The loupe

TrueFacet's Fine Jewelry and Watch Guide

What is the Gray Market?

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When shopping online for fine jewelry and watches, you may stumble upon the term gray market, but don’t be fooled by what you find here. While it may look like you’re about to score an amazing bargain, there are very real dangers associated with shopping on the luxury gray market. Because some consumers are unaware of these risks, we’re looking into this phenomenon and explaining why shopping the gray market for luxury watches and jewelry is not the smart way to go.

What is the gray market?

The gray market is a blanket term for the unauthorized trading channels through which luxury watches and jewelry are sold.

Why does the gray market exist?

Authorized retailers are contracted to buy a certain number of units from a brand every year. But, given the high volume retailers are required to purchase each season, not all units are sold. In addition to that, the retailers are obligated to buy a set number of pieces from the new collections. So shops occasionally find themselves in a tight spot: a collection is stuck lingering in their showcase and a new collection needs shelf space.

Saddled with this stale inventory, retailers will dump their product onto the gray market where it can be quickly sold at a discount.

This all sounds like a good thing: I save money and the brands get rid of their old inventory. So why is the gray market bad?

Yes, at first blush, this sounds like a win-win for retailers and consumers. But, there is a very real danger in shopping for fine jewelry and watches on the gray market. While the goods sold on the gray market are authentic, brands will not honor the warranty because they were not purchased through the proper channels.

Luxury brands set rigorous standards for their authorized retailers to ensure that the item you receive is in pristine condition. However, a gray market retailer is not obligated to follow the brand’s protocol, and there is an increased likelihood that a gray market watch or piece of jewelry was damaged in transit, stored improperly, or carelessly handled. And if you purchase a watch off the gray market and wind up with a defective model, the brand will refuse to service it and you may be out a big chunk of change.

Is TrueFacet a gray market?

No. TrueFacet is an online resale marketplace for pre-owned watches and jewelry.

Unlike a gray market retailer who purchases inventory through illegitimate channels, TrueFacet’s inventory is pre-owned and was originally purchased through approved and authorized retailers. Therefore, brands will honor the warranty and service your item should you have any problems. Moreover, TrueFacet extends its own one-year warranty on your purchase for added security. (To learn more about TrueFacet’s warranty, visit us here.)

With TrueFacet, you can rest assured of your purchase’s authenticity and remain confident that it can be serviced by the original manufacturer to preserve its value.