Friday, January 14, 2011

Pre-owned watch shops : Hong Kong



Watches. Hong Kong. The two go hand in hand, much like me and Vacherons (vintage or modern, I’m not fussy. Jump hours would be good, though). It’s hard to go anywhere in this city without bumping into a watch shop of some description, whether it’s one of the many branches of City Chain, the plethora of shops in Central, TST and Causeway Bay, or a brand boutique (kudos to Vacheron, Omega and Franck Muller in Causeway Bay for being open at 11pm on New Years Eve).

The city loves its watches, whether it’s haute or hot pink.

When a watchnerd/ WIS visits Hong Kong, one question seems to always pop up – where are the pre-owned and vintage watch shops? Google searches and going through watch fora and blogs only brings up a dozen or so places, so I thought, on my recent trip there, that I’d try to compile as comprehensive a list as possible, as a resource.

In all cases, I visited each place to verify its existence, but I ran into problems with one or two places which a) had no opening hours; b) were never open when I walked past, even when I made repeated attempts at random times of the day. They did seem to exist in the sense of there being signage, and in one case, an online presence.

There are also a number of places that I have chosen not to include - the businesses which are ADs for a varying number of brands, but which seemed, inevitably, to have the anomaly of a small section of a window with Panerais and often Rolexes as well, but which do not appear to be ADs of either brand.

I have personally only purchased from two of these listed places, over the years, and I will identify them and give my personal experience. You will find certain brands dominating (Rolex, Panerai, Patek, Omega, Cartier), and the vintage/ modern quantity and proportions variable.  For all of these dealers, the usual caveat emptor applies.

There are almost 40 shops listed, so hopefully you can find something of interest in at least one of them.

CAUSEWAY BAY

Po Wan Loi Watch
G/F, 468 Lockhart Rd.
Causeway Bay
Open : Noon – 9pm


Tse’s Collection (website given as http://www.tsescollection.com but it does not work)
Shop A1, G/F, 441 Lockhart Rd.
Causeway Bay



TIN HAU

Ching Kwok Watch Service
G/F, 63A Electric Rd.
Tin Hau
(Tin Hau MTR)
I tried twice to visit this place, but it was closed on both occasions.


WANCHAI

Ken's Watches
Shop B5, G/F, 88 Lockhart Rd
(Wanchai MTR Exit C)
Two attempts to visit Ken's, but it was closed on each occasion.


CENTRAL

Time Galleria
Shop 30, Central Building (linked to Landmark Building)
1-5 Peddar St.
Central


Memory Watch & Accessories
2/F Landmark
Peddar St.
Central



Ken's Watches
Shop C2D3, G/F, China Insurance Group Building
141 Des Voeux Rd.
Central
(Sheung Wan MTR Station Exit E3)



Berne Horology
G/F, 180 Queen’s Rd.
Central



TSIM SHA TSUI (TST)

Pak Lee
4 Middle Rd.
(TST MTR Exit L1)



Far East Mansion (Arcade)
5-6 Middle Rd.
This arcade has three dealers, including the following, which I’d recommend visiting after 4pm, as he tends to open at around that time, and close around 11pm – midnight. The owner is John Lee and he is always up for a chat.

House Co.
Shop 32, G/F, Far East Mansion.


Tse’s Collection
4 Ichang St.
TST



Basement One – Holiday Inn Golden Mile Hotel
50 Nathan Rd.
TST
There are a number of dealers here including : Chronometer (the owner is the brother of Fredman SVW here in Sydney); Ka Shing Jewellers, V.Watch Collector and Perpetual Watch.



VIP Station
G/F., 41 Haiphong Rd.
TST
This is one of the chain of other ‘Stations’ (e.g. Milan) which sell ‘new’ pre-owned designer handbags, jewellery etc. The TST shop has watches.  They don’t really fall into the same category as the other stores, but I thought I’d include them for interest.


9maiali
Room 804A, Lee Wai Commercial Building
1-3A Hart Ave.
TST
(TST MTR Exit A2. Go to Humphreys Ave, turn into Hart Ave)



HMS Watches
G/ F, 8-12E Carnarvon Rd.
TST



Nice Watch Co.
Two doors down from HMS


Watch Bank Ookura
G/F, Shop 11, CFC Tower
22-28 Mody Rd.
TST
(opp K11 shopping mall)


Champagne Court
16 Kimberley Rd.
TST
There are half a dozen dealers here, including Ricky Antique Shop at Shop 9B, Union Watch, and Kwaiyan Watches. There are also a large number of camera shops (mostly vintage).






