Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Good and The Bad of Singapore watch hunting grounds

The purpose of this post is to keep the local folks (and potential WIS from other countries visiting Singapore) updated on watch-collector friendly hunting grounds and the not so recommended ones.

This is from my personal experience at the shops as a walk-in customer and are all based on real life encounters.

The Good Guys (in random no order of merit):

  1. King Wah Watch & Pen (level 1 Peninsula Plaza): Friendly folks (look for Andy); good discount (so no need to and cannot bargain) on a wide selection of Orient, Seiko, Citizen and Fortis. I have lost count on the number of watches I bought from Andy.

  2. Kwang Guan / Prestige Time (level 1 Bras Basah Complex): Friendly folks (look for Jack or Edwin); many new-old-stock Seiko and Citizen. You can find Sandoz, Tissot, Victorinox and Oris here also. I have bought a few new Seiko Automatic here at very very good price. Good after-sales service. Prices may not be very competitive if you compare with King Wah.

  3. Hing's Watch (level 1 Bras Basah Complex): Friendly folks (look for Jimmy); good selection of Orient, Citizen and Seiko. Also carries Oris and Fortis. So far, I have bought many new-old-stock Seiko quartz here. Superb after-sales service.

  4. Choy Hing (level 1 Bras Basah Complex): Friendly old man Mr. Lim. Sells lots of straps and bracelets cheap. Has vintage pre-owned watches. Do not bargain or low-ball here as Mr. Lim is very reasonable in his pricing. I have always like to come here to chat with old Mr. Lim and have bought vintages and straps here before. Mr. Lim's son, Joe, is also helping out at the shop, a friendly guy to chat with too.

  5. Nanking Watch Dealers (level 1 Peninsula Shopping Centre): Friendly folks (look for David) always ready to bring the watches out to show you and serve all customers drinks. Has many new-old-stock Seiko and Oris (I bought many here). Also carries Fortis, Titoni, Tag Heuer, Tissot and Rado. I am their regular customer for Seiko and Oris. Very good after-sales service.

  6. K2 Watch Co (level 3 Tg Katong Shopping Complex): Friendly watchmaker Mr. Goh is able to restore anything at unbelievable low price. Sells a few new Seiko and Casio at reasonable price. He sometimes has overhauled and restored pre-owned vintages for sale. You can try to bargain (a little) here. I bought many stuff here from vintage watches to straps. Good after-sales service.

  7. Excellent Watch Co (level 1 Funan IT Mall): Friendly folks (look for Mr. Sam). Wide selection of Sandoz, Tissot and Seiko. I bought a couple of Sandoz here before. Very good after-sales service.

  8. Watch Fashion (level 3 People's Park Complex): Many Seiko, Citizen and Orient here. Takes a little bargaining to get your target price but price is sometimes quite firm. The sales staff can be impolite and unpredictable often so always insists for their boss, Adrian.

  9. J W Horological Gallery (1 Pickering Street, Great Eastern Building): Very nice watches, mainly pre-owned Swiss Made. The price is very competitive and the service you get is top notch. I always look for John Wang and/or his missus Angeline. Bought several high end watches here, so shop with confidence. For local collectors, please note that JW is only open from 12:30pm. If you are eyeing a particular watch, you better head down to queue early to avoid disappointment. JW will not reserve or take in phone orders.

  10. Champion Time (level 1 The Bencoolen): Friendly folks (look for Eliz) always ready to bring the excellent condition pre-owned watches out to show you and serve all customers with a smile. Eliz is extremely knowledgeable in Horology and can give you a tip or two on watch buying and selling.

  11. Mustafa Centre (Serangoon Road): Massive range of grey market and AD Seiko, Citizen, Orient and many other mid-range brands. I have bought grey market watches here many times although all are at fixed prices. No after-sales service here so check properly before you pay.

The Unfriendly Guys (in random no order of demerit, but does it matter??):



  1. Goldenland Watch (level 1 Lucky Plaza): Many new-old-stock Seiko quartz here but all at out-of-this-world pricing. This shop sells all the watches at nett price so don't bother to bargain. Nice to look at the watches but do not buy here as the prices are inconsistent and out-of-sync with market. Friendly (at the start) people (depending on mood swings) but unfriendly pricing.

