We all know that China is the land where affordable things are made, sometimes with excellent quality. But what about watches? Can you get cheap watches directly from China?
You can get cheap watches directly from China, with a credit card. You can get great homages, blank OEM watches or Chinese watches such as from Seagull. Just shop at platforms such as Aliexpress, Alibaba or directly from the websites of Chinese watchmakers.
What watches can you get directly from China?
When shopping for watches from China, you could probably draw the most value by buying three types of watches. Homage, blank and Chinese watches.
We do not recommend other types of watches as the savings are not significant enough to justify the tradeoffs.
We have discussed the pros and cons of buying watches from popular foreign destinations like Hong Kong, Dubai, and Switzerland. If this is something you are interested in, feel free to check them out.
Homage watches are watches that are inspired by an original, usually iconic timepiece. A homage watch will look similar but not claim to be the same as the original.
This made homages different from imitation watches.
Many Chinese watchmaking companies specialize in making homage watches; some are surprisingly good in quality. The prices are very affordable too compared to the watch’s specs.
For example, Loreo and San Martin make excellent homages to the Rolex Submariner, while Cadisen makes good homages to the Rolex Datejust. Companies such as Pagani Design and Duka are good homage companies too.
You can shop for these homages directly from China. Just google up their website, and you should be good to go.
ALSO READ: The Truth About Homage Watches
Blank watches are generic watches that have no branding or trademarks on them.
Many watch factories in China take orders from international watch companies. At times, they manufacture extra to sell as blanks. The watches could be very similar to the original, just that it does not have the brand on it.
A quick search in Alibaba is all it takes, and you will see the number of blank watches that look similar to minimalist designs from companies such as Daniel Wellington or Nordgreen.
You can order these blank watches if you are entrepreneurial-minded and then have your logo/brand printed on them. You can then import these watches to where you live and sell them directly.
There are also people that order these blank watches, print or engrave certain messages and use them as gifts – weddings, company swags, etc.
Local Chinese Watches
Chinese watches are a unique, unexplored market not many in the West know, similar to Russian watches.
Seagull watches are from China and are probably the most recognized Chinese watchmakers out there. A particular model from Seagull, the 1963 Chronograph FKJB, is gaining attention from watch enthusiasts and collectors in the West.
If you are keen to purchase one, you can do so directly from China. You might get a lower price since you undercut the middleman.
How to get cheap watches directly from China?
To get watches cheaply and directly from China, you will need to order online from some online platforms there.
Ordering online directly from China would be similar to purchasing products online from overseas.
The only difference is that China’s internet and eCommerce ecosystem is different compared to the US – there is no Amazon, Facebook, or even Google in China. And yes, everything is in Chinese language.
Where to shop for cheap watches directly from China?
This means you will need to know where to shop for cheap watches in China online.
Most eCommerce platforms in China are in the Chinese language, which means you might struggle to use them.
Even if you are proficient in Chinese, you might not be able to make payments, as these local platforms do not accept international credit cards.
However, there are some platforms that cater to international buyers, and they are in English. Here are three for you to try out:
You might have heard of Alibaba, a platform that connects Chinese manufacturers with outside importers.
You will enjoy Alibaba if you are looking for blank watches, or if you are looking to import cheap watches to sell at home.
The platform operates in English, and you will be able to ask questions, discuss the watches in English with the merchants. They also accept major credit cards such as Visa or Mastercard.
Aliexpress would be the equivalent to Alibaba, but more for retail. That means you can purchase a single unit or smaller quantity of products.
It is similar to Alibaba in that everything is in English, and you communicate with the merchant in English as well. Price of watches are in US Dollars.
Aliexpress would be a great place to hunt for homage watches.
Chinese Watchmaker’s Website
You can also buy directly from these watchmaker’s websites – such as Pagani Design, Loreo, Cadisen, or San Martin.
The good thing about buying directly from them is that you can get a better explanation of the specifications of the watches.
Some homage makers even give you the option to customize your watch, such as movements (Japanese/Swiss), bracelets types (oyster/jubilee). By buying direct, you can communicate with them directly over your choice.
These local watch shops tend to run on Shopify, and they accept major credit cards for international payments. Shipping might take from a week to a month, depending on cost and if there are delays.
Is it safe to shop for watches directly from China?
It is safe to shop for watches directly from China, provided that you shop at the right place. Platforms such as Alibaba or Aliexpress have a stringent policy to protect customers against fraud.
For Alibaba and Aliexpress, merchants do not receive your money until you have received the goods and are satisfied with the product. They will be holding the money instead, a system known as escrow.
If you are dissatisfied, you can always return the watch and get your money back. Merchant, in return, gets the goods back as well.
There is a little more risk for shopping from a Chinese watchmaker’s website as no escrow system exists. If you are concerned about this, you can always purchase Chinese watches directly from importers on Amazon.