Adventures in the Watch Trade- What I learned In 11 Years of Selling Watches.-Part 1

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This post has appeared elsewhere in the past. These are just some things that I observed over the eleven years of selling watches in a high-end boutique. I started in the industry in late 1999 and worked in one particular store for about six months before returning to work at a Borders Bookstore where I had previously been the Genre Fiction Supervisor.
About a year later (August 2001), I took a position at another watch store, becoming the Senior Sales Consultant.
I stayed there until January 2012.

I'm sure my views won't match those of a lot of people in the industry, or retail in general, and that's cool. These are merely my own twisted and juvenile observations, with some dashes of humour (hopefully) thrown in.


The more polite the customer, the less chance that he/she will ask for a discount. So I knock 15% off the price anyway. Sorry, Boss!

“May I help you?”

Not all sales-people are out to stiff you. They have their maximum allowable discount that they can offer you, and this percentage is different for each brand. It is, after all, a business, designed to make a profit. If you’re not happy with the discount offered to you, you obviously don’t have to buy from them. Simple as that. But remember, they are in the business of selling, so if they give you a discounted price, chances are it’s as low as they can go. Usually.

Oh, and also, if a salesperson pounces on you as soon as you walk in, it could be for a couple of reasons;
One- He/she works on commission and has no sense of fair play with other staff.
Two- Company policy is to acknowledge the customer within 20 seconds of them walking in.
Or, the salesperson could actually be a decent human being who wants to help you choose the watch that’s best for you. I’m not kidding here, people. Not all sales people are sharks. You’re thinking of lawyers or real estate agents.



I spoke on the phone to a customer once who complained that my price for a Breitling SuperAvenger with diamond bezel was higher than the price being offered by my competitors. I had called my Head Office to get the absolute best price. This guy wasn’t happy with it. “But how come your price is higher when you are selling the same product, for Christ’s sake?”, he said.

“I don’t know. Maybe they pay their staff peanuts, maybe the store runs on candle-light instead of electricity, maybe their rent is cheaper”, I replied.
I then listened to him tell me that my Head Office was “ a bunch of idiots, and if you have bunnies who are willing to pay that price to a sales guy on a thousand bucks a week” (boy, was he wrong about that figure) “then good luck to ya, but I’m not paying that price.”
Fine. Nobody’s forcing him. He then told me that he had his own construction business and was married to a beautiful wife. Geez, I usually just ask for a name and address when making a sale. I finished the conversation by telling him that I hoped he enjoyed his new watch when he got it, but before I hung up, I was tempted to tell him that diamond bezels really only belong on a lady’s watch. Or a pimp’s.
Thanks for a twenty-minute phone call where you made me feel dirty about working in this industry, Frank.
Oh, one more thing; It’s pronounced Franck Mee-oo-ler, not ‘Mull-ah’.



Repair time-frames and deadlines almost always lengthen. Probably due to the fact that your watch repair is at the mercy of overworked watch technicians who work for companies that take on more repairs than they can handle in a reasonable time, spare parts delays, postal and delivery mix-ups, etc.

RUDENESS...on both sides of the counter.

This topic probably needs its own thread. Hell, it needs its own website. Rude sales-people do exist. As do rude customers. A rude customer dealing with a polite salesperson, or a rude salesperson dealing with a polite customer, will produce the same result: a less than pleasant experience for the both of them. A note to rude salespeople- being smarmy, condescending or short with a customer gets you nowhere in the end. I’ve worked with enough of you over the years to find that you wind up with a poor reputation in the industry and customers tell their friends to avoid your store at all costs. And a note to rude customers- buying a wristwatch should not be a bloodsport, and it should not be a p*ssing contest between you and the salesman, or an exercise in sexist behaviour if dealing with a saleslady. If you are parting with some serious cash on a wristwatch, then it may as well be as pleasant an endeavour as possible. There’s already enough nasty behaviour in the world. The same goes for snobbery. The high-end wristwatch boutique attracts both snobby salespeople and snobby customers. Up to you if you care to deal with them. And finally, a note to polite salespeople- rude customers are out there. They are just plain rude. Don’t take their behaviour personally. They are rude to all waiters and salespeople.
And probably children, the elderly and dogs, too.


A lady in her fifties came in with her mother, who would have been in her mid to late eighties. The y had come in to find out the status of the older lady’s Raymond Weil repair. I checked the repair book and told them that the repair was still about two weeks from completion.

Older Lady - “Two weeks? I don’t have two weeks.”

Me (Cautiously) - “Do you... have... a terminal illness?”

Another lady, who was standing a few feet away, started laughing. I turned to her and said; “Yes, it was risky, but sometimes you gotta take a chance.”


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  1. jsw41's Avatar
    This is a great blog; thanks for sharing your experience.

  2. Broker's Avatar
    Yeah, I'll be checking back in on this one. I go into my watch shops dressed like a bum.
  3. Jeannie's Avatar
    Looking forward to part II!

  4. bacari's Avatar
    Too too funny! Great blog! Please keep 'em coming!
  5. Teeritz's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Broker
    Yeah, I'll be checking back in on this one. I go into my watch shops dressed like a bum.
    The bum is usually the guy in a T-shirt and faded jeans who tries on a bunch of watches, asks a lot of questions, and then winds up pulling out a credit card and buying a five thousand dollar watch. I used to tell my colleagues that all customers should be treated equally because you just never knew if the twenty year-old kid wasn't gonna come back with his parents the following week so that they could buy him an IWC or Jaeger-Le Coultre for his 21st birthday.
    Of course, nobody ever listened to me because I was the old guy and they were all too-cool-for-school.
    But I had the most repeat customers.

    EDIT: Where are my manners! Thanks for the comments, folks.
    Updated Nov 18, 2014 at 09:48 AM by Teeritz
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