A recent promotion gave me the latest excuse I needed to go and buy yet another watch and to enjoy the shopping experience that goes along with it….at least for me. Putting the watch aside for a separate review, I want to stress what an advantage I think it is to cultivate a good relationship with a reputable jeweler and in the case of my authorized Rolex dealer, I have done just that.
For years, I had done business with one of the only authorized dealers left in Atlanta and though they were knowledgeable and polite, they were always a bit pretentious and they never made me as a customer feel special. If I bought a Rolex from them, I always left with the impression that they were doing me a favor in selling the watch to me and that they really didn’t care whether they ever saw me again. The purchase of a high-end watch should always feel like a special occasion and not like a trip to the dentist.
Last year, I visited an authorized dealer in another city and the difference was like night and day. Not only was the saleswoman outgoing and very unpretentious, she spent a lot of time showing me what was available and letting me try on anything I wanted. I found one that I liked a lot but wasn’t ready to commit just yet and I told her I would think about it. Even though I am sure they hear that a lot from people, she was completely understanding and told me if I had any questions to call the store. When I decided to purchase it, I went back but she wasn’t there. A salesman assisted me instead and I got the same treatment from him. I only found out after the new two-tone Submariner went home with me that he was the general manager of the store.
Since then, I have visited them many times and have gotten to know most of the sales staff and they all know me. I like to drop by a couple of times a month and see what has come in and they are always glad to see me and to show me what is new. Usually the store manager assists me but if he is not there, the other sales associates are always glad to spend time with me as I look at what they have in the case. You might think they are this way to me because I am a loyal customer but I have noticed that they treat everyone with the same courtesy and respect. It says a lot in my book.
Sometimes I might buy something like a small piece of jewelry for my wife; other times I might not buy anything at all or, like I did a few weeks ago, I bought a new Explorer and have yet to suffer any “buyer’s regret”. I look at it as a good investment but more than that, I enjoy the relationship with the store and the people who work there. They call me when something interesting comes in and recently, when the opportunity came up to purchase a good vintage Rolex from another source, I called the store manager and asked his opinion of whether the purchase price was a good deal or not. He was glad to help me to determine that the asking price was a little higher than it should be given the age, materials used and the lower desirability of that particular model.
I say all of this illustrate a point. There are a lot of people out there like me who love watches and who are not Donald Trump. If I want a new Rolex or a Breitling or an Omega, I have no problem with saving my money until I can purchase one or trading one in on something new and paying the difference. Someone asked me once why I would buy such an expensive watch, not being wealthy or possessing a large supply of disposable income. That is easy to answer.
Why do people who don’t have a lot of money to throw around buy things like motorcycles, ski boats or jet skis? Many of them cost a lot more than a number of Rolex watches for sale out there and they not only depreciate quickly but they require a lot of upkeep and service. A Rolex on the other hand holds its value and can actually increase in value over time. They usually only need upkeep and service once every several years. Sure, it may cost several hundred dollars but have you priced a major service on your car lately? You can wear a Rolex and enjoy it every day. You can’t wear a motorcycle or a boat and you can’t usually enjoy it every day, especially when the weather is bad.
I enjoy nice watches and having a reputable, authorized dealer who is knowledgeable and who treats all their customers well makes the sales part of it pleasant and the after-sales experience pretty much guarantees I will be back. I don’t expect to be treated like royalty-I just want to be treated with courtesy and with respect and I in turn will do the same.
The joy of owning a fine watch is tangible but the joy of having a trusted watch advisor increases that feeling that your purchase was a good choice. There is value in the relationship that goes both ways. A satisfied customer is a repeat customer and feels he gets more for the money spent than just the watch. A repeat customer keeps a dealer in business and enhances the reputation of the dealer’s business.
In some ways, a trusted relationship with an authorized dealer is like when you find a good family doctor-once you find one, hang on to them!