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How To Buy Watches Wholesale In Bulk

How to buy watches for wholesale in bulk

Today I’ll show you how to buy watches for wholesale in bulk step by step.

If you are running a private label watch company or working as a watch purchasing manager, you will love this guide.

In this guide, you will learn the whole processes of importing watches from Chinese watch manufacturers to your own country. The process include:

  • Sourcing watch manufacturers in China
  • Identify reliable watch supplier
  • Tricks for negotiating with your supplier
  • Lots of attention points and more

In general, most of people who order watches from China in bulk often custom watches with their private label.

And they usually look for a custom watch manufacturer to cooperate with and produce according to their design or their samples.


Chapter 1:

Figure Out Your Purchasing Plan

Before you build a skyscaper, you should create a blueprint first. A blueprint is a navigator which guides you to your goal directly.

Making a purchasing plan means all your purchasing activities will be executed that target your final goal.

You will go through these following steps to make a valuable purchasing plan:

Step #1 Popular watch designs research

Step #2 Market demand research

Step #3 Make a budget and an order list

You are confused with these steps? Let’s dive into the details of each step.

Step #1 Popular Watch Designs Research

People often goes after fashion trend, popular watch designs can take you more clients.

You can check the most expensive wristwatches sold at auction, figure out their unique features. For example, Watch Nerd reported the 10 most expensive wristwatches sold at auction in 2019.

10 Most Expensive Wristwatches Sold At Auction

These watches represent people’s taste of the year and we can find that  most of them contain calenders.

So calender is an important feature that you should add to your watches design.

Another way to find the popluar designs is to check the new designs of the industry leaders.

For example, Rolex release their new designs every year, and they invest a lot on designs and customer’s fashion behaviour. You can find their 2019 newest designs on Rolex Official website:

The last method to find the popular watch designs to visit the crowdfunding website, such as Indiegogo, Kickstarter.

For example, you can search “Watches” on Indeigogo’s search bar and you will find lots of  watches crowdfunding compaigns:

Check each of the funding compaigns and you can see their raised funding amount. The more funding amount they raised, the more interest people like their watch designs. For example, Michael Galarza raised 174,558 for his compaign though his target crowdfunding amount is 10,000 USD.

Step #2 Market Demand Research

Research your market demand and get to know the market volume since you would like to play in the tank that contains lot of fishes.

To do market demand research for watches, you can check the watches market report to know the whole market trend from data anlysis.

For example, Grand View Research release the 2015-2025 luxury watch market report on July, 2019.

Luxury watch market report

Another way to check the market demand is to get search trend in Google trend.

For example, when you search ” Mechanical watches” on Google Trend, you can see the interest is rising in general and the top interest countries in the world are Singapore, United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada.

These are the important information to ensure you are working in the right direction.

Further more, Amazon is a good place to know everage customer’s demand as well, check the review amount. More reviews represent more sales amount.

Check people’s comment on the watches, either positive comments or negative comments will offer you the useful insights.

From positive comments, you can learn the advantage of the watches that people like.  While from negative comments, you can know real buyers’ pain points and there is space for you to get improved during your design.

Once you know the popular trends and the market demand, it’s time to make your budget and figure out your order list now.

Step #3 Make A Budget and An Order List

A budget means how much money you would like to invest on your watches purchasing project.

To figure out your budget, you should know the average watch price, your target order quantity. If you are a grey hair purchasers in watch industry, you can be able to make your budget as specific as possible. Since you know the general cost of each watch part and add all the cost together with labor cost, manufacturer’s decent margin, the total cost would be an easy calculation work for you.

If you don’t know how to make a budget, this budget template plan can be a sample for you.

To make an order list, you should make a document which contain your design pictures (3D pictures, engineering pictures if you have), specification, order quantity of each model, warranty blanks to fill in.

The most import information in your order list are the specification and the order quantity, these 2 information can help your potential partners offer you the price list as soon as possible.

In general, the specification of the watches include the following indexes:

  • Case material (Stainless steel or Alloy or wood)
  • Types of watch movements
  • Dial requirement
  • Hands
  • Strap length, width and material
  • Buckle
  • Packaging
  • Other special requirements

The more information you provide in your order list, the less questions the sales reprenstitive would ask.

Once you have your order list, you have a navigator now. Your target is to finish the tasks in your order list.

The best part?

Here it is:

Chapter 2:

Sourcing The Watch Manufacturer Candidates

When it comes to source watch manufacturer candidates, you can find them online or through friends’ recommendations.

To find custom watch manufacturers online, you have several ways to find the reliable one.

Since China is the largest manufacturing countries in the world, there are lots of watch factories there and they produce different types of watches, such as mechanical watches, digital watches, Quartz watches. Most of Chinese watch manufacturers are located in Shenzhen, Foshan and Dongguan.

To find the Chinese private label watch manufacturer candidates, you can go to the following online platform:

  • Alibaba
  • Quora
  • Blog Post
  • Google Search
  • Linkedin

Don’t know how to use these platform to contact your target watch manufacturers?

Don’t worry, let’s go deeper.

Find Target Watch Suppliers On Alibaba

Alibaba is the largest B2B marketplace in the world and there are lots of Chinese manufacturers from almost every industry on it.

To find the right watch manufacturers that can be your candidates, you can search “custom mechanical watches” on Alibaba and select “ suppliers” before you hit search button:

From this only one keyword search, you can find 882 suppliers that supply mechanical watches, you can also filter your target suppliers according to categories, Top 3 markets, Total revenue, R&D, etc.. And you can also sort the suppliers by Best Match, Transaction Level, Response Rate.

We recommend you sort by response rate since these companies tend to offer better services to their clients.

Pick one watch supplier that seems to be legit and their watches seems the one you are looking for, just click their company name and you can see their main products, contact information and market region.

Change your keyword to Search on Alibaba and repeat this process.

Make a Google sheet and record the candidate’s company name, email address, telephone number and website, main products. And make sure the one you record in your document are meet your requirement. For example, the response rate is above 90%.

Once you have pick out 100 watch supplier candidates, contact them and send them your order list one by one. You can introduce about your background to offer people more trust.

Find Professional Watch Manufacturers on Quora

Quora is a gold mine to find helpful answers to your questions. And the answers on Quora were audited by the administrators, so the quality is good.

As a watch manufacturer, Quora often pop up a lot of questions that related to watch manufacturers. For example, people on Quora ask “How can I find private label watch manufacturer? You can see William Zeng in our company answered this questions and offered people the ways to find private label watch manufacturer and there are already 61 visitors checked the answer.

Search ” custom watch manufacturer” on Quora and check people’s answer and find the one who provide the professional answers

You can find their contact information or website by checking their profile. Add them to your candidate list in Google Sheet.

Find A Handful Of Private Label Watch Manufacturers On Blog Post

Many bloggers gathered some private label watch manufacturers and make a list on their blog. When we find people on Quora ask where to find private label watch manufacturers on Quora from time to time, we collect some reliable custom watch manufacturers and made the following watch manufacturer list to meet people’s needs.

You can find the watch manufacturer list by search in Google with the keyword ” watch manufacturer list”. Once you find the right resource, you can find a handful of watch manufacturers in a minute.

Find Custom Watch Manufacturers Through Google Search

To improve your work effiency to find custom watch manufacturers on Google, the most important part is preparing your keyword list before search.

Since you would like to make custom watches, the following search phrase can help you save more time:

  • Custom watch manufacturers in China
  • Private label watch manufacturer
  • Watch manufacturer list

For example, I want to find private label watch manufacturer in China to add to my watch manufacturer candidates, so I put ” private label watch manufacturers in China” and I find 2 results that I want.

Find OEM Watch Manufacturers on Linkedin

Since you are going to buy watches in bulk, so working with a legit company is very important for you. The watch manufacturer that you would like to cooperate with must have the ability to design, produce and research.

There is lots of B2B sellers hang out on Linkedin and they provide OEM watches services but they require MOQ (Minimum Order Quantity). For custom watches, you should already set your order quantity in your order list and your order quantity can meet the average watch supplier’s MOQ.

After getting a list of custom watch manufacturers candidates and their contact information, the next to negotiate with the manufactures and pick out the one that can make your watches and offer you a resonable price.

