Switzerland, buying a Rolex watch.

I will be in Switzerland next month and I am debating about buying a Rolex. i've looked at prices off and on in the US, Canada and Asia. Are these watches cheaper in Switzerland? Could fodorites who have Rolex watches please let me know if the watch had lived up to your expectations. The only thing that keeps putting me off buying one is the cost and the fact that the watches are often stolen.

Please share your thoughts/comments.

Thank you.
retiredinflorida is offline  
Apr 18th, 2009, 05:30 PM
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I wouldn;t worry about your watch being stolen - can;t imagine how that would affect a purchase.

As to the price - we don;t know your financial standing or what else you would do with the money. Everyone has different values and financial needs. But I wouldn;t spend that many thousands of dollars on a watch unless your mortgage is paid off and you have a solid retirement fund behind you.

And no - with the exchange rate they won't be cheaper in Switzerland - but probably more than in the US. Suggest you do a lot of looking online to see what prices you can find here and there.
nytraveler is offline  
Apr 18th, 2009, 05:34 PM
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My Rolex(es) was/were not purchased IN Switzerland, but I have taken it/them for cleaning twice. I drop one off at Bucherer in Zurich and pick it up on my next trip to Switzerland. I go twice a year, so I wait approximately six months to pick up my watch. They do a fantastic job of cleaning/refurbishing my watch. DH has had his done also, and a couple of our good friends have sent their own Rolexes with us to drop off for service work. They realize it will be a while before they get their watch back.

I doubt very much that you will save a dime by buying in Switzerland! Rolex prices are pretty stable, worldwide. Now, a friend claims he saved some by buying in St Thomas or one of the other Caribbean islands. This was years ago. DH says that 20 years ago, you could maybe save on a Rolex by buying it in Switzerland. Exchange rates had something to do with that. Not anymore!

There is an 18% tax on jewelry coming into the US, so get ready to PAY.

Be sure to look closely at prices HERE before going THERE so you know the cost of a new Rolex. Best advice, know what the price should be!

Good luck! (and yes, I wear one or the other of my Rolexes everyday and like them very much)
simpsonc510 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2009, 05:35 PM
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nytraveler, thanks for your advice. I meant stolen in day to day use. I remember reading many articles in the 80s and early 90s where people had their hand chopped off for the watch. I have looked at prices online and I do not know which online retailers are reputable. I do have a Rolex fund, and I am in a finicial postion to be able to afford to purchase the watch.
retiredinflorida is offline  
Apr 18th, 2009, 05:38 PM
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simpsonc510, we must have been typing at the same time, thank you for your comments.

I didn't know I'll need to pay 18% tax when returning to the US, I'll have to add this to the price of the watch and then deceide if it is a good price before buying.
retiredinflorida is offline  
Apr 18th, 2009, 05:39 PM
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In 2002, my husband bought a Tag Heuer watch in Lucerne, Switzerland. He had been looking at them for awhile in the US.

We figured we saved several hundred dollars at least by buying it in Switzerland. We did have to pay a few dollars to Customs when we returned to the US so don't forget to figure that into your computations.
bettyk is offline  
Apr 18th, 2009, 05:50 PM
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My son bought himself and me a Rolex years ago. I should add that he charged them to my American Express. They are still just as good as new. He bought them at Bucherer in Lucerne. Last May while we were in Venice, he checked his backpack in "left luggage" at the train station. After about an hour he realized he had left his Rolex in that bag. I panicked. He never worried. It was still in the backpack when he picked it up. At the time that he bought ours, they were less expensive than in the states. Then we also got the VAT returned on the credit card.
scatcat is offline  
Apr 18th, 2009, 06:04 PM
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Wow, 18% tax is pretty high even if you save sales taxes if in a high tax state like California etc. The other problem may be ending up with a Rolodex watch if not at the right shop!
ComfyShoes is offline  
Apr 18th, 2009, 06:20 PM
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Why not buy a fake one in Thailand? No one can tell the difference anyway.
Vientianeboy is offline  
Apr 18th, 2009, 06:21 PM
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I have thoroughly read everything concerning US Customs Duties and there is absolutely nothing about an 18% tax on jewelry so I don't think that is accurate.

bettyk is offline  
Apr 18th, 2009, 06:25 PM
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Thank you for the feedback.

I should have been clear in my orginal post that I am not interested a fake Rolex. Things like that (fake handbags, watches, etc) should not exist. For me, it's a genuine Rolex or no Rolex!

I've been interested in purchasing a Rolex for a long time, however, I've never thought of buying on when travelling until now. If Switzerland is a good place to buy one, I'll definitely look into this. Also, I do travel to Hong Kong off and on, are prices in Hong Kong less than elsewhere? or, am I simply wasting my time price shopping if prices are the same worldwide.
retiredinflorida is offline  
Apr 18th, 2009, 06:42 PM
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Well it may or may not be worth buying in Switzerland but there sure are a lot of watch shops in Switzerland.

