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Old 28.03.2006, 11:58
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Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

I am starting this thread in response to a mail in the off-topic section. In streets such as Bahnhofstrasse we are surrounded by jewelers and the Swiss are renowned for spending disproportionate amounts on gold and watches. In fact many travellers come here to buy their choice of watch in a specialist Swiss shop to take advantage of a percieved favourable price difference. I know from experience that this advantage certainly exists in comparison to the UK, but what about within Switzerland. Where can I get my Schmuck from?

I am in the market for an upmarket watch. I have found that the best place purely on price and not including special sale pricing is to be found here

http://www.timeofswitzerland.com/home.cfm

Anybody know anywhere better?

Richard
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Old 28.03.2006, 12:17
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

I've assisted a few foreign friends of mine to buy watches, and during this process sought the advice of some experts (i.e. people who owned several obscenely expensive watches). This is the advice I was given:

Most expensive watches are actually manufactured by three major companies. In other words most of the "brands" out there focus on marketing their brand and distruibution, rather than actually making the watch. This news would naturally be of concern to someone about to part with large sums of money.

Now I have to be very careful how I say the next point to avoid any possible legal action... My friend (in his humble opinion) felt that the best example of this is Breitling. In the past they manufactured their own mechanisms to a very high standard. They build a brand based on this. Then they decided to cash in on their brand by switching to extremely inexpensive internal mechanisms and still charging high prices. The average consumer would never know the difference as they are buying the brand, and know nothing about the insides. My friend put this particular brand forward as the worst price/performance of all watches he knew.

However there are watches that are manufactured with passion and precision by the same company (i.e. no outsourcing), so it's not all bad news. But they don't come cheaply....

Now the next part (in answer to your question Richard) is where to buy. The advice I was given was to send people up and down Bahnhofstrasse to check out the retail shops there. I was told that they should speak English and say that they are tourists. In this way they would be able to negotiate a discount of 5%, and if they were really lucky 10% (in reality it ended up at 5%). I was told that if you were Swiss you'll never get away with this, so being a haggling foreigner will be forgiven, but being a haggling Swiss will not!

With regards to precious stones, especially diamonds, buyers should be aware that there are ethical issues attached to the purchase of these stones as they are often used to fund bloody conflicts. Buyers would be advised to check with the supplier and seek assurances (such as certifications) that the sourcing of their stones is done in a strictly ethical manner. It was reported in another thread by Carrie that Bucherer is one company in Switzerland that takes this issue seriously.

Tourists (which is probably very few of us) should also be aware that turning up with a pile of cash on Bahnhofstrasse on a Sunday will not do any good - since all the shops will be closed. The amusing thing is that this situation is almost never expected by a travelling tourist, who often travels on a weekend and Sunday is after all 50% of their weekend!
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Old 28.03.2006, 12:20
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

Richard - you might also want to point out that Schmuck = jewellery for the benefit of our friends on the "wrong" side of the Röstigraben and those who haven't yet come to terms with German
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Old 29.03.2006, 12:32
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

Hi Mark,

Yes you are partially correct, makes like Breitling, Tag Heuer, Montblanc don't make their own movements. That said they don't buy cheap stuff it is high quality Swiss movements that they then modify - hey not big style but they do things like add extra jewels, polish some plates etc. Typically they use Valjoux 7750 and 7751 movements that maybe cost CHF 50 per piece. They then add a "high value" case and strap some nice packaging and off you go the price is CHF 3000. Um - questionable morals? Don't know we are talking here about supply and demand - they sell it high and because there are people prepared to pay it they have a good business...

Companies that make the watches themselves ie don't buy movements in, are few and far between but they do exist. The prices are respectably (polite for very) high. Makes such as Frank Mueller is a good example. Then there are the grand complications which are almost always made by the supplier and can cost over CHF 500K yes this is no joke...

But given that I am buying a product where Service is not an issue - here I mean the manufacturer is often the only service route, I do not see why I should pay Bahnhofstrasse prices when I can get the self same product at a 25% discount elsewhere... Question is which elsewhere is best?
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Old 31.03.2006, 08:45
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

Hi Richard,

At the time I received that advice (about three to four years ago), I was told that Bahnhofstrasse (combined with the advice on negotiating 5-10%) was the best bet. I also enquired about whether cheap sources existed, but I was told that they didn't. Whether this is due to the manufacturers controlling the market with minimum prices, or simply caused by a lack of companies in the discount space, I don't know. It could be that things have changed since, but the fact that you are here asking about it rather than presenting the information leads me to believe that maybe the situation hasn't changed

Just as a side note. On an earlier off topic thread we were discussing whether one particular Swiss company sold conflict free diamonds. This morning I was checking out Swissinfo and found a story highlighting ethical problems in the industry. Apparently there are more issues going on than just the conflict diamond issue. Here's a small snippet:

Quote:
However, many jewellers are still not checking the origin of stones on purchase, according to a survey carried out by Amnesty International and Global Witness in 2004, which also covered Switzerland.

The two organisations are therefore recommending that people ask retailers about the origin of diamonds before they buy as a way of putting pressure on the industry.

Marc-Alain Christen, president of the Swiss Association of Jewellers and Goldsmiths, said that despite progress more work to raise awareness was needed.
This quote covered diamonds, but apparently there is issues connected to stone polishers in Asia and a few other things.

The original article can be found here.

Unfortunately it is often the case that both Swiss and foreigners living in Switzerland automatically assume that everything done in this country is done to a high standard and in line with strict ethical practices. Anyone who knows anything about the Swiss banking industry or who has followed the news for the last ten years knows that such as assumption is a little naive....

Therefore buyers of any jewellery would probably benefit from making themselves aware of the issues raised in that Swissinfo article.

Enjoy.
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Old 31.03.2006, 11:27
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

Hi Mark,

I am only aware of one place where you can get permanently low prices - as posted. That said apart from special offers you are talking about discount of 10% maybe 15%. Special offers tend to be last years models or cancelled order stuff. I was, still am, wondering where else you can get your watches discounted.

Here is an interesting Bahnhofstrasse jeweller tip. Many people in this forum seem to work for UBS or CS. Are you all aware that several of the jewellers on Bahnhofstrasse such as Bucherer and the other one with a hat on give you 10% discount on production of your work ID card! Oh and that is Swiss or foreigners!! And of course they are not intelligent enough to know the difference between external and internal employees...

As to your question or was it Carrie's about diamonds and whether they are ethical. I think there is a certain amount of discussion as to what ethical diamonds means because I would be of the opinion that anything bought from DeBeers is of questionable ethics and that is something like 95% of all diamonds... And I put a pound to a heap of shit that Bucherer buy their diamonds over Debeers...

Richard
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Old 02.04.2006, 06:31
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

The SIHH (Salon International de Haute Horlogerie) is coming up in Geneva this week! It's by invitation only, as far as I know, but there will be lots of buzz and you're sure to hear about upmarket watches.

There is a forum all about SIHH.

http://forums.timezone.com
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Old 27.06.2006, 23:36
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

A number of years ago I was in the market for a "good" watch. I shopped the stores on the Bahnhofstrasse and then through magazines and other periodicals I found out where these shops had other stores.

I found that Christ's has stores all over Suisse and I went to Neuchatel. I found a Maurice Lacroix solid gold automatic watch on sale for 1300 Sfr. It was a model that would have sold for 5900 Sfr had it been the current years model. It was 2 years old and because of the original price had not sold in Neuchatel. I suppose the stores buy the watches and can not return them.

As is was I returned the watch to Lacroix in Saignelegier a year later and was rewarded with a factory tour. The factory cleaned, timed and replaced the band and gave me a new one year warranty for 160 Sfr.

I don't think you could find a deal like this on the Bahnhofstrasse. Check out the remote stores in remote areas if you are looking for a brand and it is not a priority what watch model you buy. You might find a great deal like me. Also with the increase in the price of gold I've been offered quite a profit on the price I paid.