Chapter 3:

Negotiating With The Watch Manufacturers

Negotiation is the most important part in business. But there are strategies to negotiate with the watch suppliers.

You have to use different strategies during different period of time. We divided the negotiation into 3 period:

  • Order Feasibility Evaluation
  • Price Negotiation
  • Delivery & Shipping Solution Assessment

Here are the details:

During the order feasibility evaluation period, the suppliers may ask your more details about packaging, the unclear points of specification description. And they will also put out some new solutions with some changes on your specification because they have to produce according to their production ability and the manufacturing equipment limit.

If your specification is unique, and most of the watch suppliers have to make a new mold to produce your designs. In this case, most of the suppliers only accept your order if your order in bulk like 5,000 pieces or 10,000 pieces and pay for the mold fee.

To confirm if your supplier is honest with real production equipment, you can make a living video call with them and you can see if they have a clean factory, advanced production machine and active labor force.

You should also check if the company is legal or not. Ask for a copy of their Chinese company license and check their company page on website such as Linkedin, Facebook, Google,etc.. Talking with the sales representitive and compare it with their company description, then you can identify the truth.

Last but not least, you should pay attention on the service. The high response rate can take you good customer experience, but cooperating with honest, experienced watch suppliers can avoid lost.

During price evaluation, you will have to check all the price quoted from the watch manufacturer candidates. The price from all the watch manufacturer should be almost the same, the price gap should be less than 30%. If your find the price quoted from one to another has a gap of 50%, you should pay more attention and check more with the manufacturers to avoid any missing details or if they quoted totally based on your specification.

If one supplier offer you super low price, you should confirm more details with that manufacturer to avoid missing something.

I advise you write higher order quantity than the average MOQ in your order list before you sent to the watch manufacturer candidates, since you can get better price at the first quote and then adjust your order quantity to your target quantity and ask them to quote again.

In this way, you can get better price finally because you will infer the logic from the comparison of the 2 quotes .

And you can also compare the price with your target price that you calculate in your budget. Please do not forget to ask their last price.

And you should also pay attention to whether the price is FOB price or CIF price and if the price include the cost of the package. Confirm with them if the package is the exactly one that you required when they caluculate the cost.

During the shipping & delivery period, here will show you the experience of sales representitive and the green hand.

Experienced sales person will show you alternative solutions and their perious delivery experience. They also can offer you some information about custom clearance processes and attention points.

For example, watches usually can pack into a small carton and it is heavy in a box, and experienced sales will show you their packing method to protect the watches from damage during the shipping. They use thick carton with at least 5 layers and wrap the watches with bubble in easch small box and label the warning signal ” Fragile” on the carton.

Experienced sales person also recommend you safe shipping agent since there is small battery inside the watch, it requires MSDS certificate as the custom clearence file.

Chapter 4:

Pick Out Your Watch Supplier Partner

Picking the right watch manufacturer partner can make your order processes easier.

But what is the right watch manufacturer?

Firstly, that company should be legit, honest and professional.

For example, you can find their previous bill of lading on the website (Search”company name +”bill of lading” “on Google) means that company is legit.

Honest company show their real company to the public, they do not lie and they never exaggerate the truth.

For example, the company description on the website is much different from what the sales person talked. In this case, they may not honest.

Professional sales person is very familar with the watches specification and they speak in their language: terminology. And they know your pain points

For example, professional sales person know every watch part and they can even talk with you about the production technique, the material difference, the feasibility and better design advice, some even know your customer’s appetite in your market.

Secondly, the watch supplier offer you a resonable price.

Resonable price can ensure you share the profit with your partner.

Why we say the price should be reasonable? Not low price?

Low price is not often good thing since there are often quality problems. For example, the watch manufacturer who quoted you 50 USD/piece based on 500 pieces per design has a better movement than that one who quoted you 40 USD/piece based on 500 pieces per design.

High price means less margin or even lose cost for you. Some watch manufacturer often you the average quality watch but they add too much margin to themselves.

But how much is the price is reasonable?

