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Omega shopping in the Caribbean

  1. SantaCruz

    SantaCruz Jun 14, 2019

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    Hi guys
    I have just spent a week in this beautiful part of the world that is also known for its excellent duty free shopping.

    I thought I would post my experience here in the hope that some of you might do the same that have ventured this part of the world, whether you have purchased or not.

    I initially had planned a cruise to call at St Thomas. I had researched that this was probably the best place to purchase the particular Planet Ocean I was interested in, and make the best savings.
    I figured the money I would save on the watch would partially fund the trip.

    I made the decision to phone one of the top watch shops on the island, to make sure I would get near the savings I needed to make the trip a viable proposition. Especially to my partner, who I had to persuade to even get the plan off the ground in the first place!

    On talking to the manager it became apparent that I would be highly disappointed! The tax and duty free prices had not been even close to the savings I had expected.

    By this time I had my heart set on the cruise (not to mention my partner who had also become very keen on my plan). Not deterred, I set about trying to achieve a reasonable discount at home, in the UK. Any savings I made would go towards the holiday and I would have the advantage of having the watch on the start of the trip.

    Initially, visits to local ADs proved fruitless. None I visited moved on Omega’s retail prices.
    I hadn’t given up though, an AD I had last used over six years ago, near where I lived at the time, had given me reasonable discounts back then. So off I travelled 120 miles to the old AD.

    Success! A great discount was achieved that went towards paying close to half of the holiday cost and I had bagged a much loved Liquid Metal and ceramic 8900 PO.
    I was more than happy, as was my partner.
    The trouble was, when at the AD, I had also seen another PO that had caught my eye.
    In fact, at the time, is was real tough deciding which one I wished to part with my cash for.

    A6027B5E-6BE0-4342-96F0-769260F11109.jpeg

    Anyway, off we travelled to the wonderful Fla. USofA to catch the boat from the wonderful Royal Caribbean cruise line’s fleet.

    En route we passed through Heathrow Airport to discover that the duty free Omega prices had come short of the discount I had achieved at the AD. This made me feel rather pleased with myself.
    https://omegaforums.net/threads/heathrow-terminal-3.96098/

    To my amazement, when on board the ship, I quickly discovered there was a dedicated watch shop with a really nice selection of Omegas. I was like a kid in a sweet shop. Lol
    Importantly, it had the other model PO that had caught my eye from my original search.
    One of the sales assistants saw my interest in the particular watch. I asked the price and it came up at US retail minus, I think taxes. I told him that I had bought my watch cheaper in the UK, to which he replied that they would price match.
    Wow! If they could actually do this, I could potentially be getting another watch.
    For two days at sea I struggled with urges to phone home, get the receipt photographed and sent back to me, to take along to the shop. But no, I held fast and persuaded myself to at least wait until I got back home, in order to think about another purchase rationally.
    https://omegaforums.net/threads/vacation-with-benefits-edit-2-new-photos.96476/

    Day 3, St. Kitts.
    We had been on an excursion most of the day, taking in the wonders of this beautiful island.
    We arrived back at the port, rather tired, hot and with the effects of the days sun starting to take its toll. Here there was the bustle of hundreds of other cruise passengers hopping from one duty free shop to another.
    Making our way to the ship, I noticed one of the jewellery shops had an Omega sign above the door.
    I thought I could just nip in and see what they had to offer.

    This now brings me to the review;

    Colors Jewellers
    We had the most wonderful shopping experience here.
    For a start, the building was air conditioned. This gave us instant relief from the sun we had been out in all day.
    As soon as we started looking at the items (my partner at the diamonds and I at the Omegas) we were greeted by the brothers that run the shop, Bunty and Nick.
    They obviously spotted that we were a little exhausted and hot after our day trip. We were offered bottles of ice cold water, followed by large glasses of our preferred drinks of Rum and Coke and Gin and Tonics, on the rocks of course. I can say they went down an absolute treat!
    I might add at this stage that neither of us had any intention of buying anything.
    Nick was very knowledgable about the watches. He picked up on my interest too. We chatted for quite a while during which time he got out a few Seamasters that he noticed I was looking at. He invited me to try them all on to which I obliged.
    In the meantime, Bunty was at the diamond counter showing my partner around the diamond jewellery.
    Buy the time I had spotted the model of PO that had caught my eye, I was probably a couple of Rum and cokes down.
    Well, Nick used his sales charm well that day. As he was getting to work on me, I was quietly checking Omega’s website to see if the place was an AD. It was.
    He had obviously picked up on my desire to own this watch and there was no way he was going to let me leave the store without it. I mean this in the nicest possible way, of course. I must point out that I never felt pressurised at any time whist in the shop.

    My partner ended up buying a pair of one carat earrings, and I ended up purchasing the other PO I had fancied.
    This, after entering the store without the intention of buying anything.
    Yes they were impulse buys, but we were so happy with what we came away with and I had the best purchasing experience I have ever had at an Omega AD.
    If any of you good people are in St. Kitts, I thoroughly recommend this store. Friendly, knowledgeable owners, making you feel comfortable, a great selection of watches and jewellery.
    But beware! You might end up short of pocket due to the experience! Lol

    5726A482-D951-41A8-B27D-D2153DE6E0C2.jpeg
     
    Edited Jun 14, 2019
    Keef Richards, SpeedyD, OWa and 5 others like this.
  2. Ian_km

    Ian_km Jun 14, 2019

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    Good choice and a great story. Always nice to find a AD/OB that relates to you and gives a memorable experience!
     
    SantaCruz likes this.
  3. jpjsavage

    jpjsavage Jun 14, 2019

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    Fantastic story. Thanks for sharing. We are off to Barbados later this year. Anyone got any tips for the watch shopping in Bridgetown?
     
