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- Surprisingly, the most coveted steel sport watch, the Rolex Ref 116500LN Daytona is in higher supply these days. Market price is around $21k USD for new/unworn
- The Rolex GMT Master ii “Batman” 116710 BLNR has now officially been discontinued. Prices are surging to $14k+ for the watch. Interestingly, the black ceramic Bezel 116710 has been discontinued with no replacement, and prices for those are surging to over $10k+ new. Keep in mind, the new 126710 Pepsi has the new 3285 movement.
- Jaden at JAG watch continues to have the strongest availability of the hardest to find Rolex sport watches. After a week of price checking, Jaden is still the cheapest we have found. We have never seen any store have more 116500LN Daytonas in stock in the world. He also has upgraded his storefront and has moved to 2nd floor, 36-44 Nathan Road, Nathan Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong. One thing we noticed is that Jaden has stopped selling as many used watches and is turning more into a source of new watches. Last time we went, out of the 100+ watches he had in stock, only 3 of them were used. His explanation was that since demand for Rolex’s are so high, people are not willing to trade in the watches as they used to, making used inventory in general, scarce.
Engrained in Hong Kong’s culture is a love affair with luxury watches, especially Rolex Shopping in Hong Kong. Surprisingly, it has some of the highest per capita spending on luxury watches of any country in the world. Therefore, you can see a Rolex on the wrists of the gentleman coming out of a Rolls Royce, or the server at a local noodle shop. This phenomenon, along with the lack of sales tax makes it an amazing place for a foreigner to shop for a new or used luxury watch.
As a foreigner, there are still so many questions and concerns to be answered before actually purchasing a Rolex in Hong Kong. First of all, where to buy a luxury watch in Hong Kong? Should I buy a new or used luxury watch in Hong Kong? How do I know if the luxury watches in Hong Kong are new or fake? Everyone has a Rolex, do I really want one? As a result, this Hong Kong Rolex Shopping Guide is intended to help a watch novice navigate through these challenges. Ultimately, helping them get the luxury watch of their dreams, all at a great price.
Hong Kong Rolex – New or Used?
First of all, the question that gets asked is, should you get the watch new or used? If you search Google, for “where to buy Rolex in Hong Kong” or some similar permutation, you will see that there is no comprehensive guide. As a result, there are just people recommending certain shops. We spent 4 days straight going to over 50+ watch shops across Hong Kong to help educate potential buyers.
Hong Kong Rolex-Where to Buy?
Hong Kong is on two separate bodies of land, Hong Kong Island and what is commonly referred to as the Kowloon. Watch shops are abundant across both sides, and not just at the main stops such as Tsim Sha Tsui, Central, Mongkok, but also further out such as North Point or Quarry Bay. Most noteworthy, Hong Kong has one of the best and easiest to use public transit systems in the world. Everything is in English, the subway lines are clear, and trains are abundant. This is a stark contrast to a place like Tokyo. There, as a foreigner, decoding the subway map is like trying to read the matrix. I would classify the watch stores into three different categories:
|Authorized Dealer||Emperor Watch and Jewelry
Oriental Watch Company
Yes Watch Company
|New Watch Dealers (Secondary Market)||VIP Station (located at Hanoi Road TST)
|20% below Authorized Dealer||Medium|
|Used Watch Shops||Bob’s Watches
London Watch Company
Alex Pig Timepieces
|20-40% below Secondary Market||Low – High|
Many readers ask me where would Team GTE go if they only had time to go to one place. We would say, go to TST (Chung King Express area) or Mongkok (Ying On building area). This is where the highest concentration of watch dealers both new and used are.
.Hong Kong Rolex – Authorized Dealers (ADs)
The Authorized Dealers are similar to the “Rolex Stores” most people are used to seeing globally. These are stores that are on the Rolex store locator page. They are located in large shopping malls or affluent streets or communities. They usually have large, vibrant storefronts with salespeople dressed in suit and ties. Honestly, this was the least interesting category for me in my time in Hong Kong. I wanted to go to Hong Kong to great a great deal, not to save on just sales tax. Also, to quote Rolex “Only official Rolex retailers are allowed to sell and maintain a Rolex watch. With the necessary skills, technical know-how, and special equipment, they guarantee the authenticity of each and every part of your Rolex and help you make the choice that will last a lifetime.”