Something to consider especially if you live in Suisse and are not constrained by time or travel.
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Old 28.06.2006, 10:57
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

Hi Richard,

Did you end up getting a watch?

~ Nanda.
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Old 28.06.2006, 21:05
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

Hi Richard,

While I won't argue with you on your choice of sites for jewelry I tried to check your site but they wanted too much information before they will give you a price. It appears they want your data to diluge you with advertisement emails as many site do. Not my idea of a user friendly site.

Check out these sites. Althought they are not in Suisse you may find they and other of this type sell watches at very attractive prices. I don't know what duties or other obligations a Swiss might have upon entry into the country but they, if any, would have to be factored into the price.


www.overstock.com
Overstock sells approximately 100 brands of watches.

Classy and conservative, this handsome IWC Portofino Ultra Thin Men's Silver Watch is the perfect addition to a sophisticated wardrobe.

IWC Portofino Ultra Thin Men's Silver Watch
List Price:$7100.00Today's Price:$3949.99You Save:$3150.01 (44%)



Features include:
  • 18 carat white gold case
  • Black crocodile strap
  • White dial
  • Silver hand indicators
  • Silver index hour markers
  • Scratch resistant sapphire crystal
  • Mechanical manual-winding movement
  • Centre seconds with stop function
  • Water resistant up to 30 meters
  • 18 carat white gold pin tang clasp
  • Case width 32 mm (33.5 mm with crown)
  • Case length 37.5 mm with lugs
  • Case thickness 3 mm (5.25mm with protrusion at case back)
  • Bracelet width 18 mm
Similar discounts are available from www.smartbargains.com .

They are certainly worth a look for the saving you may get. And best of all you can view the sites and all their contents without filling out a single form.
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Old 21.12.2006, 17:49
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

So, if I read this thread correctly, 5% is obtainable on Bahnhofstrasse, fairly regularly?

After looking for a while, one shop offered my 5% discount without me asking for it.

Since then, when I was only looking, I am looking at buying two watches. (Combined total price of c6000Sfr)

Ideally, I think it's best for me to buy both at the same time in the same shop. There are, however, only 2 or 3 shops that stock both brands.

So... can I reasonabley expect to get 10% off?
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Old 21.12.2006, 21:58
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

Quote:
Hi Richard,

Did you end up getting a watch?

~ Nanda.
Hi Nanda, still looking...
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Old 22.12.2006, 05:49
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

To be honest I would surprised if any end-customer for jewels really cares about the source of it, and I would expect the individuals in the supply chain to pay lip-service to the concern over conflict diamonds. The stones represent capitalism in its rawest and most ugly sense.

How many Botoxed ladies are going to head out to Angola to see that no blood is being shed over her vanity ?

In my opinion a default premium will soon be charged (even if it isn't already) to cover the additional cost of "clean" diamonds,regardless of whether the procurement cost is higher, in the same way that environmentally friendly products are currently.

dave

Quote:
Hi Mark,

As to your question or was it Carrie's about diamonds and whether they are ethical. I think there is a certain amount of discussion as to what ethical diamonds means because I would be of the opinion that anything bought from DeBeers is of questionable ethics and that is something like 95% of all diamonds... And I put a pound to a heap of shit that Bucherer buy their diamonds over Debeers...

Richard
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Old 22.12.2006, 06:37
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

Quote:
To be honest I would surprised if any end-customer for jewels really cares about the source of it, and I would expect the individuals in the supply chain to pay lip-service to the concern over conflict diamonds. The stones represent capitalism in its rawest and most ugly sense.

How many Botoxed ladies are going to head out to Angola to see that no blood is being shed over her vanity ?

In my opinion a default premium will soon be charged (even if it isn't already) to cover the additional cost of "clean" diamonds,regardless of whether the procurement cost is higher, in the same way that environmentally friendly products are currently.

dave
DaveA, I cannot speak for botoxed women, but I know one thing...

People can learn something new everyday - that is the beauty of life!

