Is it cheaper to buy a Rolex in Switzerland?
Who among us hasn’t dreamed of owning the ultimate symbol of material success: A real Rolex watch? Sure, you can buy fake ones on the streets of pretty much every major city in the world, but nothing compares to the real thing. Starting at about $4,000 and soaring into the millions, a Rolex is quite the investment even if you have the dough to buy one. One would think that purchasing one in the country in which they’re made would bring the price down but does it, really? Here, Trippy.com members debate whether it really does or doesn’t and the answers may surprise you.
Can I get a cheaper Rolex if I buy it in Switzerland?
“I don’t think so, because Switzerland is quite expensive in general. I am sure you get a Rolex cheaper in most airports of the world than in an ordinary Rolex shop in Switzerland.”
“Cheap and Switzerland should not be used in the same sentence. Just because a product is produced in a particular country, that does not mean it is going to cost less there. The distribution, sales, local cost structures, exchange rates and taxes all impact the retail price of an item. This is not unique to Switzerland. I was able to pick up a Japanese made camera in Canada for less money than I saw it for in Tokyo.”
“I also have my doubtrs. Not because of Switzerland's high cost of living, but because Rolex sets the price that nobody is allowed to undercut (unless you find s.o. who wants to sell its own watch at a discount). Switzerland has one advantage: you buy the watch TAX-FREE (the VAT of 7.6 pct is refunded for foreign residents). This can make a big difference with duties and tax in many countries exceeding 30 pct. Airport shops are also duty-free, but often charge a premium, because of rental and airport tax (they also know that it is the visitor's last chance to buy a watch in Switzerland). I made the experience with perfumes and electronics, that can often be purchases cheaper in the city center. On the other hand, the Swiss Franc (currency) has gained a lot of strengths recently. It is possible that Rolex has not adapted its prices worldwide, allowing for good value in countries with weak(er) currencies. My suggestion: select a watch, note down model and specs, check the price in your home country, then compare it with the price quoted in Switzerland. Switzerland's traditional luxury watch outlets offer outstanding customer service, often at no cost and many years after purchase. And a guarantee that the watch is not a fake.”
“It depends on the vat in your home country. In fact the net price of practically all Swiss watches is all over the world the same. For me as a German it makes sense to buy a Swiss watch in Switzerland, because the gross price is lower there (Swiss vat on watches: 7,6%; German vat on watches: 19%). I would have to buy it with vat in Switzerland and then I would have to smuggle it into Germany. The legal option would be, to buy it in Switzerland without tax and pay the custom fee and the German vat in Germany. Just to buy it without Swiss vat and to smuggle it into Germany is not possible, because the Swiss (airport-)shop would report my purchase to the German authorities and I would have to pay the fees (and eventually fines) anyway. If you are e.g. from the USA I do not know whether the Swiss would report the purchase to your authorities or not. So, the cheapest, but illegal way would be to buy it in Switzerland with tax and to smuggle it, if the Swiss tax is lower than 'your' vat.”
Some feel if you have to ask . . .
“Frankly, if you are worried about the price of a Rolex, you really cannot afford one. To answer your question, eh, no. Rolex has a certain price criteria, that cannot be undercut.”
And then there are those who don’t think a Rolex lives up to the hype:
“Why buy a second rate but well marketed watch? There are far better made watches to be had. Check out the Patek line.”
"’cept Rolex is ‘cheap’ compared to a Patek”
And then, there’s this simple response: