UK import duty on watches from the USA: A comprehensive guide

Euan Robb


Are you an aficionado of fine watches or a retailer in the UK considering importing watches from the USA? Understanding the nuances of UK import duty on these luxury items is crucial for a seamless transaction.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore everything you need to know about UK import duties on watches from the USA, and how Equals Money can be your ally in managing international payments efficiently.

About Equals Money

Understanding UK import duty on watches

What is import duty?

Import duty is a tax imposed by governments on goods purchased from overseas. In the UK, this duty is calculated based on the type, value, and origin of the imported goods.

Calculating import duty on watches

When importing watches from the USA to the UK, the duty rate can vary. It's typically calculated as a percentage of the total value of the imported item, including the cost, insurance, and freight (CIF). Keep in mind that luxury watches may attract higher duty rates due to their value.

VAT on imported watches

In addition to import duty, Value Added Tax (VAT) is also levied on watches imported into the UK. VAT is calculated on the total cost of the watch, including the purchase price, import duty, and any additional shipping and insurance costs.

Step-by-step guide to importing watches from the USA

  1. Research: Understand the specific type of watch you're importing and its eligibility for import into the UK.
  2. Calculate costs: Use online vat calculators or consult with a customs expert to estimate the total import duty and VAT.
  3. Choose a reliable shipping service: Opt for a shipping service that offers insurance and tracking for high-value items like watches.
  4. Customs declaration: Accurately declare the watch's value and type on the customs declaration form to avoid delays.
  5. Payment of duties and taxes: Be prepared to pay the calculated import duty and VAT upon the watch's arrival in the UK.

Why choose Equals Money for your international payments?

Efficient transactions

Equals Money offers a streamlined and efficient platform for managing international payments. Whether you're paying for a single luxury watch or a bulk order, our system ensures quick settlements, with same-day and next-working-day payments.

Competitive exchange rates

We understand the importance of favourable exchange rates in international trade. Equals Money offers competitive rates, helping you get more out of each transaction.

Expert support

Our team of experts is always ready to assist you with any queries related to international payments and currency exchange, making the process simple and hassle-free.

Tailored solutions

Currency exchange rates fluctuate constantly, and this can impact the amount you will pay for a luxury watch in GBP. Equals Money offers payment solutions such as forward contracts that allow you to fix a current exchange rate for a payment or transfer up to 24 months in advance.

This lets you know in advance how much your purchase will cost you in GBP and allows you to budget effectively.* 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 purchase luxury goods abroad find the stability offered by a forward contract outweighs this disadvantage.

The role of Equals Money in your import journey

  1. Pre-purchase currency exchange: With Equals Money, you can exchange currency before making a purchase via forward contracts, securing a favourable rate and reducing the impact of currency fluctuations.*
  2. Simplified payments to USA sellers: Our platform facilitates easy and quick payments to sellers in the USA, streamlining the purchasing process.
  3. Expert guidance: Our team of in-house experts are always on hand to guide you through the process and answer any queries.


Importing watches from the USA to the UK involves understanding and managing several aspects, including import duties, VAT, and efficient international payments. With Equals Money, you can navigate these complexities with ease, ensuring a simple and hassle-free import process.

Whether you're a collector or a retailer, having a clear understanding of UK import duties on watches and partnering with Equals Money for your international payments can save any potential headaches.

International payments

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

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