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  4. SantaCruz

    SantaCruz Jun 14, 2019

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    Very nice.
    As for tips, I’ve seen it posted many times. Research, set your price and be prepared to walk out the shop if it doesn’t feel right.
    Edit* Barbados would also be the place to get your Mount Gay XO rum. ;-)
     
    Edited Jun 14, 2019
  5. dabbispade

    dabbispade Jun 14, 2019

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    If only I could sell it to my wife that we need to go on a cruise in the Bahamas so I could buy a watch :D

    Congratulation on the watch - looks great!
     
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  6. SantaCruz

    SantaCruz Jun 14, 2019

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    It’s absolutely possible, believe me. :)
    My partner didn’t put up any resistance. She was sold almost immediately, especially as any discount would partially fund the trip.
    Mind you, that all goes out the window when you buy a second watch! Lol

    I was a little disappointed with the Omega Boutique in Nassau. It was smaller than I had been expecting.
    It’s supposed to be a good place to buy according to the RC ship’s shopping guide.
     
  7. ageage

    ageage Jun 14, 2019

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    great story and very nice writing! tumbs up!
     
    SantaCruz likes this.
  8. MrJKLFoams

    MrJKLFoams Jun 14, 2019

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    Congrats and great freebies as well.
     
    SantaCruz likes this.
  9. Clintos77

    Clintos77 Jun 14, 2019

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    Great stuff ...congratulations
     
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  10. Bushido

    Bushido Jun 14, 2019

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    Excellent story and congratulations on the second new PO!

    IMO the best part is that each time you put on one of the watch, or your partner the earrings, they will immediately be attached to memories of an awesome trip and experience.
     
    SantaCruz likes this.
  11. Dan S

    Dan S Jun 14, 2019

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    Very entertaining write up. I especially like the concept that one can fund a trip by buying something. ;)
     
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  12. rainking

    rainking Jun 14, 2019

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    Bwahahahahahaha that's all I could keep thinking. Reminds me of my dad. He's a lifelong avid fisherman. Whenever there's a sale on a good rod or reel, he seems to buy it even though he has enough fishing gear for about nine people. His logic is always, but it was a great price, I SAVED money LOL
     
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  13. Shay

    Shay Jun 14, 2019

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    Great Story :thumbsup:
     
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  14. Evitzee

    Evitzee Jun 14, 2019

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    It's usually women who trot home with five or six shoe boxes proudly stating how much money they saved by buying at the 'sale' price. This is the first time I've ever heard of a guy using this kind of tactic to fund a vacation and a watch purchase to their significant other.

    As a veteran of buying watches and jewelry in the Caribbean here are some of my experiences:
    1. KNOW YOUR PRICES BEFOREHAND AND SET YOUR LIMIT, not everything is a bargain. The ports with the larger number of visitors pouring off the cruise ships is indirectly proportional to how much savings you can score. The bigger the port the smaller the discount.
    2. I've found few bargains in St. Thomas over the years and as more and more of these mini-boutiques open up the good bargains are few and far between. They don't like to discount in general but some of the independent ones can be pushed if you try. Trident Jewelers is absolutely tops for diamond jewelry as far as selection and price is concerned, and good watch selection, too. Brands come and go there. Caution, if you go in to Trident with your wife, Alisha (owner's wife) will have you extracting your cc. over a new bauble for the missus.
    3. St. Marteen is a good place (Shiva's, Joe's Jewelry and Ballerina are good, and competitive). Hurricane hit them hard two years ago but they are recovering.
    4 Grand Cayman is so-so. Kirk Freeport is the biggest and has huge selection of watches, jewelry, glassware by the top makers but I could never get them to be really competitive. They are a big Rolex dealer and perhaps this sets their mentality. I also think the general clientele visiting there is above average (not as many cruise passengers as the ships have to tender here).
    5. Aruba is very competitive (also the most southerly port which means a 7 day cruise won't go there, you need 10 days+ to get a ship to stop at the ABCs (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao)). Little Europe, Shiva's cover most brands. There is an Omega AD and a Boutique....both offered 15% off US list price right out of the gate when I was there in December 2018. You could probably get one or two percent more if you really try.
    6. The BIG retailers (Diamonds International and Little Switzerland) cover most of the islands....big selections, nice facilities BUT they pay HUGE kickbacks to the cruise lines and hotels to be featured in local guides and promoted on board. I've found their discounts to be lower than average.

    Times are always changing so don't consider this set in stone, just my observations over many years. Some ports get lazy, some decide to get more competitive. And I have found many of the independent stores are run by a handful of families so you will find one store in Port A run by one brother, and Port B store run by another brother. There are no secrets in the age of the internet, everyone knows what the market price is.......but like many businesses in other parts of the world the goal is turnover, sell something even at a smaller profit than what a chain in the US would settle for. Those types of situations can get you a nice discount depending on their business load at the time. Be aggressive and negotiate.
     
    Edited Jun 14, 2019
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  15. SantaCruz

    SantaCruz Jun 14, 2019

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    LOL

    I should have started the story by saying that I was in the position to buy a watch first and foremost.
    This would have happened whether the holiday plan came about or not. :)
     
  16. Evitzee

    Evitzee Jun 14, 2019

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    Sure, we believe you, it was all part of the plan. :rolleyes:
     
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  17. rainking

    rainking Jun 14, 2019

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    Yeah, I assumed so, but it just sounded pretty funny LOL
     
  18. SantaCruz

    SantaCruz Jun 14, 2019

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    Great info and tips, just the sort I was hoping for.
    It seems you’re a well seasoned traveler to this part of the world.
     
    Edited Jun 14, 2019