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.
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 mostly positive and it’s a top-rated seller on eBay with ratings that are 99.4% positive. In 2016, Jomashop 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. 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 discontinued models and overseas inventory, 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.
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:
- Business overview: AuthenticWatches.com is a U.S. company with offices in Moorpark, CA. Its parent company incorporated in 2001. According to its website, the original family jewelry business began in 1979.
- Policies: AuthenticWatches.com guarantees its products’ authenticity and all items are sold with the manufacturer’s serial number intact. However, items bought from AuthenticWatches.com are not eligible for a factory warranty. The company offers a warranty on the watch’s movement under normal use for various lengths of time, depending on the item. Exterior damage or damage from misuse is not covered, and there are specific terms about shipping and other costs under the warranty. Additional warranty packages are available for purchase. Most items can be returned within 30 days, with some exceptions. Items must be unworn, unaltered, and unused — all with original packaging. The customer pays for return shipping, and there is a restocking fee for items over $5,000.
- Ratings: AuthenticWatches.com links to its merchant profiles and ratings on its website. The company has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau, 98% positive feedback on Amazon.com, and 100% positive feedback on eBay.
- Business overview: Chrono24 is a German company that’s been online since 2003. Chrono24 is a marketplace for buyers to connect with dealers and private sellers.
- Policies: The company screens sellers and guarantees the authenticity of its listings. The business has a buyer-protection program and offers escrow payments and secure checkout. Sellers may list items for direct sale or for sale through the Chrono24 secure checkout system. Your protections and return options depend on whether you buy through the site or arrange to pay outside its system. The terms of the sale depend on the individual item and/or dealer. Items purchased through the site can be returned within 14 days; the customer pays for return shipping. Some listings on the site are sold by Trusted Sellers and others are not. Some sellers use escrow protection and others don’t. If you find an item you would like to purchase, read the listing details and the seller’s information carefully.
- Ratings: Because Chrono24 is a marketplace, customer experiences vary. A high-profile case of counterfeiting made the news recently. Collectors on Watchuseek and Rolex Forums say the platform is reputable, but buyers should screen sellers with care. Chrono24 has a five-star rating on Trustpilot.
3. Iconic Watches
- Business overview: Unlike most online resellers, Iconic Watches also has a brick-and-mortar storefront. Its parent company, Ancient & Modern, has been in business in Blackburn, England, since 1943 and incorporated as a limited company in 2007. The company sells both new and pre-owned watches and jewelry.
- Policies: Iconic Watches offers a certificate of authenticity on all of its products. Some of Iconic Watches’ products come with the manufacturer’s warranty; others are covered by the company’s own warranty. The company’s warranty policy covers the movement of the watch for up to two years. It does not cover repairs in-house nor arrange for repairs by the manufacturer. The warranty does not cover damage or wear and tear. Most items can be returned within 14 days if unused and in the original packaging. Returns may be subject to a restocking fee. The customer pays return shipping unless the product is faulty or not as described.
- Ratings: Iconic Watches has a 4.89 rating on Reviews.co.uk. And it has a five-star rating on Trustpilot — but there is a note on the company’s profile that it may have violated the Trustpilot guidelines by inviting only satisfied customers to leave a review. It is, however, mentioned on Watchuseek and Rolex Forums as having a solid reputation.
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.