  2. House of Time (basement 1 Lucky Plaza): The watches here are beautiful from new-old-stock to current models, but the people not keen to bring them out to show you. I was told off by the old lady that if I intend to buy will she then take the watch out for me to see!? Friendly at the start but after the 3rd watch you ask about, she became hostile.

  3. Ang Mo Kio Watch (level 1 Thomson Plaza): Beautiful new-old-stock here but the folks here rather tell you the price range without taking the watches out. Unfriendly and not approachable at all.


So that's all for now.



Remember: You should always be happy when buying at a watch shop. If in any case you feel humiliated by the shop owners, you should put the watch down and walk away.


42 comments:

popcorn said...

Thanks for the detailed insight.
It's about time someone did this.
Maybe one day, i will have the opportunity to go watch hunting with you.
-D.Woo

Anonymous said...

You're right about House of Time. It has to be one of the worst watch shops i've stepped in to but i'd have to say King Wah Watch & Pen is no better.

I've tried to buy a Fortis from King Wah b4 without bargaining but was appalled by the guy's rudeness. It's sad to see this kind of retailers around.

Anonymous said...

King Wah (Andy), Heng Wah (bras basah level) and House of Times (lucky plaza B1) is under the same Cho-family. The unfriendly old lady is the mother. She was rude to me also but when angmoh goes in, she sucks up to them like king.

Anonymous said...

Yes! House of Time was a nightmare. Saw three potential watches I wanted, but baulked at price. Woman then started complaining that I took her away from her food to look at the watches. A joke of a shop.

Anonymous said...

Hi

I am coming to singapore in september and was looking to purchse a pre owned rolex oyster date, would you have any advice on where to go.

Dean

kohym said...

Dean,

Try contacting John of www.jwwatch.com.

Singapore has many 2nd hand watch shop selling rolex but in my opinion, none of them is as professional and customer-oriented than JW Watch.

ben said...

hi koyhm,
do you know what happened to King Wah Watch & Pen? Did they move?

Last time I went, the whole place changed and i forgot to notice if the shop name was the same.

kohym said...

the shop has just been renovated.

Michael said...

Hi Kohym,
I've been looking at the jw watch website as I'm heading to Singapore in November. Are their prices fixed or can you negotiate prices there?
Thanks
Michael.

kohym said...

Michael, can you email me on this? thanks.

Anonymous said...

Watch Fashion on level 3 of People's Park Complex also operates the www.Skywatches.com.sg internet shop. Interestingly, the lady there told me that she sold all skywatches items at the same internet price but would add 7% GST.

Anonymous said...

Priced a Seiko watch at Excellent Watches - asking full price no discount. Walked across the street to King Wah Watch & Pen where I got the same watch $800 cheaper.

Anonymous said...

Good guide. How come no mention of Jwatch, Passions and Champion Time. I found them to be ok as well. Jwatch 's John is perpetually busy one.

Anonymous said...

Hi

Any idea how much a seiko bellmatic would cost now in Singapore?

Thanks !

Selling My Rolex Watch said...

Your article will be very helpful! You're doin' God's work... Keep it up!

Budi said...

Hi, I m going to visit singapore on december/january, do u know where can i get samurai (Ti/SS) in singapore at reasonable price?

I m explore some hongkong famous shops and cant find any.. thanks :)

kohym said...

the Ti ones are discontinued and i bought mine over the Net. the SS ones sometimes can still be found at this group of shops called CityChain. but the price is way too high over market. it is better to source for one over the forums, good luck and hope u have a good stay in my country!

Jeffrey said...

Bought a Seiko Stargate from K2 at a good discount. Mr Goh was indeed very friendly. Thanks very much for your helpful blog.

Anonymous said...

House of time.... The old lady was rude..told me her watches are expensive when i ask her to show me a model. She said only if i buy it then she will take it out.

Anonymous said...

