IN FOCUS: The demand for luxurious watches in Singapore and why collectors flip to the gray market

SINGAPORE: It took Mr Jay Tun virtually two years of deliberation earlier than he purchased his first luxurious watch in 2018.

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The S$16,480 Rolex Sea-Dweller, which continues to be in his possession, began him on a journey that has been “exhausting to cease”.

The 35-year-old has since spent greater than S$300,000 on these timepieces. He now sees his watches, now valued at about S$400,000, as not only a ardour, but in addition an funding.

“I do not identical to watches for the worth. I just like the watches for the completely different actions, completely different intricacies of the actions itself. It’s very intriguing … It’s like artwork to me,” he defined.

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“Whichever buy I need to purchase, particularly for watches, the numbers should make sense first. However in fact the piece have to be one thing that I like.”

For luxurious watches like among the ones Mr Tun collects, demand far outstrips the availability. Watches from manufacturers corresponding to Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet are amongst probably the most common.

Patrons can not simply stroll into retailers and buy these watches. There are frequently lengthy ready or curiosity lists, particularly for common fashions, watch sellers and collectors stated.

Mr Jarod Ng, co-founder of retailer Watch Capital which sells new and pre-owned luxurious watches, stated lots of individuals discover the ready time too lengthy.

“Let’s simply say that you must purchase this as a marriage ceremony anniversary present or you must purchase it to your son as a commencement current. You possibly can’t be looking forward to two years when he graduates in the subsequent six months,” stated Mr Ng.

Getting your identify on the checklist additionally not at all ensures you a watch.

“With the authorised vendor, I feel lots of individuals really feel the identical frustration as I did. You go there and so they gives you the normal SOP (normal working process) – that this can be a extremely sought-after piece, there’s this curiosity checklist,” stated Mr Tun.

“In case you do not observe up, in the event you do not buy something extra from them, probably you won’t ever hear from them ever after.”

Even VIP prospects need to wait a couple of months for a watch of their alternative, stated Mr Tan Khai Hsiang, who runs a web based store on Carousell referred to as KHF Watch.

Mr Tan started off as a watch collector himself, and commenced shopping for and buying and selling luxurious timepieces on the e-commerce market in 2019. He additionally purchases watches abroad on behalf of different sellers in Singapore. 

GOING FOR GREY

New prospects are sometimes informed that the watches they need are out of inventory and so that they flip to the gray market, Mr Tan stated. The gray market is made up of outlets who will not be formally authorised by manufacturers to promote their watches.

Mr Tan likened the method to purchasing an unique bag just like the Hermes Birkin. “For regular individuals, it’s not possible to get,” he stated.

Mr Charles Lee, founding father of Good Time Luxurious at Far East Plaza, stated that it grew to become tougher to get watches amid the pandemic as prospects couldn’t journey abroad to purchase them. 

“Even in the event that they stroll into the boutiques, you possibly can’t get the common fashions. You possibly can’t get the Rolexes, the cabinets are empty. That’s why individuals need to purchase from gray sellers like us.” 

And a few prospects don’t thoughts paying extra to get what they need instantly.

Extra common manufacturers and fashions can value between 20 and 30 per cent extra on the gray market, whereas some can command virtually double the retail worth. 

Checks by CNA on authorised vendor web sites discovered that an entry-level Rolex Submariner mannequin is listed for about S$12,000. On Chrono24, a web based market for watch patrons and sellers, the identical mannequin prices about S$22,000. 

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