What a waste of money.
scrb is offline  
Apr 18th, 2009, 06:52 PM
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Gee, some great answers. In the lounge, there are people telling him how to bring the watch back without declaring it, and here he's told it's a waste of money. Amazing.
crefloors is offline  
Apr 18th, 2009, 08:56 PM
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Yes, crefloors, don't you just love it when other people try to tell you how to spend YOUR money!
bettyk is offline  
Apr 18th, 2009, 09:13 PM
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He can spend it anyway he wants.

But it still would be a waste of money.

Do Rolexes appreciate in value?

Do they appreciate better than a simple money market account?

Whatever psychological rewards come from impressing certain people with such baubles, they cannot outweigh the opportunity costs of sinking that kind of money into a watch when you can get the same functionality for what, maybe 1/2 of 1% of that $10k?
scrb is offline  
Apr 18th, 2009, 09:53 PM
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Rolex has always been my hubby's dream watch. So when we had our first tour in Europe, most of our free time went to finding the lowest price. We compared prices in Paris, Rome, Florence and of course Switzerland )Geneva and Zurich at those well known stores (one is the Bucherer). We found the lowest in Rome and that was our last stop. Behold our credit/debit card won't go through even when I was on the phone long distance using a bank card with BofA! It has something to do with certain merchants I guess. I had to make a 2nd trip (my hubby let me so I can buy his watch - woohoo!) I bought him 2, 50th anniversary ed of the Submariner and the latest style at that time black face with circles with the 2 tone rose gold bracelet and one for hers! We have been checking prices all over as well as the net.
I believe I got the best deal in Geneva, Switzerland. I found this small store and I was told they were a direct outlet from the factory. Monique Douvegheaut was the name of my sales rep. Store is at:
3, Rue de la Fontaine
1204 Geneve
I just want to buy stuff where they are originally made. I'm glad we had a problem in Italy. We were so blessed I didn't think wild dreams can come true! I have a picture of the store as well. I just happen to see this store while I was just walking all over. It has the big Rolex logo store sign.
JC4every1 is offline  
Apr 18th, 2009, 10:51 PM
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As others have said, exchange rates play a major role in this equation. Before the exchanges rates started to drift apart rapidly, the prices were more or less the same wherever you bought them (a bit like it had been with iPods).

"Usually" you can save in countries with high VAT/sales taxes (because you get back the VAT).
"Usually" places like Dubai Airport Duty Free Shops had not only a reputation for lower prices but also (which is almost more important) for availability.

If you are focused on buying a certain watch, you should inquire ahead at the store if it is in stock.

You should only buy from a certified Rolex dealer - regardless in which country. You will find a list of stores on Rolex' website.
Stores like Bucherer are beyond any doubt. They also have a store at Zurich airport/ airside, *if* I remember correctly, so you would not have to deal with VAT return forms etc.

Whether you find it appropriate to spend a lot of money on a watch is probably a question only you can answer
Cowboy1968 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2009, 01:14 AM
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"A waste of money" is completely subjective. I have a close friend who feels my upcoming trip to Switzerland is a waste of money. He has 2 snowmobiles and an atv and has never been more than 3 states away from home. Another goes to Florida every year and gets a brand new truck (his wife too) every 2 or 3 years, and he wonders how I can afford it. I personally have 5 "Money Pits". A new house, 2 daughters , a wife, and a love for travel. Unfortunately, travel takes a back seat to the others. To me, nothing says "look at me and my money" more than automobiles. Those depreciate more than anything else. Yet people are more than happy to drop $35k knowing they will get $15k back in 3 years. Sorry about the rant. I hope you find a great deal there. If it were me, and I was buying a Rolex, I would find the best deal in Sitzerland and buy one were it is made.
jlm43 is offline  
Apr 19th, 2009, 01:44 AM
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We have been told that watches are slightly cheaper in Lugano than anywhere else in Switzerland. But otherwise the prices are mostly consistent across the country and you won't find any bargains.

What a shame you missed BaselWorld! Now that's a place to shop for a watch...

However, as much as you like Rolexes, why you are in Switzerland, spend some time looking a the variety of fine Swiss timepieces by other makers. Some are not very well known in the U.S. You may find something you like even more than Rolex. The real advantage of shopping for a watch in Switzerland, IMO, is the variety of beautifully designed and crafted timepieces available. Not the possibility of saving money.

If the watch you choose gives you pleasure every day you wear it and makes YOU feel like the money is well spent, then it is NOT a waste of money.
Passerine is offline  
Apr 19th, 2009, 10:15 AM
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Have never heard of anyone having their hand cut off to get a watch - certainly never hear. How would a thief know unless you spend you life waving your arm around attracting attention to it? (I have a friend who;s had one for more than 20 years and never had a problem in NYC - including riding on the subway.)

And the duty would not be because it's a Rolex. It;s that each returning American has a limited duty free amount - $800. Obviously a Rolex would cost - for a basic model - multiple times that - and you would have to pay duty on the excess.
nytraveler is offline  

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