With info from your website, thought Choy Hing was my best bet to change standard rubber strap of a Citizen Pepsi NY2300 to a metal one. 20mm metal straps with covered end links for the unusual mold of the NY2300 are hard to find. Sure enough, even in a well-stocked shop like Mr Lim's there was only one (and it was the last one) which could possibly fit. Mr Lim Jr could not make it work but Lim Sr took over and with a few deft touches with his pliers, he made them fit pretty nicely (I will try to send you a picture via email). Again thanks for your helpful blog.

Ed.YEO said...

I would like to recommend WIN's United @ the Bencoolen for those who are hunting for CASIO, SEIKO, CITIZEN, as well as small numbers of niche brands such and SANDOZ, BULOVA, as well as ORIENT. Unfortunately, he had recently taking less stocks from the SWATCH Group due to the stiff pricing of SWATCH, TISSOT products. However, should you be interested to get anything by the SWATCH Group, let him know the specific model number. He maybe able to help.

Some of you may have come across negative reviews on one of their staff in hardwarezone forum, but rest assure the rest of the crew are not really so bad. Especially the person in charge himself, Vincent, or his wife... who would sometime make guest appearance in the store. You may bargain with him, on the price. Sales Services by the staff are generally ok, as they follow a guideline in giving discount. As for other extra after sales services, their price are quite reasonable.

To date i have bought numbers of watches from him.

Anonymous said...

I am thinking of purchasing a parallel import Seiko Chronograph watch from Mustafa. The price is much cheaper(i am a student) but no warranty. Some friends told me that Seiko watches even if parallel imported is ok but i am worried that i may end up buying a defected one.
Please advised. Thanks

kohym said...

Have you checked shops like Watch Fashion, King Wah, Kwang Guan etc? Having a warranty is very impt, in my opinion, for a quartz watch as electronics parts are involved. You never know when they may fail and if it (touch wood) within the first year, you are covered. I am not so worried for mech watches without warranty as many shops should be able to service.

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your advise.I will check out the stores you've mentioned.

However, i am not shy to say my budget is between 100-150 and I can only find Seiko Chronograph watches in Mustafa at that price range.
Can i ask your opinions on what to look out for when buying seiko watches from cheap source like Mustafa?

Thanks in advance!

kohym said...

make sure the chrono starts stops and resets well. make sure date change over 12am is ok.

this is what i will do at least, good luck!

KeithL said...

Hi,
I am wandering whether Sandoz automatic diver watches is easily available throught singapore cos in Malaysia you can hardly find it.
Any help on best place to buy and bargain. I'm only interested on any submariner with ETA movement.
Thanks for the help.

Keith

kohym said...

Keith, SANDOZ is readily available at the following places:

1- Funan IT mali level 1 Excellent Watch Co
2- Bras Basah Complex level 1 Kwang Guan.
3 -Mustafa Centre (fixed price)

good luck!

Edwin said...

Don't go to King Wah. Bought a few watches from him but I swore I'm not going there again. Things are rosy, prices are good when the watches are working. He pushes away all the responsibilities to the distributor when it's not. Send in my watch to his shop so that it can get repaired. Went back time after time to check on the status n was told its at the dustributor. Got it back three months later without anything fixed. Was damn angry and went down to distributor and realised the watch wasnt sent in at all. True blue liar behind the honest face. It's either him or the distributor telling lies but in the end, distributor spoke to him and he hung up the phone. Distributor was nice to repair everything for me for free and told me they stopped supplying him watches a few months ago due to bad experience. Final word - go for the other shops, condemn andy from King Wah. Thinking if I should write a report to CASE. I hate dishonest sales pp.

kohym said...

Edwin, I agree with you and I am sure some watch hobbyists had the same bad experience, myself inclusive. Some ADs did not have good words to speak of him too :) Andy is too much a sales guy and is poor in service and after-sales.

I only buy from him on a need-to basis but I know if something fails, too bad for me.

Good luck and keep loving watches!

Anonymous said...

I personally would not recommend kwang guan/prestige time at bras basah. Yes, the lady boss(?) at prestige time was very helpful and friendly when I bought a watch there last year but even then I noticed the other staff (young kids, family members?) were sitting around and uninterested in attending to me or anyone.