To me, that’s a huge marketing scam and to illicit fear in buyers about buying from non-authorized dealers. They say nothing about the secondary market, and there are plenty of stores and watchmakers that have been trained in Switzerland that can care and know about the watches just as good as authorized dealers. This is all to keep the prices of the watches high and keep up with the business adage that “price signals quality”. Just as a reference, people were buying Rolex watches in the 60s for less than $1000 USD, back when the watches were actually professional tools.
- Low Risk – Your chance of getting a fake is pretty much zero. They only sell new watches and all purchases come with official Rolex Boxes and Papers. They are stamped from the exact authorized store that you purchased from.
- Inspection – What I like to use the AD shops for is to look 100% real Rolexes so I have a reference in terms of the look, feel, fit, finish, weight of the watches when going to the secondary markets and used stores. As long as you dress semi-respectably, the salespeople will have no problem showing you any watch you want to see, as they are used to many shoppers from Mainland China especially who just point, try on, and furiously buy everything in sight. Most of the sales people are just there to sell you the watch. They always tell you about the security about buying from an AD and how great of an investment a Rolex is. Unfortunately, just like a new car, the watch usually depreciates around 20% right out of the store.
- Price – The best you can get at stores like this is the 6-9% savings on sales tax and maybe an additional 2-5% off of the MSRP price. If you pay by cash or wire, you can save on the 2% credit card fee. If you bargain hard enough, you can get another 3% off.
- Selection – This one is a bit surprising for most people, but ADs don’t actually have the best variety. They, of course, will carry the popular ones, such as the Datejust, Submariner, or Daytona, but if you want ones that are less common such as a Yacht Master with the Dark Rhodium Dial or even a Sea Dweller, stores only have 1 or 2. Once they are sold, they won’t get another one until up to 1-2 months.
- Atmosphere – At these stores, I feel like they aren’t really watch guys. They are just sales people trying to sell a piece of jewelry. While they offer you hot tea and water, I just don’t feel like sitting around talking about watches with them.
New Watch Dealers (Secondary Market)
This category gets more interesting, as these stores are more scattered. Couple examples such as VIP station on Hanoi Street in Tsim Tsai Tsui, has a huge storefront, with hundreds of Rolex (and others such Patek Philippe and Omega). In contrast, I went a bit farther out to North Point to some obscure Commercial Building to visit Tony at Moibitime. There, they had an amazing collection of Rolexes and other high-end watches(He’s big into Richard Mille watches). These stores specialize in new watches. They acquire them via multiple sources such as Authorized Dealers from all over the world, individuals, or trade shows.
Every store has its connections to get these watches. Take VIP Station for example. All their watches are new, come with boxes and papers, but their papers can be from a store in HK, or even Dubai or Barcelona. They buy it off or ADs at almost wholesale so that the ADs can move more inventory quicker and also make a more consistent revenue stream. These guys seem to have a lot of connections. As a result, if you want a watch that they don’t have, they would make a couple of calls, and depending on the day of the week, can get you the watch delivered to the store within a couple of hours if you put down a deposit.
- Price – The standard price across all these types of stores is about 20% below MSRP if you pay in cash. If not, it is 2%+ more. There’s very little room to bargain but if you push hard enough or is a frequent enough client, you can squeeze a couple more percentage points off.
- Selection – These stores have an amazing selection of watches that are far larger than Authorized Dealers. They can also get you a watch a lot faster from their internal network faster than an AD trying to order directly from the manufacturer.
- Atmosphere – This can vary. A store with a retail front can still feel pushier, but at least they are more open to negotiating. They still try to hold their secrets and sources close to their chest. They also still use the fact that the watches being brand new as their biggest selling point.
- Increased Risk – These stores have a bit more risk than buying from an AD. Depending on your risk tolerance, you can determine if the 15-20% discount is worth it. There is also a bit more risk in terms of bringing it back to your home country, as you are technically required to declare the purchase for customs and tax reasons. That is why many people wear their watches on the plane. If you do get searched on customs, you will need to explain why you have a matching box and papers for the exact watch you have on your risk.
Hong Kong Rolex – Used Watch Shops
These shops were the most interesting to me because these shops were where I found not only the lowest prices but some very unique examples of Rolex watches. There is a heavy concentration of these types of shops in Mongkok (closer to the Yau Ma Tei Station side). They are located more in the working class areas of Hong Kong, which naturally has them catering more to the common man in Hong Kong.
