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That question is almost more easily answered by where you should not shop: the mall or jewelry store! You might be drawn in by a beautiful timepiece prominently displayed in the window, but do you really want the sales pressure or higher prices once you walk through the door? We don't either.
Your best bet is an online watch store. Whether you're looking for the next luxury wristwatch to add to your collection or something classic-yet-affordable, you won't find a better selection at any brick-and-mortar store near you. Why browse a few dozen options from a handful of brands and be limited to the retailer's business hours, when you can see thousands of styles and brands whenever you get the whim to shop?
Friday, December 2nd
Ashford is headquartered in New York City - Tribeca, to be exact - and has been in business since 1997. They've served more than a million customers to date, offering 100% genuine and authentic watches across a wide range of brands and budgets.
Some Citizen, no Rolex
Searching for the Citizen Corso watch we used across watch stores to make a comparison, Ashford came up a little light with just two men's styles. There were 20 other Citizen watches that showed up in our search results, including designs in the Promaster, Marvel, and Blue Angels lines. Ashford had no Rolex watches in any style at the time of this review.
Terrific variety across other brands
And yet, we were blown away by the range of watches that Ashford carries outside of our Citizen/Rolex search, across more than two dozen brands. For fun, we looked to see the most and least expensive models offered here, and all we can say is "WOW" . In men's watches, the highest-end model was the Zenith Grande Class Tourbillon with an 18K rose gold case and leather alligator strap. Don't sleep on this watch, offered at a 35% discount from list price - that is, if you have $107,250 to spend. (We were not impressed by the lack of product images on that watch, though.) Catch your breath and dive all the way to the opposite end of the price spectrum at Ashford; you'll find watches by Timex, Glam Rock, and even Calvin Klein for under $35. You'll get free standard shipping if your order is over $99 - which applies to most, but clearly not all, watches sold here.
Get incredible savings in the Flash Deals section
We appreciated that Ashford didn't interrupt our watch-shopping time with an annoying pop-up offering a discount. But, never fear, such discounts are available: look for the wonderfully unobtrusive "Unlock 10% off" box and then enter your email address to get a discount exclusively for first-time customers. For extra savings, be sure to go to the Weekly Deals, Clearance, and Flash Deals sections of the Ashford site: we found an incredible deal on the Tissot Chemin Des Tourelles men's watch as a flash deal, offered at $429.99 (MSRP $975). That was absolutely the lowest price around, bar none.
Standard return policy
All new watches sold by Ashford have a 30-day return period. Just make sure you haven't worn or resized it, in order to qualify for a refund. If you choose a Certified Pre-Owned watch, you've got a 14-day return window.
Good warranty coverage
Ashford will give you a two-year warranty if you purchase a brand that isn't covered by the manufacturer - but there's a long list of brands on their warranty page that won't require that extra protection. You've also got a year-long warranty if you purchase a Certified Pre-Owned watch from any brand.
Thousands of loyal customers
The Better Business Bureau has given Ashford its highest accolades, rating the watch store with an "A+" and awarding accreditation back in 2008. Customer feedback is in line with the BBB's impression, with nearly 4,000 five-star reviews. Some shoppers return to the Ashford store over and over again, because the watches (and other products) are just that good: superb quality, perfect condition, fast delivery and backed by a terrific customer service team.
Best all-around option among watch stores
Whether you're shopping for a watch that's extravagant or expendable, Ashford is the best place to start. Take advantage of their vast selection, amazing prices, and their legendary attention to customer satisfaction. Ashford gets our highest ranking among watch stores.
Over 20 years ago, Zappos started as a shoes-only online retailer. Since then, they've expanded into clothing, handbags, and accessories like watches. This is a terrific option for a wide range of watch styles and prices - and maybe get your shoes here while you're at it.
Decent selection of Citizen, no Rolex
To accurately compare stores, we chose two brands and models of watches for our review: the Citizen Corso line and the Rolex Explorer series. At Zappos, there were three options in the Corso series, all for men. One, the EW2584-53L was marked down to $356.25 - well below the MSRP of $475. All three were designated as "low stock" . Zappos didn't have any Rolex watches, period.
Best range of brands
Still, we give Zappos high marks for their overall inventory, despite the swing-and-a-miss with our two comparison watches: there were more than 950 wristwatches on offer at the time of this review, spanning more than 100 brands ranging from basic kids' watches to designer labels like Kate Spade and Tissot. It's really easy to shop Zappos too: use the filters on the left to sort by color, brand, or price, plus look at the suggested filters at the top (like "water resistant" or "analog" ) to narrow the results even further.
A few mid-tier options ($900-$2,000)
On the highest end of the price spectrum, Zappos had a couple of women's watches by Michele: the Deco Madison Mini Double Wrap Bracelet, one with all-silver tones and another with gold-and-silver tones. Both were priced several hundred dollars below the MSRP and came in around $2,000. Beyond that, Zappos carried a few Movado watches in the neighborhood of $1,200 and many others at $900 or less. You may also spot some Bulovas and a few watches by Shinola Detroit in that price range.