MONGKOK

Kwaiyan Watches
40 Dundas St.
Mongkok
(Mongkok MTR Exit E2)



Ken's Watches
Shop G5, G/F, CTMA Centre
1 Sai Yeung Choi St. South
Mongkok
(Mongkok MTR Exit E2)


Sino Centre
582-592 Nathan Rd.
There are a number of dealers here, and some shops selling new (low to mid range) watches as well. Mostly colourful fashion pieces.  The pre-owned dealers :
a) Noble Watch & Jewellery – Shop G12
b) Char Sam & Co. – Shop G9
c) Wahyan Watch – Shop G23 (open 2.30pm – 9pm) : NB this dealer was rather aggressive when I asked for his business card, demanding to know why I wanted it.
d) My Watch – Shop G30




Winfast Watch & Jewellery
G/F, 109 Sai Yee St.
Mongkok


Kings Watches
336 Portland St.
Mongkok



I have purchased watches from Berne Horology and Ricky Antique Shop. Each of the three bought from Berne (one for myself, two as gifts) required work (more than just servicing).  I have a friend who speaks well of Pak Lee and House Co and another friend who has purchased from 9Maiali with no difficulties. Other than that, I can’t give any concrete thoughts on any of the others.

Prices are not necessarily cheap, and there are definitely duplicates (even triplicates or more) across the shops, so it pays to shop around, and to have an idea of how much you are prepared to pay.

The dealers have been grouped geographically and in an order such that you can visit one after the other without having to go around in circles/ backtrack.

It’s probably best to spend at least two days wandering around these shops. One for the Hong Kong side, and one for the Kowloon side.

If I were to suggest how best to plan visits to these places, I’d probably suggest that in terms of the Kowloon side shops (TST/ Mongkok), start at Mongkok and then do TST in the afternoon – the Mongkok places seem to open at more regular hours than the TST ones, so you are unlikely to encounter the disappointment of late opening shops. 

If there are any dealers (and I'm sure that there must be) that I have left out, please leave their details in the 'comments' section and I'll add them to the list.

Happy hunting!



[AP]


23 Dec 2011 - If you're in Melbourne, here are some pre-owned watch shops you might wish to visit.

12 comments:

yygall said...

I'm told there are more in Macau, with excellent deals too...

Anonymous said...

Sterling work team - I can't wait to go :-) great post - Jpvfx

Anonymous said...

thanks for that . great guide

The Sydney Tarts said...

@yygall - do you know of any specific ones in Macau? I only read about some general remarks, but nothing specific. Perhaps I need to do Macau next time.

@JPVFX1 - thanks. It was fun, I wore through some (new) shoe leather this trip :) AP.

@aonymous - thank you. Hope you find it useful.

Cannalyzer said...

I second the advice to come to Macau. I live here and can confirm that 50% of all shops in Macau are pawn shops with a dazzling array of second hand watches including some unusual brands such as Roger Dubuis in addition to the standard Rolex, Patek et al.

The Sydney Tarts said...

@Cannalyzer - do you have any suggested shops (names, addresses, area)? I did a day trip to Macau but it was a bit rushed and I didn't get any opportunities to hunt down watches.

Cannalyzer said...

The place to find all the pawn shops is on the Macau side where the majority of the casinos are. I was exaggerating when I said 50% of shops are pawn shops but around the casino area there are more opening all the time and all you have to do is walk around any city block and you will find half a dozen easily.
Don't go further North than Grand Lisboa (although they are up there too), just walk down the lane behind the old Lisboa that leads to the Landmark Hotel, there is a large concentration of them in that area around each of the hotels such as Emperor, Beverly Plaza, Holiday Inn etc.
As they are pawn shops you really just have to try your luck and see what you can find on the day.

The Sydney Tarts said...

@Cannalyzer - thanks!

Kevin said...

Hi, I am looking for a SS Daytona and it seems like some of the shops mentioned in the guide has it. However, I have no idea if they are authentic. Can anyone give me some suggestions on if I should buy it here in Hong Kong or not? What are the chances that they are counterfeits etc? Thank you in advance.

The Sydney Tarts said...

Kevin - the old adage of "buy the seller" applies with pre-owned watches. I can't personally give you any guarantee about any of the watches in any of the shops and have only given opinions about ones I've dealt with or friends have dealt with. From memory, Pak Lee has a lot of Rolexes. If PL is one of them, I have two friends who have dealt with them with no problems. Good luck!

Marc said...

I was also happy with my deals with Pak Lee. Compared to other shops their price was more than fair, and the watches were in very good conditions.
I bought two Rolex there already and I would recommend that shop.

NickO said...

I had an hour to kill in Hong Kong this afternoon, and rather than stuff my face with dim sum (I can do that anytime) I spent the time browsing at the various watch dealers in Sino Centre (Nathan Rd, Mong Kok).

My overall impressions are that the stock was a little limited (unless you want a late model Rolex or Panerai) but the dealers were helpful, and happy to let me browse, try a few pieces on, and even click a pic or two (especially of a very cute Genta Donald Duck jump hour).

I can't really comment on prices - my rule is "don't start to haggle unless you're there to buy": a) it's not polite; b) you might end up owning something you don't really want - but the ticketed prices seem somewhere close to reasonable.

A worthwhile way to kill an hour or so.