Jomashop is a well-established U.S. company selling luxury watches, handbags, sunglasses, and other accessories at a steep discount from retail prices. It sells authentic products and has many happy, repeat customers. However, the nature of the company’s business model and customer service policies leave some buyers unsatisfied.

Is Jomashop Legit?

Jomashop has been in business for decades and has a solid reputation. The company’s dealings are legal and straightforward. However, Jomashop is not authorized by the brands it sells. Jomashop operates in a business model sometimes called the “gray market.” There’s nothing shady about the gray market, but you won’t get the same warranties and service you’d expect from a brand-authorized dealer.

Business Overview

Jomashop is a discount reseller of luxury goods. Jomashop has been operating since 1990 and has an A+ rating, according to the Better Business Bureau. Its offices are in Brooklyn, New York, and its parent company, Giftports, has been incorporated in New York state since 1990. Jomashop sells high-end brands like Breitling, Movado, Omega, Panerai, and Rolex on its website and through other online outlets like Amazon.com and eBay.com. All sales come with a guarantee of authenticity.

Jomashop has excellent ratings for being safe and trustworthy. Jomashop’s Amazon store reviews are 98% positive and it’s a top-rated seller on eBay with ratings that are 99.4% positive. In 2016, Jomaship was recommended as an Insider Pick by Business Insider magazine.

Watch collectors recommend Jomashop as a reputable source for authentic watches. On collectors’ discussion forums on Watchuseek.com, there are hundreds of threads about shopping on Jomashop. Some buyers are unhappy with the customer service (more on that below), but the dealers and buyers on Watchuseek affirm that Jomashop products are the real deal. On a Rolex collectors’ site, RolexForums.com, buyers agree that Jomashop is legit.

What Is the “Gray Market”?

Luxury brands don’t want their products sold online. Internet sales force prices down and take away the prestige of boutique shopping. According to Forbes magazine, retailers must follow strict rules to earn and keep their status as officially authorized dealers. Authorized dealers can only offer minor discounts from the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). They can sell pre-owned watches online, but never new ones. And, according to the Financial Times, authorized dealers are only supposed to offload overstocks within the authorized network.

But what happens when an item or an entire line just isn’t moving and no other authorized dealer wants to take on more of the same inventory? Retailers may decide to sell their overstock to gray market resellers and hope the brands don’t find out. Resellers also buy inventory overseas, where the suggested retail price is lower and/or the exchange rate is favorable.

Gray market products are authentic; it’s completely legal to buy and sell them. Many large national and international companies sell gray market goods, including Costco. As a matter of fact, Omega sued Costco over gray market sales of its watches and, in 2015, Costco won the case in federal court.

Jomashop has been accused by a Swiss watchmaker of unfair dealing. In 2008, TechnoMarine sued Jomashop for allegedly using copyrighted photographs on its website without permission. The two parties settled that case, but, in 2012, TechnoMarine sued again, claiming that Jomashop was interfering with its trademark. The case was dismissed as being covered by the earlier settlement.

You can find out more about the gray market worldwide from Reuters.

The Downside of Gray Market Shopping

High-end watches and accessories use fine materials and boast excellent design and construction. But a big portion of the price tag comes from the luxury shopping experience, personal service, and warranties. At gray market dealers like Jomashop, you just get the high-end product.

Jomashop has a strict return and exchange policy. New items must be returned within 30 days and pre-owned items must be returned within 14 days. All items need to be in the original packaging with labels and stickers attached. There must not be any sign of wear or alteration. In most returns, the customer pays for return shipping, and there are rules and conditions about how the package can be shipped.

In addition, items bought from gray market sellers like Jomashop aren’t covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Jomashop offers warranties on its products with various lengths, depending on the brand and condition. The warranty covers a watch’s ability to keep time, but not water damage or any physical or external damage. Excessive or abnormal use can void the warranty.

Many of the complaints about Jomashop on the BBB site are by customers who appear to be unhappy with the return or warranty policies. Collectors on Watchuseek recommend buyers consider a purchase from Jomashop as a stand-alone item, and they should plan to pay the manufacturer or a local watchmaker for any repairs or service.

The inventory of a gray market seller changes frequently, and some products are shipped from overseas. Products may be listed for sale and suddenly become unavailable, or there may be a long wait for shipping. A significant number of complaints on the third-party review site Trustpilot refer to long delays in shipping or orders that were canceled because the item went out of stock.

Boutiques and authorized dealers devote time and resources to sales and customer service; gray market sellers don’t. Many of the negative reviews on Amazon are based on slow shipping and slow response times.

How Legitimate Are the Reviews?

Jomashop provides links on its website directly to reviews on the BBB site, Amazon, Trustpilot, eBay, and others. It consistently receives excellent ratings overall, but there are still negative reviews. You can read customer complaints yourself and decide whether the problems reported are significant to you.

You may have heard news stories about fake reviews on Amazon, Trustpilot, and other online sites. But, according to eBay’s policies, only buyers who have completed a transaction can leave feedback on a seller. And, at ResellerRatings, verified customer reviews are tagged with a badge.

How Jomashop Compares with Its Competitors

Jomashop is just one of several reputable gray market watch sellers. According to the Financial Times, gray market sales represent 20% of the global market for high-end watches, while Barron’s magazine reports the gray market may actually move more product than official retailers.

But, whenever you buy online, you should make sure you know the company you’re dealing with. Don’t be misled! Some websites use names that are very similar to more-established gray market companies. Check the name and web address closely. For example, “Authentic Watch Store” is not the same company as AuthenticWatches.com.

Here’s how three of the biggest gray market watch players compare with Jomashop’s policies and ratings:

1. AuthenticWatches.com

2. Chrono24

3. Iconic Watches

In Summary

Jomashop is a legitimate reseller of authentic luxury watches. Its products are real and it has a long history of good business practices with satisfied customers. Buying watches or other high-end products from online resellers is different from buying through an authorized dealer. A lower price often means you get less service and support for your purchase. The unauthorized “gray market” is legal and aboveboard, but there are some downsides you should consider. Always read the seller’s warranty and return policies before you buy.