Most watches are less than $200 here
But, the vast majority of watches sold by Zappos will cost you under $200. From Timex to Fossil and many other brands too, you can get a reliable wristwatch at a price that should be below the listed retail price. However, those prices weren't always lower than Zappos' competitors, so you'll want to shop your watch around before clicking on the "pay now" button here.
365-day return window on new watches
Zappos has a generously-long return period. You have 365 days from your order date to return your watch (or anything else you buy). That's fantastic if you're shopping in advance for a holiday or special occasion and want your recipient to be able to send it back if it doesn't fit. Just keep in mind that your items have to be in new, unworn condition to be eligible for a refund.
Free shipping and returns - even Alaska and Hawaii
Speaking of generosity, you'll always get free shipping from Zappos. That even applies if you live in Alaska, Hawaii, a US territory or a military APO/FPO address. The same goes for returns: just initiate your self-service return on the Zappos site and choose your preferred return option, which includes printer-free returns at UPS locations near you.
Still a flawless reputation
Plus, reputation-wise, Zappos still knocks it out of the park. They're "A+" rated and accredited by the Better Business Bureau, and overall customer feedback is excellent. Granted, a lot of the reviews relate to the shoe-buying experience, but you'll still see that Zappos is consistently delivering exactly what shoppers expect when placing their orders - and that those orders arrive on time.
Excellent choice for good watches
No, you won't be buying your watch from Zappos if you're on the hunt for a super-high-end luxury wristwatch that will be handed down for generations to come. But, Zappos is a great place to shop for just about anything else, because there are so many brands to choose from and you still get terrific customer service. Zappos earns one of our best rankings among watch stores.
Since 1979, Authentic Watches has been offering Swiss watches from elite brands like MontBlanc and Omega. Their partnerships with certified suppliers mean that you get an amazing heirloom-quality watch at an extremely competitive price, all with excellent customer service at the ready to answer questions you may have or to resolve any issues that may arise.
Unbeatable selection of luxury brands
When we looked for the Corso line in the Citizen brand for our comparison shopping, it was not a surprise that Authentic Watches came up empty. On the other hand, in the Rolex Explorer line, this store had 16 options to choose from. That's in keeping with Authentic Watches' reputation as a luxury watch store: shop here if you're looking for Breitling, Cartier, Longines, Tag Heuer, or other status symbol brands.
Great online shopping experience
This watch store is very intuitive to shop. Like most retailers, you can use the search bar to jump directly to what you're looking for. But, if you're not quite sure or you're just browsing, try starting with Men's or Women's. One of our favorite ways to get ideas is by scrolling down to the sections for Rare & Unique Timepieces, Limited Edition Watches, and New Arrivals. Once you select a watch that gets your attention, you'll get ample details about its specifications, an order deadline for a specific delivery date, and some suggestions of other watches you may also like.
Don't miss getting a fantastic deal
Looking for a watch at an even better-than-usual price? Be sure not to miss the Weekly Deals, Top Price Drops, and Flash Sale links on the main page at Authentic Watches. We were floored to find the MontBlanc TimeWalker Chronograph 43mm Men's Watch in the flash sale section for just $3,575: a savings of over $6,000 from the retail price of $9,800.
Save by paying with wire transfer or using price matching
If the watch you decide to purchase is under $10,000, you can save 3% by paying in full via bank wire transfer instead of a credit card (though we're not sure many people are taking advantage of this benefit). Also, should you happen to find a watch listed by Authentic Watches at a lower price elsewhere, give them a call to request a price match. This must be done prior to placing your order, and the competitor's warranty, shipping, and return policies must be the same as Authentic Watches' to qualify.
Free sizing before your watch ships
When you place your order, be sure to provide your wrist circumference. They will size your watch at no extra charge; any links they remove will be included in your package.
Free overnight shipping on orders over $500
If you need your watch to arrive quickly, Authentic Watches has you covered. You'll get free overnight shipping (weekdays) on anything you order (over $500). If you're sending the watch outside of the US, you'll still get free delivery but it won't arrive overnight.
Standard return policy
You have 30 days to return your wristwatch, as long as it is in new, unworn condition. There are no restocking fees if your watch is priced under $10,000, while a 10% fee is charged on more expensive watch returns.
Upgrade your warranty coverage if desired
On every watch they sell, Authentic Watches will match or exceed the manufacturer's coverage period. You can also choose to upgrade your protection: $95 for three extra years, or lifetime coverage for $295 (Gold package) or $395 (Platinum package). We invite you to read the plans' descriptions on the site to determine which one would be the best for your purchase.
