UK Swiss Watch Sales Spring 2020: Top Picks, Best Bargains

Time for a Spring Watch Sale with huge reductions? Definitely, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if H Samuel, Beaverbrooks, Chisholm Hunter or Goldsmiths suffered a collapse into administration later this year given the carnage that is unfolding on UK High Streets.  Swiss manufactuers are ramping up their online sales direct to the consumer so many will ask the question later this summer, `do we actually need all these High St dealerships?’

We are also entering a three year long recession, because millions of people in the UK are going to lose their jobs – forever. Taxes will also rise this November to pay for the `free’ money that is being helicoptered into the UK economy to keep people from losing their houses or flats, leased cars etc. That means less disposable income for jewellery and watches, higher food, fuel and other utility costs, new green taxes, more Council Tax rises etc. You get the picture.

So if you’re in the mood to buy a prestige Swiss watch right now, drive a hard bargain and remember that the long established jeweller you are buying from might not be around to honour the warranty next year. Be lucky.

Here’s our top picks online;

H Samuel

Annoyed I missed the Samuel Sale as they were giving away Seiko 5 automatics for £59.99. Everything else that is auto/mech is sold out, so unless you want a mainstream fashion quartz forget it.

Ernest Jones

Sister company to Samuels, EJ has the Alpina Startimer Pilot in carbon black, with a grey dial and 44mm case, at £700, which isn’t too bad. Alpina claim they use an in-house movement but it is based on the Sellita SW200 and that is a fairly steep price for a movement that’s generic you might say. Again, the nice Seikos have been snapped up and even the Timex mech models have sold out, but given they have a Miyota movement in there and cost just £85, you can’t blame the bargain hunters.

A TAG Heuer Carrera Cal 02 at £4600 is a hefty saving on the RRP, and it’s nice to see one with the blue accents on the sub-dial. It’s a sporty TAG, that might not ever be truly collectible, but will take a lifetime of use – with regular servicing – without too much trouble. There is a downside however, which is this watch has a ceramic case – I hate wearing watches made from pottery, they crack too easily, and I have no idea why TAG chose to make a sporty watch with a rubber strap out of ceramic materials. Too fragile, end of story.

If you have nearly 5K to spend I would say buy a pre-owned Heuer chronograph instead. Better chance of holding its value over the next 5 years by a long chalk, although you have all the problems of authenticity and no guarantee to contend with with vintage 60s/70s watches.


No Sale on, many watches on the website listed as being unavailable.

Chisholm Hunter

Over a grand off a Zenith Cronometro Flyback is a bit of a tasty treat if you like retro style aviator watches, with that famous El Primero movement inside the case. Priced at £5,184 the Zenith has the see-thru caseback, lovely nubuck green strap and you have to guess that it will hold a fair percentage of its value long term, which some automatic chronograph models from other brands like Montblanc, Rado or Baume & Mercier fail to do – at least in the UK. I have worked in watches and jewellery for six years and nobody has EVER asked me, ‘can you find me a nice Baume & Mercier, Montblanc or Rado?’

Fraser Hart

Big watch Sale on right now, but 18-20% off a Nomos Glashutte model doesn’t do it for me. These minimalist German watches are definitely an acquired taste and frankly, they don’t look like two grand on the wrist, which I feel is their big marketing weakness.

A Tissot chronograph with three sub-sec dials and a chunky brown leather strap for £250 is  very good value indeed. my feeling is that this is a quartz model, but the info on the website is incorrect – wouldn’t be the first time.

OK, a Bell & Ross watch isn’t everyone’s cup of Bovril, but I like the vintage Garde-Cotes colour combo of grey dial with orange markings around the edge. It looks modern and vintage at the same time. A sapphire crystal, good water resistance, 41mm case size all make this a great wear-it-anywhere watch. On the downside, it uses a modded Sellita SW300 movement, which is nice, but you can get something more interesting – an more of an investment – for £2600 if you have the budget. Tudor Black Bay springs to mind.




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