If you compare across the stores, all the stores are pretty much the same, as all the watches are in excellent condition. I didn’t see one store where they sold a watch that was beat up that you need to refinish yourself. I think culturally, Asian people like things as new as possible so there is less of a market there for those bare bottom bargains.
The only differences would be if they have the papers and original box or not. If they don’t, you can get about an additional 15-20% discount below the used rate. There were also an abundance of gold watches and watches with jewels in there. One of the owners explained to me that Hong Kong people think of everything as an investment, so they think owning precious metals and jewels on their wrist as a form of investment. Another key thing that I learned is how business and communication is done with these shops. Most don’t have fully built out websites with up to date inventory, don’t really respond to email, but do most of their communication on Facebook / Instagram and WhatsApp. Once you get connected with them they are very quick on responding and these guys can source you pretty much any watch you want.
Since you are dealing with mostly used inventory, the chances of getting a fake or something that is tampered is higher. This is of course if you are unaware of what you are looking for. The good thing is, most of these watch dealers are located in respective locations (not selling the watches off a table in the street alley). Most importantly, they openly welcome credit cards (they charge a standard 2% fees). This is a key point because then your purchase will be covered for fraud from your credit company and since a credit card company always sides with the consumer, can easily do a chargeback to the original vendor. This definitely incentivizes the sellers to only sell high-quality products.
I would recommend that you NEVER buy from a shop that is 100% cash only. For most people, it will still be worth it for them to buy it used and then get it checked out a local watch shop for authenticity to have the piece of mind. A local expert can do a full examination, open up the watch, and weigh everything from the links to the screws to tell you if anything has been tampered with.
Used Watch Stores
Address: Portion B1-A Shop No. 16, G/F Yan On building, 1 Kwong Wa Street, Kowloon
Website – www.kenwatches.com
Email – [email protected]
Mobile : (852) 69999993
This was the first store is the one that I saw a lot of people on the Rolex forums asking about it. Friendly staff, limited selection, and to be honest wasn’t that great. To my disappointment, there wasn’t anything really special about the store. They were the heaviest marketed and forum discussed watch store that I visited (they have 4 branches in Hong Kong).
London Watch Company
Address: Shop 11, Yin On Bldg, 1 Kwong Wa Street, Mongkok
Facebook – @londonwatch.mk
Instagram – londonwatchhk
WhatsApp – 63848000
Surprisingly, this was hands down the most impressive store that I went to. It was equivalent to a Rolex Museum. They specialize in vintage Rolexes and had everything from the original chronographs, Milgauss, Submariner Comex, Tropical Dial GMT Masters, and custom made watches for Dubai royalty. They have bookshelves full of Rolex books and their watch repair/tool bench was exposed right in the back section of the store. The staff was super friendly and spent an hour walking me through the history of each of the watches, the only problem was that most of these watches start at $50,000+ so it was a bit out of my price range. They had a smaller inventory of newer watches at fair prices but it’s their vintage selection that sets them apart. Definitely recommend following them on Facebook / Instagram, where apparently they do most of their business.
Address: 2nd floor, 36-44 Nathan Road, Nathan Road, tsim sha tsui, Hong Kong
Facebook – @JagWatch
Email – [email protected]
WhatsApp – +852 5199 2268
Jaden used to be the sales manager at TimeZone (see below) and started his own shop in September of 2017. He currently specializes in new modern Rolex watches but can also source you a used modern watch (along with APs and Pateks), as Jaden has a very strong network of suppliers.
- Price – Lowest price out of any watch store I have been to in Hong Kong. How does he do it? Jaden focuses on pushing volume instead of trying to make the most margin per watch sold. His extensive network and sourcing skills allow him to restock his inventory quicker than his competitors.
- Payment Methods – Cash (cheapest method), credit card, and wire transfer(in USD) are all available.
- Service – Jaden is one of the friendliest watch dealers I’ve met around the world. As a result, feel free to ask him anything about watches, the market, etc and he’ll gladly give you his honest opinion.
- Small Shop – Don’t be alarmed by the small size of the shop. It’s best to contact Jaden via WhatsApp or Facebook beforehand to make sure you get the watch that you want. The savings on retail space is passed directly to the consumer. Just stopping by the shop could be disappointing, unless you want a Daytona!