Reputation holds up
At the time of this evaluation, Authentic Watches had an "A-" rating from the Better Business Bureau, kept from a perfect "A+" because of a lack of response to one customer complaint out of 15 filed there in the last three years. That's not troubling in the slightest when you see how many five-star reviews they have in other places, and how professionally and courteously their team responds to complaints. Customers describe the buying process as incredibly smooth, with easy access to representatives when questions come up.
Top recommended store for Swiss-made watches
Authentic Watches earns our highest recommendation as a watch store for customers strictly looking for Swiss-made luxury timepieces. You'll get very competitive pricing, concierge-level customer service, and a guaranteed-authentic watch with a fantastic warranty.
Watch stores pop up all the time, leaving you wondering if they're a company you can trust. Zales is the exact opposite: founded in Texas back in 1924, this is a store with a reputation older than most of us. With hundreds of retail locations across the US and a well-stocked online store, Zales will always have options when you're interested in buying a wristwatch.
Lots of Citizen Corsos, no Rolexes
Zales had an excellent selection of the Citizen Corso watch line we used as an apples-to-apples comparison across stores: 35 to choose from for both men and women. This was the only place we spotted the His-and-Hers sets; our favorite was the 5056-A with white dial and stainless steel bands. However, Zales had no Rolex watches on offer - in the Explorer series we looked for at each watch store or in any other style.
Good selection, not always the lowest prices
Don't let that stop you from considering Zales, though. Their overall inventory is impressive with more than 2,000 in-stock wristwatches during our last visit. That spans 13 brands - including Invicta, Movado, Caravelle, JBW, Coach, Fossil, and Mido, among others - priced anywhere from $100 to $3,500. Prices here tend to be below the MSRP, but they're not always the lowest compared with other stores: on one Bulova wristwatch we liked, another major department store came in at $20 less, but other retailers had pre-owned models at a higher price. Do your research, because Zales' Price Match Policy only applies to differences in pricing between their online store and brick-and-mortar locations, not their rivals.
Zales offers a smooth shopping experience. On the main page, you can shop by price, metal, Watches for Him (or Her), or occasion. There's also a fun quiz you can take; just look for "What Watch Style Makes You Tick?" and you'll find the link there. We also like Zales' Watch Lookbook: it's a helpful way to see which watches might be a good match for your style. (For example, the reference image showed a forearm with tattoos and a watch that paired well with that aesthetic.)
One advantage of buying from a well-known jeweler like Zales is the likelihood of customer reviews. Many watch stores have no shopper ratings on any of their watches; most of the styles we browsed here had at least a few, and some had a dozen or more. Another plus is that you may be able to order your watch online and pick it up at a retail location near you; you'll find that option underneath the estimated delivery date. But, with free shipping and no minimum order required, you're well-covered either way.
Online discounts available
When we visited the Zales online store recently, there was a "save $50 on your first order of $300" offer that popped up. If you're willing to give them your email address, you might spot the same promotion when you shop here. We also saw a sitewide discount, automatically applied to your shopping bag, of anywhere from 15% to 25% on purchases of $1,499+. (You may not be looking to spend that much on a watch - it's probably more applicable to people shopping for diamond wedding sets - but it's a nice savings if you're going for a luxury timepiece.)
30-day return window
Zales offers the standard 30-day return timeframe you'll find with many stores. As usual, your watch needs to be in unused, unworn condition to qualify for a refund. Print a no-cost return label through the Zales website or take it to a location near you.
Maintains a strong reputation
The Better Business Bureau continues to rate Zales as an accredited, "A+" retailer, which doesn't really come as a surprise for a watch store that's been around for a century. Shopper feedback hasn't changed much since our last review: while not necessarily specific to watches, some buyers have a fantastic experience with their purchases here, while others are frustrated by slow delivery times and items that aren't as high-quality as anticipated. And yet, with so many retail locations in addition to their online storefront, Zales is bound to get a higher-than-average number of complaints.
A watch store you can rely on
Zales offers the most convenient blend of online shopping plus in-store pickup and returns. This is a good place to look for mid-tier watch brands - nothing extraordinarily extravagant or super-cheap - and it's a reliable option for anyone who feels hesitant to buy from a lesser-known watch store.
Watches2U got its start as a small business in 2002 - out of a garden shed in England. It grew to become the largest independent online watch shop in the UK, as an official stockist of every brand they offer. Watches2U has received the Platinum Trusted Service Award from Feefo and numerous five-star reviews from happy shoppers.
No Citizen or Rolex, but 65+ other brands on offer here
When we looked for our comparison Citizen watches in the Corso line, Watches2U had no matching results. It was the same when we searched for anything Rolex. What brands can you get from this watch store? There are more than 65, and they range from A(rmani Exchange) to V(ersace) - with plenty of well-known options like Timex, Michael Kors, Kenneth Cole, Guess, and Calvin Klein. Their inventory consisted of more than 4,000 in-stock watches: one of the bigger stores in our review.