That requires you be a professional watch purchasers. You can learn the following watch knowledges to become professional:

  • Watch parts(Watch movement, dial, material) and its general cost
  • Watches working principle
  • Different type of watches
  • General watch making process
  • Watch market trend
  • Other knowledge related to watches

Thirdly, right watch manufacturer can produce your watches with high quality.

Good watch manufacturer have the advanced machine to make new design and they also have the ability to design themselves and make the design into real products. And they have a process for your order and do things with a schedule.

Good watch manufacturer also know the importance of communications, they even discuss the obstacles and solutions with you during the process and you were also gained experience from this project.

You may not pick out the best watch manufacturer from one or two orders, but you can pick out the better one in the long run. With more orders, you will find that there is no perfect watch manufacturers since they have their own core competence respectively, there is best watch manufacturer that match your needs.

To pick out the best watch manufacturer that matches you well, you should figure out your core benefit in advance, ask yourself whether you would like to cooperate with a watch factory who pay attention more on watches quality or on customer service.

Target one goal can make your life easier and try to offer some good advice to improve each other.

Chapter 5:

Make A Production Schedule With Your Partner

Since the watch order is long time and complicated project. That means there is a lot of details that you should care about.

To make the things in an order and to avoid unpredictable mistakes , making a SOP ( Standard Operating Procedure) before doing anything. This will be your map.

Your schedule should contain the following parts:

  • Watches Design & Material prepare process and deadline
  • Watches production process and deadline
  • Shipping date
  • Potential obstacles and uncertain factors

For example, you partner tell you the turn around time is 90 days after receiving your deposit. You should figure out the general plan for the 90 days, or it would not deliver in time with aimless goal. But please confirm all the specification and requirements are correct before making a plan.

Your 90 day plan may like this:

Phasing material and Receive all the material — 30 days

Production Time — 45 days

Function Test -10 days

Packing And delivery –5 days

You can forecast the potential obstacles in each small plan and sometimes you should adjust your plan to improve the factory work effiency.

Changes may happen during each plan, so keep communications with the sales representitive and know the existed problems that stop their workers move forward. When there are problems, try to think in their position and try to find solutions.

Anyway, your schedule should be made based on reality. Never make crazy plans that is impossible to be executed.

Chapter 6:

Place Your Watch Order

Now you can place your order now. But there are a few thing you should pay attention to when place you watch order.

Get A Proforma Invoice 

The proform invoice must contain the following elements

  • Watch model number
  • Design picture
  • Order quantity
  • Specification
  • EXW price
  • Total Cost
  • Delivery time
  • Payment account
  • Contact information

The more details that on the proforma invoice, the more you can check and confirm for the order.

Let Sales Representitive Revise The Mistakes

Once you find the incorrect details,such as watch size, color, order quantity and you contact information, price and total cost, please let the sales representitive know and ask him or her to revise it and re-check if there were any mistakes or doubts for the watches order list.

You will have to check the revised inovice again and after you confirm all the details, just sign it and tell your partner that you confirm the order.

Get An Order Flow Chart 

An order flow chart is a flow chart that describes an order from start to finish.

Only professional watch manufacturers make an order blueprint for you without your request.

You can request the sales representitive to make an order blueprint and both of you will check the same “map” to follow the order.

Chapter 7:

Follow Your Watches Order

Following an order is a patience task in a period of time such as 3-4 months. You will have to pay attention to your email notifications and messages.

During this process,several things are important for you as follows:

Reply to Your Watch Supplier Timely

Since there are a lot of details for watches , and you may not consider some details in the first discussion. So your partner may send you some details to confirm, and the earlier you confirm it, the earlier they place order to their material suppliers. Your confirmation time would affect the following task, otherwise your partner would wait for your confirmation to do the next process.

Keep Communication With Merchandiser

Communication can help you find problems and obstacles as early as possible. The merchandiser will tell you the work status and the problems they met from the communication. You can also know more about the company after you make friends with the merchandiser.

Please remeber, you are not doing business, you are building relationship.

For example, do not only talk the boring work all the time, you can talk about the life, the hobby and family. These can help you know each other and find the suitable way to work together.

Be Careful On The Problems During The Production

I know you and your watch supplier try to avoid problems all the time and you hate problems. But things are changing, you still may not avoid some problems.