- Location – Also, don’t be alarmed by the location. It’s located in the in the Chung King Express section of the Chung King Mansion(not in the actual Chung King Mansion where all the seedy activity used to take place). Take the elevators up and you will see a Pharmacy to the left and Cafe De Coral to the right. Section AB will be straight ahead. Remember, ALL legitimate watch stores will be in well lit, clean, and organized retails spaces.
- Limited Used Inventory – We have noticed that JAG watches as decreased used inventory , especially for the watches in high demand (Daytonas, GMTs, Submariners). The reason for this is that people are not selling back to trading Rolex watches as much as they used to because the value keeps on rising. The good new is, if you have one of the coveted time pieces, you can easily trade it in for top value!
Alex Pig Limited
Address: Shop K29, Manly Plaza, 995-997 King’s Road, Quarry Bay, Hong Kong
Facebook – @alexpigtime
Website – https://www.alexpig.com
Chrono24 – click here
Email – [email protected]
What’s App – +852 5345 1515
- Selection – Best overall selection of mid-tier vintage Rolex watches (i.e. Ref 1675 GMT Master, 1680/16800 Submariners) and modern used Rolexes. He specializes in excellent condition full set (box/papers) watches with only very light polishing done to them.
- Service – Alex is friends with Jaden so they are in the same network, so both are very friendly. Location wise, they are located in opposite sides of Hong Kong so depending on where you are and your availability, it might be worth stopping by.
- Internet Presence – He has a fully built out website is has been a seller on Chrono 24 for many years, so it’s quite easy to view his selection instead of having to contact him first.
- Name – Don’t be alarmed by the interesting name of his store, as the word “Pig” is a play on his last name “Chu”. Consequently, it sounds very similar to the word “Ju,” which means pig and his nickname.
- Location – Also, don’t be alarmed by the location. It’s located in a retail space called Manly Plaza in Querry Bay. First, go down the stairs and his store will be a couple of sections straight and to the right in section “K”. Remember, ALL legitimate watch stores will be in well lit, clean, and organized retails spaces.
Time Zone (CLOSED Dec 2018)
Address: Shop G1A, Yan On Building 1 Kwong Wa Street, Mong Kok, Kowloon, HK
Facebook – @Timezonehk
Email – [email protected]
WhatsApp – +852 9343 8466
Update: Unfortunately, this stored closed down in December 2018. There are many other similar shops in the area but Ben was one of the friendlier people that we met. He’s still in the business and can be a resource for watches as he moves into his next watch gig.
This small shop has a great selection and runs a simple business of having the fairest market prices on their watches. The staff (Ben) is very nice and knowledgable of their watches and watches in general. Their watch inventory consists of brand new watches, used watches with boxes and papers, to used watches with no boxes and papers. They offered no hassle pricing and gave me honest answers to everything I asked. They are also very good at sourcing you the exact watch that you want. If you tell them the exact model, they can source it for you in a matter of days. Additionally, they are very responsive on Whatsapp and Facebook.
- Price – This is where you can get the some of the cheapest used Rolex watches, which is their core business. Also, the prices are the most liquid as the secondary markets prices fluctuate quickly based on demand.
- Atmosphere – Interestingly enough, these are the type of stores where you can find real “watch guys.” And can have a conversation more than just about the price. People like Ben at Timezone walked me through the different sources where he picks these watches from, what dealer prices are, and whether or not specific watches are overvalued right now.
- Selection – If you are looking for a particular model, you may have to look through a couple of these type shops to find the exact watch you want. Inventory varies from store to store. The good news is that most of these guys have a very strong network of dealers so they can source you the watch that you want at the agreed upon price relatively easily
Hong Kong Rolex- Closing Remarks
In conclusion, there’s no way that one type of store would work for every single person reading this article. Everyone has different time constraints, risk tolerances, and budgets. But, what I took away from this experience is that watch buying is a relationship business. Most people buy and sell lots of watches through the same dealer that’s how these guys make a living. Overall margins, especially on the used watch side, are quite low. As a result, I encourage you to walk into these shops, have a conversation with these sellers. You will see that many of them are just as enthusiastic and love watches as you do. Many are willing to spend their time to answer any of your questions and educate you. You don’t even need to buy anything during your visit.
In conclusion, feel free to message me if you have any questions.
Furthermore, I hope you get the watch of your dreams.
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