Store is easy to navigate
Even though there are a lot of watches to choose from, this online store isn't hard to shop. If you're not starting by typing something into the search bar, you'll need to go to either Men's or Ladies' Watches to get started. Use the filters to keep narrowing it down: dial colour, strap type, shape, features, and charging mode are just a few you can apply.
Save with pop-up discounts
You might be able to save some money if you watch out for pop-ups here. We got one promoting a seasonal sale of up to 60% off and a coupon code to get an extra 10% discount. Hooray for not needing to sign up for an email newsletter to get that.
Extra steps if you're in the US
Keep in mind that because Watches2U is not a US-based watch store, you'll need to use their international delivery options, and that may come with import duties and taxes. Also, that makes customer service a little trickier to access, since you can't just hop on the phone and call a toll-free number in your time zone. And, even if you set the little flag in the upper right corner to "USA" , you're still going to see prices in pounds (and then do the calculation to dollars on your own). At least the shipping is free, wherever you are.
Great reviews from around the world
Watches2U gets a lot of positive feedback from shoppers, with thousands of people giving the watch store a perfect five-star rating. It looks like no matter where in the world you have your watch delivered, you can expect a great experience: reviews came in from not just the UK and the US but also Portugal, Hong Kong, and Australia. Delivery is surprisingly fast too; many customers were floored to receive their new watch in less than a week, despite having to cross an ocean (or two) to get there.
Longer-than-average return policy
That's probably why this watch store offers a 60-day return policy: they know it might take a minute or two to not only receive your item but also get it shipped back if you don't like how it looks or fits.
Well worth considering
There's so much to love about Watches2U: terrific, well-stocked inventory, commitment to customer service, and stellar reviews from shoppers around the globe. We were a little annoyed with the extra hoops of shopping here as a US-based customer (like calculating the price on pounds-to-dollars and hoping that our googling was accurate), especially with many watch stores that don't require us to do much math to know if we're getting a good value. On the whole, though, Watches2U is worth considering if you see a watch you love that you haven't found anywhere closer to home.
WatchCo is headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin. Family-owned and in business since 1993, this retailer offers "all accessories, all the time" - but you'll mostly see sunglasses, clocks and pocket knives here, in addition to their selection of wristwatches.
Yes on Citizen, no on Rolex
WatchCo didn't have the most extensive inventory of the Citizen Corso watches we used as a comparison across retailers: just five to choose from for men and women alike, priced from $243 to $296. You won't find any Rolex watches here - in the Explorer line we looked for, or in any other - and WatchCo says its best-selling brands include Benchmade, Citizen, Dakine, Garmin, and PSD.
More functional than fashionable?
Actually, WatchCo has a smaller inventory than most, across all available brands. A quick count revealed just about 600 watches to choose from, with very few priced over $900. Their most expensive models tend to be styles used for diving or other training, with heavy-duty straps and tech-y features - quite a difference from rival stores whose highest-end watches have gold bands and inlaid diamonds.
Filters make for easy shopping
The site is easy enough to shop, though, with filters for gender, color, watch type (fitness tracker or bracelet-style), material, and so forth. There's also a long list of features that can be very helpful in zeroing in on the items that meet your needs: you may want Japanese quartz or solar charging, for example.
Use the Price Protection guarantee
When we first visited the WatchCo store, we got a pop-up inviting us to provide our email address; in exchange, we were given a 20% discount on our order. Look for similar savings when you shop the site, because prices here aren't anything to get excited about: looking at several Garmin dive watches, for instance, we found more than a few watch stores that carried them for less. But, if you reach out to WatchCo's customer service team, you might be able to take advantage of their 110% Price Protection guarantee (applicable to all brands but Citizen).
Free shipping - even to AK, HI, APOs
On the other hand, WatchCo gives you free USPS Priority Mail shipping if your order is over $50. That's not overly exciting, but we love that this policy applies to people in Alaska, Hawaii, and at APOs/military bases. You won't find that with most of this store's competitors.
Generous 365-day return policy
Another benefit offered by WatchCo is 365-day returns, as long as your watch is unworn, unsized, and in the original box. So, if you're shopping ahead for your friend's birthday or your holiday celebrations, you can rest assured that returns won't be a problem.
Can't beat the reputation
WatchCo has a solid reputation, starting with an "A+" and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau and only one complaint filed there in the three years prior to this review. Better yet, we found more than 400 shopper reviews that gave this watch store a 4- or 5-star rating: customer service got lots of mentions for being very courteous and knowledgeable, and the watches themselves are exactly as promised. Yes, we spotted some complaints about challenges with communications with this retailer, but those were all from several years ago and we're not concerned.
Small but mighty, perhaps
WatchCo isn't a bad place to shop for watches. Most of their customer policies are generous, their reputation is decent, and their inventory is a little on the small side but still has enough options that most people can find a watch they like. There are a few stores we like better, and we recommend that you give them a look first, but WatchCo still gets a nod from us.