When I recently went to look for a specific watch, the lady boss was apparently busy and an elderly lady politely attended to me. When I enquired about the specific model I wanted, she referred me to one of those kids who gave me an "it's all there" type of reply. Shortly after, she was standing next to a couple who were browsing in the shop. Looks like my business is not wanted. I could have asked them again but people who aren't hungry for business don't deserve it.

wpg said...

Kohym, has King Wah move or close done? Their number is not working. Is Sky Watches reliable when their watches are parallel imported and warranty by their?

kohym said...

KW has moved to Peninsula Shopping centre , across the road from Plaza. I think they have changed name.

Sky watches ok. In fact parallel import watches are generally ok (Mustafa sells a lot). For a mechanical watches, I am ok with no warranty. But for quartz, better to get one with warranty :)

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Hi, may I know which shop sells the cheapest? I went to king wah and they offer like 40% off on watches. Wanted to get a Hugo boss watch but always no stock.. Thanks.

jai said...

Hi,

Albert Complex used to be a watch haven with many watch shops and options and good prices, before OG took over.

Any idea where these shops went?

Prices were very good and many brand options too!


rgds
jai

e-mail: rjsimman@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

King Wah now called ACube Timeless.
Peninsula Shopping Ctr #01-03.
Tel 68371408.

Same old Andy and wife.

Anonymous said...

Don't go to Hing's Watch and Pen. My family used to patronize them for their competitive prices and good service. However, the service quality has changed tremendously and I have no idea why. I went to get a battery change recently and had a very horrible experience with a very rude staff. She (Jannie Eu) not only did a very shoddy job out of a simple battery change, left plenty of scratches on my watch, and was extremely rude.

While I understand that battery changes sometimes causes minor scratches in the watch back especially at the grooves where the back cover gets unscrewed, these scratches on my watch were not at the grooves but all over the sides of the grooves and the sides of the watch. This is caused because the watch was not properly placed and set on the machine during the unscrewing and screwing motion.

When I asked why it wasn't done properly, Jannie Eu brushed it off with a 'it is like that so what if I caused the scratches' response. She even challenged me to contact the boss to lodge a complain.

Such poor a service attitude! If apathy is now hing's policy, we should all spread the news to families, colleagues and friends to stop patronising the shop.

Faith said...

Hi,

I am looking to buy a seiko quartz moonphase watch, the kind that was made in the 1980s. Do you know which shop in Singapore I would be able to purchase it from?

Thanks so much!

_The Incredible Hong said...

Funny thing about my encounter is, I stumbled upon this blog when I was looking for seiko shops to patronize. I read the recommended list but not the unfriendly list. And just after I had a horrible hardsold experience at house of times by the ah ma, I stumbled upon this blog again and read the whole thing.

I was looking for the best price around sg for my seiko monster and house of times was the fourth shop I asked. I interrupted the ah ma's lunch and she use that as leverage to hard sell me. I could have walked away but eventually I bought it when she offered me the best price I have researched so far. The only shop I have not visited was KW and I dropped by KG@bras basah before.

I was intending to buy from them as the staff there seemed friendly and I have heard good reviews of their after sales service. I got my monster after the price she offered was $20 lesser than what KG offered. Now the only way to console myself is that I got a good deal even though I'll probably never return there again. In hindsight, I should have gone with KG and pay the extra $20 for the pleasant experience and after sales service =/

Anonymous said...

hi do you knw whre i might be able to find seiko titanium sapphire watches?

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Anonymous said...

Andy from King Wah (Acube Timeless) may look honest. But after sales is lousy. Gave a lot of excuses and I have to make police reports. He claimed that he quarreled with his technician and his relationship with wife is broke.
As much as I hope to believe him, please dont be conned by his 'honest' face.

Anonymous said...

Yup I absolutely agreed with u.Some retailers r a pissed off.I recalled an bad incident when I sent my watch to change batteries at chew cheong watch in Shaw centre (they went bust & closed!),the attitude of the old man in the shop was very hostile.Now they r back at Shaw centre again selling turbotech watches!As they was being liquidated,they r now called seasons watch!!Very BAD service indeed.