I have been paying close attention this last year as I travel around Asia on the “best” country in Asia in which to buy previously owned or used watches and the list according to preference is as follows:
Indonesia – Managed with the help of some friends to find this street in Jakarta that has about 10 watch dealers within 100 m of each other. I first went there about 5 or 6 years ago but stopped travelling to Jakarta for business these last 3 years. They have really improved these last few years so much so that I think they deserve a separate post on this blog which I plan to write ASAP.
Japan – Needless to say, watches sold by larger used watch dealers in Japan are 100% authentic. The only reason why they are second on my list is because of the stronger yen that makes prices less attractive when you are buying in Singapore or US dollars.
Hong Kong – Prices in Hong Kong are perhaps the highest I have come across in Asia. They are however No. 3 on my list because of the variety of watches you can buy. Hong Kong is currently the No.1 watch market for Swiss watches in the world so needless to say, the 2nd hand market is a thriving one.
Singapore – If you know where to go and if dealers know you, you can from time to time get some good deals especially on other brands aside from Rolex. There is also the comfort level for me where
Vietnam – Used to be No.1 on my list but as my interest in pre 1975 watches has waned so has the number of 100% authentic watches on sale in Vietnam (and the rest of the world) and it is still too new an economy to have many good used watches.
COUNTRIES TO AVOID
China – Not a large variety as like Vietnam it is still a fairly new economy. Issues with fakes and prices are too high.
Australia – Prices are ridiculous. There is this chap called ‘Nick’ who has a private showroom on Castlereagh Street in Sydney. He has this fantastic newsletter with a huge readership base but his prices are simply astronomical. If you are looking for a new watch however, Australian duty free prices are comparable to those in Singapore i.e. quite attractive if you are on the market for a new watch.