Buying a luxury watch online? Be sure to visit Watch Shopping. The company is fairly tight-lipped about its background as one of the newest online wristwatch retailers in our review, but initial signs are positive.
No Citizen Corsos, but 12 Rolex Explorers
How did this store do with the two watches we used as a comparison across all of the stores we evaluated? There were no Corso watches by Citizen in Watch Shopping's inventory, but we found 12 listings for Rolex Explorer and Explorer II. Only two of the 12 were out of stock, and the remaining in-stock watches were a mix of new and pre-owned.
50+ brands to choose from
Outside of our two sample watches and brands, Watch Shopping has a better-than-average inventory, with nearly 5,000 watches for men and women. Brands include everything from Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe to Victorinox and Seiko, with about 50 makers in total. There are lots of ways to see what's available here, from shopping by brand or gender to what's best-selling or on sale. Each watch has a detailed description and specs, and Watch Shopping adds a helpful Q&A section where you can ask for more info or see what other prospective shoppers have wanted to know.
Competitive pricing on luxury brands
Customers say that the prices here are really competitive, and our research indicates that as well. For instance, we found the Omega Speedmaster Racing Co-Axial Chronograph 40mm Automatic (black dial, steel) for $3,299. That was a 31% savings over the MSRP, and anywhere from $30 to $150 less than what we saw at rival watch stores.
We're not big fans of the high-pressure sales approach, so it was a little off-putting to get a pop-up here that would give us $20 off and free shipping in exchange for our email address - but only if we did it within 30 minutes. Why not just let us sign up for your email newsletter and do away with the time bomb?
Stingy return policies
The return policy at Watch Shopping isn't going to impress you either. You've only got 14 days from when your watch was shipped. You'll pay restocking fees on any returns less than $4,000, and 10%^ on orders over $4,000. Plus, no watches valued under $500 can be returned for any reason.
The warranty coverage here is a little better. Many brands come with a manufacturer's warranty (two years on Breitling, Cartier, Chanel; one year on Casio, Citizen, Seiko; five years on Rolex); on the watches that don't, Watch Shopping offers an in-house warranty ranging from 1-5 years, depending on the brand. You'll also get a 1-year in-house warranty when you buy a pre-owned watch.
Good initial feedback from customers and the BBB
Watch Shopping hasn't been around for a long time. In fact, their listing with the Better Business Bureau showed them as in operation for just four years at the time of this review (and the retailer's site doesn't even tell customers that much). That's why we were a little surprised to see that this watch store has an "A+" rating and accreditation, almost no complaints, and nearly 900 five-star reviews. Great watches at amazing prices, fast shipping, and helpful customer service seem to be the norm when buying from Watch Shopping.
Off to a solid start, but more info please
We hesitate to give Watch Shopping one of our highest ratings: the company doesn't disclose enough about itself for us to feel confident in its background or longevity, especially since it's so new on the market. We're encouraged by the positive ratings and reviews we've seen, including the top rating from the BBB, and we hope to see that continue in the future. We'll be glad to bump this watch store up in our rankings once they have been around longer, and preferably start to tell customers more about who they are.
In business since 1997, World of Watches offers 100% authentic, brand-name watches at sale prices of up to 90% off the MSRP. Over a million people have bought a wristwatch here.
Options for both Citizen Corso and Rolex Explorer
World of Watches did well with our Citizen Corso comparison search, carrying 11 different styles for men and women. We weren't thrilled with the irrelevant results we got when we searched for them, though: it said there were over 1,800 matches, but those included other Citizen watches (sure, no problem) and, oddly, perfume by Juliette Has A Gun (okay then...). It was a similar experience with the Rolex Explorer: there were four options available for purchase, but the results quickly devolved into men's cologne and other watches with "Explorer" in the name. But, at least they had both: not many of the stores we reviewed can say the same.
Over 16,000 watches
Those results are an accurate reflection of World of Watches' inventory as a whole, with more than 4,600 watches for women and nearly 12,000 for men. Whether you want to spend $118,000 for a Patek Philippe or $18.98 for a Timex, there's no shortage of options when you shop at this store. We suggest making good use of the filters to find your new watch more quickly: you may already have an idea of the band color, material, or type, prefer a certain type of movement, or you're sticking to a budget, so click accordingly to get to your matching results list. Each watch has a detailed description and product specs, leaving you with no mysteries about what you're getting.
How about prices? World of Watches is pretty competitive when you look at rival stores, especially if you shop the Sale section. We found the Tissot Men's T-Touch Sailing Chronograph (Rubber, White Dial) for $326.98 in the "Time Bomb" section there; it was a 74^% savings over list price, and still $20 less than the then-current price at several retailers in this review. Plus, you can take advantage of a 30-day price match guarantee if you see your watch somewhere else at a better price.
