HalfWatchTuesday : Shades Of Grey

Welcome one and all to another installment of HalfWatchTuesday! What a
week within this crazy world it’s been! If you’ve been hiding under a rock this
week, you’ll have missed the big story of the moment regarding Chris from
Horology House. Now as much as I’m not going to dwell or comment on this
case specifically, it did bring about an interesting conversation between Omair
and myself regarding ‘grey market’ deals and our relative experiences. Hence,
why we’d thought it’d be good to title this week’s article after it and to thus
split it into each of our respective experiences with such deals. Our respective
sides, with myself being the ‘dark side’ side, of course, are appropriately
named.

A darker shade of grey :

So, the grey market. This mysterious pool of seemingly endless and fruitful
deals, where any and all watches can be bought with little fuss and at a relative
fraction of the RRP. Sound good? Too good to be true? I have to admit that in
my albeit limited experience, I have had very little dealings within the grey
market apart from hearing experiences from mates and other watch
aficionados through word of mouth. As a result, this probably makes me less
than competent to discuss such a topic. Instead, I’ll focus on why the whole
thing makes me a little uneasy and why I’ve strayed away from it so far.
I guess one of the principal glaring issues for me is the trust aspect between
seller and potential buyer. Apart from obvious questions like why are they
actually selling the watch in the first place, it’s other associated issues that for
me to buy a watch, I would need absolute honesty, and frankly, I don’t know if I
get that from someone I’d never met before. How often has it been serviced?
What issues for? Damage to the watch? Scratches to the watch? Especially for
the higher end pieces, I can only imagine that the anxiety regarding such
questions must be I can understand why one would need to build up a certain
report with a buyer. For me, however, it’d be worse than buying a used car and
I’ve bought a number of those in my time.

Now I’m not denying that there appears to be a place for the grey market in
the horological world, again particularly for higher-end pieces. I’ll use Rolex as
an obvious example here. It’s a simple case of economics, i.e supply and
demand. As these pieces become harder to come by, the demand for such will
increase. Hence, the grey market. With this, however, comes an ever-increasing
risk of those looking to prey on the perhaps slightly naive in order to cheat
them out of their hard-earned money with sub-standard products (no spoiler
alert intended).

Which brings me to the aspect that would elicit the most anxiety with myself
personally, safety. Not just safety for oneself obviously in terms of issues with
face to face meetings, but safety regarding any personal and financial
information that may be swapped in light of any potential transaction. In this
technological age that we live in, the opportunity and the threat of financial
sabotage is so high, it makes me query whether the opportunity to buy that
piece is really worth that risk.

All in all, it makes for pretty damning reasons in my opinion, to avoid the grey
market like the plague. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, and
you know the whole analogy of ‘don’t knock it until you’ve tried it’, and as
always I’m keen on hearing what you guys think about this, so once again
answers on a postcard…

Scottish Watches and Bark and Jack

Now onto Omair to see if he can convince you that all that was just a load of
bollocks….

A lighter shade of grey:

Ok I get it. The grey market might get a bashing given the recent events with
you know who. Let’s face it the grey market has never been talked about in
glowing terms and usually seen with suspicious eyes. However, it can’t simply
exist for the sake of it, there must be a reason for its being. Rather than deride
it completely I will try to make a case for that existence.

The grey market is a wide-ranging term that can encompass anything from a
dealer who has a consistent supply chain from other dealers to individuals
buying and flipping quickly for a profit. That being said, the term is usually
muttered with murky undertones evoking dodgy deals done by unscrupulous
sharks.

That doesn’t mean all dealings with the grey market are negative. When I had
scraped a sum of money for my first big watch purchase it wasn’t quite enough
to get me the watch I wanted. I had seen a great price from an online dealer
with a shop front. After doing a bit of digging and research I discovered this
was a grey dealer. When hitting the forums what grey meant, it was clear most
thought negatively about it. After speaking to the company themselves I was
happy to go with them. The watch I received was perfect and was worn happily
for a long time.

More recently opinions regarding grey dealers have softened somewhat. The
reason being the ridiculous Rolex market. If you are in the market for a Rolex it
doesn’t matter if you have the cash or not, you are not likely to be able to walk
into your nearest AD and pick one up. If you were willing to pay a premium, however, you could get the watch of your dreams from other (grey) sellers. So
great is the demand for Rolex, it has changed the narrative on grey dealers with
some even saying it is the preferred route to owning the crown.
With such goings-on, it is obvious the grey market is fertile ground for
unscrupulous individuals. There are many out there that will be more than
happy to do a runner with your cash in return for a suboptimal product or
worse. Rather than deride the grey market and it should be avoided, this
writer’s advice will be consistent, buy the seller first. If there are alarm bells,
walk away. Of course in a perfect world, there is no substitute for buying from a
good AD or direct from the brand.

No mucking about here and kicking us off with the top pics this week is
@lowrota with a sweet Grand Seiko shot. The blue of this dial is just utterly
amazing. Great work man!!


@wrist_pixels then turns to the dark side with a lovely shadow shot of his
Farer. Loving the contrasty look here man!


@bevelwerks then goes all macro on us for HalfWatchTuesday with a superb
close up of his Fortis. I don’t think I’d appreciated it before, but the dial layout
is actually one of wonder and very much suitable for this week’s top pics!


If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it so many times here on HalfWatchTuesday,
we do love a good backside and the shot from @kane.millard89 just epitomizes
this. A crafty shot of his Omega Constellation, showing us that quartz can be
sexy too.


We even appreciate the childish here on HalfWatchTuesday as well! Just check
out @justanotherwatchguy and his Zodiac encased within a toy car and you’ll
be transported back to a time where child’s play was fun!! Great shot man!


Going all tooly on us is @cwcmatlot with his CWC Sub Hunter. Lovely offset on
the dial and that red seconds hand is just delightful. Wicked shot chief!


Top marks this week for making it into the page and top pics is
@lingkarwaktu.id with an ingenious shot of his Hamilton Khaki hidden behind
some red coloured string or hair bobbles or red vine sweets or who knows
exactly but regardless, it’s an awesome shot! Composition is on point!


It wouldn’t be a complete HalfWatchTuesday week without a new watch post
and @girlslikewatchestoo with a brilliant shot of her NTH Nacken hidden
behind a bad ass commando PS controller. Amazing shot Chel and we hope
you’re enjoying your new acquisition.


To round us off nicely is @dr.day.date with a lovely shot of Tudor Pelagos with
an anatomically correct background. This speaks to me on so many levels
buddy, great work!

And just like that, another week of HalfWatchTuesday comes to an end! In light
of everything that has happened in the last week or so, stay safe out there
watchfam.
Yours in horology
Nic
a_second_after_midnight