We currently find ourselves in foie gras season. You can cut many an appetite just by showing someone a video of a goose getting funnel-fed, and then stumbling off to develop an over-fattened liver. For anyone who can sympathize with a mistreated goose, foie gras just won't ever taste as good as it did before they knew.

I consider myself lucky that I didn't grow up in a foie gras culture to begin with, so it's not like I have to give up one of my favorite foods to be politically correct! Giving up hamburgers (or meat in general) would be a whole different story!

People are sometimes just not aware of all the unfortunate things that go on in the world, but we do the best we can to stay informed. It was years after the purchase of my engagement ring that I even heard the words "conflict diamonds."

The ring cost us a pretty penny when we bought it 6 years ago - I can only hope that that meant default premiums were inclusive! That is what Bucherer assures, anyway.

What am I going to do with my engagement ring now that I know for some people "the stone represents capitalism in its rawest and most ugly sense?"

I'm going to cherish it forever! It's beautiful and the ring still symbolizes something precious to me.

Here's an idea...articles about conflict diamonds could be strategically placed in the waiting rooms of botox clinics.
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Old 22.12.2006, 06:49
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

My mistake. The post should have read "the trade in the stones represents capitalism...". The point I am making is that many people are hypnotised by the end product, and don't want to dispel that feeling from such a beautiful product.

Do you know how to value a diamond ? I don't. I am sure yours is worth at least a month of your fiance's salary . Can you tell the source of a diamond ? I can't do that either. But I do know how much a turkey and other commodities costs from various sources. So have some frame of reference for the premium I am expected to pay when I want to buy a humanely-reared lone free-ranger turkey. Its a value judgement.

dave



Quote:

What am I going to do with my engagement ring now that I know for some people "the stone represents capitalism in its rawest and most ugly sense?"

I'm going to cherish it forever! It's beautiful and the ring still symbolizes something precious to me.

Here's an idea...articles about conflict diamonds could be strategically placed in the waiting rooms of botox clinics.
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Old 22.12.2006, 06:54
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

DaveA...My heart feels so fluttery.....

I dare say that we have HUGGED IT OUT!
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Old 22.12.2006, 06:58
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

We're talking about a turkey ??
dave

Quote:
DaveA...My heart feels so fluttery.....

I dare say that we have HUGGED IT OUT!
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Old 22.12.2006, 07:16
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

NOT dispelling that magical feeling from such a beautiful product is generally the idea, though! The more enchanted people become by a product, the more likely they are to buy it! Of course we are reminded over and over again how beautiful diamonds are - jewellers want us to buy them!

My ring didn't cost my husband a month's salary (but it was close!). Some might even say I went easy on my him!

DeBeers used to say that a diamond engagement ring was the way "to make 2 months salary last a lifeteime."

See this interesting link to learn more about how American women have been commercially brainwashed into believing that engagement=diamond ring.

http://www.blacktable.com/bruno031030.htm
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Old 22.12.2006, 12:11
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

....um, thanks?.....
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Old 21.10.2007, 16:00
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Re: Where to buy "Schmuck" in Switzerland

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Typically they use Valjoux 7750 and 7751 movements that maybe cost CHF 50 per piece. They then add a "high value" case and strap some nice packaging and off you go the price is CHF 3000. Um - questionable morals?
True, apart from a few brands most source movements from ETA (ie Swatch group). The costs of developing and producing your own movements is prohibitive and a few pieces like the hairspring (ie the power plant) only have a few suppliers anyway (even Rolex buy in from from ETA). Zenith is probably the most affordable watch with own made movements including the El Primero although LVMH have pushed up the prices since they took over.

Your comment about the movements and value of the watch is unfair. The movement in a chronograph chronometer costs more like 300chf wholesale, while the case and strap and dial can cost as much for each component. Brands like TAG Heuer and Breitling actually make a fair margin compared to other luxury consumer goods, and I believe a lower margin than Rolex.

Watch snobs think the movement is all important, but most normal consumers are much more interested in the design and brand. Frankly, if you want accurate buy quartz anyway. Just like for cars... there arent many people left who look at the engine before buying a car.

Daniel
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