Keep an eye out for discount offers
If you want to get free shipping here, look for a code at the top of the site. (At the time of this review, it was "WOWSHIP" .) Otherwise, you'll get complimentary domestic shipping if your order is over $100, no code required. And, for extra savings, browse the store a while and see if you get a pop-up; ours was $10 off $100 if we gave them our email address. That discount was also available as a red "Get $10 Off" box tucked at the bottom of the page.
Shopper feedback is positive, but not universally so
World of Watches has a staggering quantity of shopper reviews: in one place alone, we found over 130,000 in eight years. 80% of those give this watch store a five-star rating, and overall World of Watches had an average of 4.8 stars. We're not quite sure what to make of the fact that, in other places, the shopper feedback isn't quite so enthusiastic, especially over the six months leading up to this review: still positive from over 60% of customers, but more frequent complaints about orders not being delivered, watches that stop working within a few months, and so on. That might be partly why the Better Business Bureau's rating has remained at an "A-" for the last 2+ years.
Moving up in the rankings
And yet, we've boosted this watch store's rating and ranking. There's no question that this is a high-volume retailer with wristwatches for every imaginable style and quality, both budget-friendly and once-in-a-lifetime purchase. If you can't find your watch here, it probably doesn't exist. We recommend keeping an eye on customer service, making sure to register your watch with the manufacturer to activate any available warranty coverage (because that was an issue in our last review). We're cautiously optimistic that World of Watches is doing well enough to earn a better-than-average spot in our list.
Since 2007, Watch Station has been part of the Fossil Group. You may have spotted one of their more than 100 brick-and-mortar locations worldwide, typically associated with outlet malls. Their online store carries over 2,400 watches to choose from, evenly split between men's and women's styles.
Mostly fashion, no luxury
Watch Station didn't have any watches in Citizen's Corso line, the first watch brand we used in our reviews to compare stores. How about the Rolex Explorer? Once again, a big zero. Watch Station's featured brands are Michael Kors, Emporio Armani, Fossil, Diesel, and Armani Exchange; you'll also find watches by Kate Spade, DKNY, Skechers, Zodiac, and a handful of other brands. In other words, the watches here are more about fashion and not necessarily something you're going to pass down as an heirloom. That corresponds to the prices at Watch Station: almost everything is under $400, with just 100 or so that cost more.
Try it on (virtually) for size
The store isn't difficult to shop: either type in what you're looking for or start with Men's, Women's, or Smartwatch categories. Filters can help you get to your results more quickly; just click the boxes to specify your preferred material, case color, price range or brand. We weren't impressed with the details (or lack thereof) when we clicked on the watches we liked: the specs were pretty sparse, and we didn't see any watches that had buyer reviews. The one feature that struck us as novel was the "Try It On" : use your smartwatch to see how the watch would look on your wrist, and/or compare it to a ruler, smartphone, or credit card to gauge its size.
Savings via pop-ups and seasonal sales
Browsing the Watch Station store, we got a pop-up discount of 25% on our first purchase. We had to give them our email address, and the asterisk indicated that "some exclusions may apply" . There was also a holiday promotion in place, with a 40% discount applied automatically to many of the watches in the store.
Slight drop in rating from BBB
How about Watch Station's reputation? Their listing with the Better Business Bureau displays a "B+" , lower than we usually like to see but with only 14 complaints over a three-year period that all got appropriate responses. That's hardly worrisome, in our book, but the rating has dropped since our last review when the company had an "A+" .
Some changes that aren't customer-friendly
There are a few additional changes we spotted, compared with our last review of Watch Station. On a positive note, online purchases can now be returned to a retail location near you; just bring your order confirmation email and you're good to go. Oddly enough, the Watch Station site says you need to be within their return period - but now it stops short of saying exactly how long that is. In the past, that was 90 days, but it's hard to say if that still stands. And, they've doubled the amount you need to spend to get free shipping, from $50 to $100.
Could be better, could be worse
No wonder customer feedback for Watch Station is lukewarm. Everywhere we looked, the reviews all averaged out to exactly that: "just average" . No one is raving about the amazing deals on top-quality watches here, or saying that the customer service is the absolute worst. In about every dimension, people seem to have an "eh" reaction to Watch Station.
Nothing to rave about
We tend to agree. There's nothing that jumps out at us as a big red flag here, but there's also not much to entice us to shop here for a watch instead of a higher-ranked competitor. Go ahead and buy that watch you found on this site, if there's something you like for the right price, but we wouldn't make Watch Station the first store on our list.
Jomashop has been in business for more than three decades, specializing in watches, handbags and sunglasses but also offering shoes, apparel, fine writing instruments and more. Orders are fulfilled from Jomashop's NYC fulfillment center, delivering to more than 150 countries.
