Are watches cheaper in Switzerland?

Euan Robb

For decades, Switzerland has been synonymous with luxury watches. But if you're considering making a Swiss watch purchase, the burning question might be, "are watches genuinely cheaper in Switzerland than elsewhere, especially the UK?"

In this article, we unravel this age-old myth and offer some pointers for potential buyers. Plus, discover how Equals Money can simplify your international payments.

About Equals Money

The appeal of the Swiss watch

Before diving into pricing, let’s appreciate the allure of the Swiss watch. Swiss watches are renowned for their craftsmanship, precision, and heritage. Brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Omega have positioned Switzerland as the watchmaking capital of the world. However, does this reputation translate into better prices for the discerning buyer?

1. The price factor

In truth, watches can be somewhat cheaper in Switzerland. But, the price difference isn't necessarily as vast as some might expect:

  • VAT refunds: Tourists can claim back the Value Added Tax (VAT) on purchases when they leave the country. This makes watches more affordable, but the process can be tedious.
  • Direct-from-manufacturer: Being closer to the production source may mean fewer middlemen, potentially lowering the cost.
  • Currency strength: Currency exchange rates play a crucial role. For instance, if the British pound is strong against the Swiss Franc, this could mean better deals for UK tourists.

2. Warranty & authenticity

Buying directly from Switzerland ensures you're getting an authentic product, often with international warranties. This peace of mind can be invaluable.

3. Limited editions & exclusives

Switzerland occasionally offers models that aren't readily available elsewhere. If you’re a collector, buying in Switzerland might be the only way to snag a rare piece.

4. The experience

For many, buying a watch in Switzerland isn’t just about price. It’s about the experience. Touring the watch's birthplace and maybe even the manufacturing unit offers a unique thrill.

But what about the foreign exchange factor?

The savings you might get from purchasing a watch in Switzerland can quickly erode if you don’t get a favourable exchange rate or if your bank charges exorbitant fees for international transactions.

This is where Equals Money comes in. When planning your Swiss watch purchase, consider using Equals Money’s international payments service:

  • Great rates: We offer competitive exchange rates for over 140 different currencies, including Swiss franc, ensuring you get the most out of every transaction.
  • Faster settlements: With same-day and next-working-day transfers, we make sure your funds reach their destination quickly and securely.
  • Payment solutions: Equals Money offers payment solutions such as forward contracts that enable you to fix a current exchange rate for a payment or transfer up to 24 months in advance. This allows you to know in advance how much a watch purchase will cost you in GBP and will allow you to effectively define your budget.* You are committed to the rate you’ve booked regardless of how it moves after the fact, presenting a potential disadvantage in choosing a forward contract. However, many looking to make large purchases abroad find the stability offered by a forward contract outweighs this disadvantage.
  • Seamless transactions: Our platform is user-friendly, ensuring your international payments are smooth and hassle-free.


While there are savings to be had buying a watch in Switzerland, they vary based on several factors. It's essential to consider all costs involved, including foreign exchange. By pairing your Swiss watch purchase with Equals Money's top-notch services, you can ensure your investment is sound both in terms of quality and financial sense.

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*Equals Money can only offer forward contracts to facilitate payments for goods and services.

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