Impressive selection of Citizen Corsos and Rolex Explorers
Jomashop measures up well with our first comparison watches, the Corso line by Citizen. There were eleven in stock during our visit to the site, about evenly split between men's and women's styles. This watch shop did even better with the Rolex Explorer series, with over 30 in the inventory - most of which were pre-owned. That could save you some money, but there were also some brand-new options if buying pre-owned isn't your thing.
Got a cool million for a watch?
One of our favorite things is to see the most- and least-expensive watches a store carries, especially when they have a really large inventory. Jomashop absolutely fits that bill, with over 52 thousand watches in stock. And whoa, what fun seeing what their most expensive watches are: not one, not two, but five watches priced at over $1,000,000 (hey, some were even discounted by 13-18%. What a bargain!). Not quite a million-dollar price tag but still a watch we loved, the Richard Mille Diamond Tourbillon Panda Men's Watch ($950,000) was delightfully novel to discover as we browsed.
Spend under $20 if that's what you've got
When you flip the listings and ask to see all watches from low-to-high, you'll see several watch straps mixed in with plastic-y Timex models for $15 or less. Or how about the Lego BulbBotz light-up Stormtrooper? Fun or fancy, Jomashop has it all, apparently.
Thousands of shopper ratings
You'll be hard-pressed to find other online watch retailers with as many reviews as Jomashop: how about more than 17,000 five-star ratings alone? The Better Business Bureau also gets a lot of shopper feedback and has given this store an "A+" rating and accreditation.
Not always delivering customer satisfaction
However, they say that all that glitters is not gold, and there are some decidedly "not shiny" comments from people who bought watches through Jomashop. If you get the right watch and it works perfectly for as long as you expected it to (or at least throughout its warranty period), good for you. If not? You're likely to have a near-impossible time trying to get a resolution.
Where's the service?
Even within the allotted 30-day return window (on new items; pre-owned watches only have 14 days), customers report that Jomashop reps don't get things handled in any way that could remotely be described as "satisfying" . That's one thing on a cheap Timex, but could you imagine that kind of treatment on a watch valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars? We'd think that those customers would get concierge-level attention, but maybe not so much. Tack on a restocking fee of 8% on all watches valued at $4,000+, and you'll see why many buyers of high-end watches don't have a lot of love for Jomashop.
"Just average" until buyer feedback improves
We can't overlook the tens of thousands of positive reviews for Jomashop, the 30+ years they've been in business, or their extremely vast inventory of watches. However, their customer satisfaction levels leave a lot of room for improvement - far more than we would have expected to see from a store that sells $950,000 Rolex watches with rainbow diamond accents around the dial. Jomashop will easily jump in our rankings once we see an improvement in their buyer feedback, but until then, this watch store comes in as "just average" .
WatchMaxx has more than 20 years of experience in the watch industry, operating as a family-owned business serving thousands of customers worldwide.
Options for Rolex and Citizen
WatchMaxx didn't have any of the Corso line of Citizen watches we used as a comparison across retailers, but they had seven items in other series (Paradex, Chandler, and Paradigm). With respect to Rolex, there was just one Explorer model available - but dozens more in the Sea-Dweller, Cosmograph, Yacht-Master, Submariner, and other lines.
7,000+ watches to choose from
Let's put it this way: you won't have a shortage of options here, even if the specific brand-model combination you've got in mind isn't in stock. WatchMaxx had about 7,000 watches during our last trip to their online storefront, ranging from a cute Coach satin strap women's watch for $45 and an Invicta Pro Diver men's watch for $53, all the way up to styles by Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and IWC for $205,000+.
"Special savings" are the real deal
We're impressed with the prices at WatchMaxx. If you're not sure exactly what you want but like the idea of getting a luxury watch at a discount, be sure to click the filter for "special savings" . The first few watches might not be particularly "bargain-priced" (ours populated with several watches over $100,000 with no discounts shown), but below that we found lots of styles by Invicta, Ferragamo, Movado, Oris, and other brands with savings of 75% or more over list price. Other watch stores also had sales on these watches, but the WatchMaxx pricing topped them all.
One low price example
One example was the Versace V-Helix 38mm Silver Dial Diamond Bezel Leather Strap for Women: the WatchMaxx price of $495 was 88% lower than the list price of $3,500, and almost $200 less than rival retailers displayed. It's almost an afterthought, but on orders over $150, you'll also get free standard shipping in the continental US (or pay $5 on purchases below that amount).
30 days for returns, exceptions possible
Lots of watch stores give you 30 days to make a return on new items and 14 days on pre-owned. WatchMaxx is the only one to come out and say that exceptions to those policies can be arranged at their discretion - and in an era of shipping delays and supply chain issues, among other things, we really appreciate that kind of service.
Selling watches they don't actually have?
Sounds amazing, right? Given that this retailer even has an "A+" rating from the Better Business Bureau, you're probably wondering why it gets such a low rating. Despite the BBB's positive impression and nearly 9,000 reviews elsewhere, recent customer comments left us with big concerns about how WatchMaxx actually does business. Time and again, customers place orders for "in stock" watches, only to wait weeks on end for it to ship. Then, when no delivery information has been provided, customers inquire about the progress of their order and are then told that the order can't be fulfilled.
Seems to be a pattern
The pattern seems to indicate that WatchMaxx advertises watches that they may or may not be able to source for you. That seems like buying that pair of size 0 jeans for your high school reunion and hoping that your diet works in time. Not a problem if it works, but when it doesn't, it becomes an issue - and that's what we're hearing from too many WatchMaxx shoppers.
Too many concerns to merit a higher rating
If you see a watch you love on this site and time is not of the essence, you could take your chances and buy it. There are enough five-star reviews to indicate that at least some of the time, WatchMaxx is delivering quality watches at attractive prices. Unfortunately, our concerns over how this watch store sources the items it lists in inventory make it impossible to rank WatchMaxx among our preferred retailers at this time.
Brathwait is an American watch maker that prioritizes high-quality materials and simplicity in design, without the big mark-ups you'll find with other companies. They've been around since 2014, making them one of the newer brands in our review.
Only Brathwait brand watches
Obviously, we couldn't use a Citizen and Rolex watch for comparison here, with only Brathwait timepieces in the inventory. In fact, there are just three basic watch styles on offer: the Classic Slim Wrist Watch, the Swiss Classic, and the Automatic Minimalist Wrist Watch (with a significant price jump between the first two and the last one). Since there aren't hundreds of watches to consider, it's pretty easy to jump right to Mens or Womens watches and browse the selection.
Classic design with a variety of strap/face combinations
The Classic Slim watches use nature's "golden ratio" in its lines, while the Swiss Classic design was inspired by 1960s timepieces and features Swiss-made movement and luminous hands. Which one is better? That depends on your aesthetic, and there are plenty of color combinations in the watch face and straps (dark grey crocodile leather to stainless steel mesh) to suit your style. You can expect to pay from $120-$170 for any watch in these two designs, no matter if you're buying for a man or woman.
Highest-end watch is only $695
When you upgrade to Brathwait's Automatic Minimalist watch, you'll still get an "unpretentious design" - with a not-quite-humble price tag of $695 if you go all-out with the Swiss-made, limited edition. If you've been looking for a self-winding watch, this is the right place to look at the Brathwait store, and again, you'll have ample combinations of face colors and strap materials to make your watch as unique as you are.
Transparency in pricing
One of the most interesting things you'll see as you browse watches at this store are the completely transparent aspects of their pricing. Pick a watch and scroll down the page, past the customer reviews. There, you'll see Brathwait's costs on literally every component, from the strap to the case, and then what their retail price is. For example, on a stainless steel automatic, Brathwait's price was $269 and the total manufacturing cost was $146 - but comparable watches from other brands could easily be priced at $590 or more.
Free shipping, 30-day returns, 1-year warranty
If your order is over $50, you'll get free shipping; since all watches are easily more than that, you'll always get no-cost delivery unless you're just stopping by to get a new watch band. You can also return your Brathwait watch for free within 30 days of delivery; they call it their "see it before you keep it" policy, but your watch has to be in brand-new, unworn condition to be eligible. All Brathwait watches have a one-year warranty period.
BBB isn't impressed
Brathwait had only received three complaints at the Better Business Bureau in the last three years, and zero in the most recent 12-year period - and yet, the Better Business Bureau still gave this watch store an "F" rating for not responding to two of them. That's a huge penalty, compared with other retailers that get thousands of complaints and still have an "A+" rating.
You'll love this brand or you'll hate it
Then again, maybe the folks at the BBB peeked around in other places and saw what we did: shoppers are pretty evenly split between 1- and 5-star ratings for Brathwait. You'll get a great watch - or you'll get nothing. Your watch will work perfectly - or you won't be able to reach customer service to get it fixed. Are you getting the idea?
Buy a different watch
We really like the idea of this watch brand, but it falls apart in how it actually works out for customers. Buying a watch shouldn't feel like spinning a roulette wheel - will you be thrilled or horribly disappointed? Brathwait is our lowest-ranking watch store.
But wait. What if the watch doesn't fit? Or I don't like it when it arrives? Usually not a problem. Watch stores have already anticipated your concerns, and you'll usually have a generous return window if you need a refund or want to make an exchange. A few retailers even allow you to wear the watch for several weeks before you make your decision - as long as it's still in good condition, without a lot of wear and tear, of course.
Which watch store should get your attention? There are lots of options, and many of them would be a perfectly good choice for your new time-keeper. Here are a few ways you can narrow down the options:
To help you find the right timepiece for that someone special (or yourself!), TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's most popular online watch stores. From everyday wear to black-tie occasions, the perfect watch is out there. Ready to start shopping?
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