For example, when making the watch strap, you require to print your logo on a specific location of your watch strap. But when your watch manufacturer print out one or two pieces, they find the print location have an error difference at 0.3 cm on some strap even they adjust the machine.

In that case, your merchandiser will let you know the existed problems and ask if you accept the error difference. You should think carefully.

In my point of view, error difference can be accepted if it is reasonable. If it affects the quality of the watches and selling, you should ask for a new solution.

Chapter 8:

Figure Out Suitable Shipping Solution And Custom Clearence

Shipping is an essential part for all the importers. And many of you do not know about it since there is too much knowledge of this area, such as current customs policy, shipping cost regulations of different shipping company.

Watches is small and heavy, a small carton can hold hundreds pieces of watches.

In our experience, people who buy watches wholesale in bulk order thousands of watches in a time. That means several cartons can hold all the watches they ordered.

For watches, people often use the following shipping methods:

  • DHL
  • Fedex
  • Occean Shipping By Sea

Shipping Watches By DHL

DHL is fast but expensive international courier in the world. The DHL agent has their own cost calculate regulations.

For example, if you have a carton of watches which is 28KG, the carton dimension is 60CM(L) X 53CM(H) X 35CM(W).

Gross Weight= 28 KG

Volume Weight = 60 x 53 x 35 / 5000=22.26 KG

DHL choose the higher value between the gross weight and the volume weight.

In conclusion, DHL choose 28KG to calculate the shipping cost. Suppose the DHL shipping price to your country is 7.5 USD per KG, the shipping cost for this carton of watches is 28 x 7.5=210 USD

If there are 3 cartons of watches and their gross weight is more than their volume weight, their gross weight is 28.1 KG, 30.54KG, 32.75 KG.

DHL count the 3 cartons of watches as 28.5KG, 36KG,32 KG respectively. And they were thought as 3 different shipping orders with different tracking number.

DHL count one carton is a shipping order.

Shipping Watches By Fedex

Fedex is another international courier that many importers use. Fedex calculate the shipping cost differently from DHL.

For example, you have 3 cartons of watches, the gross weight are 28.25KG, 30.48 KG, 32.1KG respectively. And the volume weight is less than the gross weight.

Since Fedex count the same products in bulk as a shipping order.

Total gross weight: 28.25+30.48+32.1=90.83 KG

And Fedex counts 90.83 KG as 91 KG when calculating shipping cost.

Some couriers calculate 90.1 KG as 91 KG, that depends on the regulations of different companies.

Occean Shipping Watches By Sea

If you are not in a hurry to get your watch packages, occean shipping is the most cost effective shipping method.

But we recommend you only use occean shipping when you have other products to ship together, otherwise it will cost more and it is more complicated than courier shipping.

Here we do not introduce about occean shipping in detail since we rarely ship watches packages through occean shipping.

If you would like to know more details about shipping from China, you can check this guide.

Bonus Chapter

Helpful Tips For Buying Watches In Bulk

Safe Payment Ways To Chinese Watch Manufacturer

When it comes to international payment, safety was ignored by many importers and manufacturers. But scammers appeared every year.

There are several safe payment ways that most of the importers use when ordering from China.

  • Bank transfer
  • Western Union
  • Paypal

About Bank Transfer

Since you buy watches in bulk, so your total payment is usually more than 10,000 USD. In this case, bank transfer is the most safe payment way with low service charge.

But years of experience told us that you should call the sales representitive to confirm the bank account in the email before you send out payment. Since scammers may invade your partner’s email or your own email to modify the bank account to their own. If you missed to confirm with your partner, your money would transfer to the scammer’s bank account.

After your payment, please ask the bank how long it takes to reach the benificary’s account. And tell your partner to pay attention to their account and tell you once they receive the payment.

If you find you have paid to the scammer’s account, just call the bank and if the money is still on the way, you have the chance to get your money back.

About Western Union

Western Union is the fast payment way, the transfer service charge is much different from country to country. And it counts by bill, for example, it charges 15 USD/bill for payment amount under 1000 USD, and 20 USD/bill for payment amount between 1001 USD and 3000 USD.

Another advantage is that Western Union send money to your pointed account in real time, and you can send money with your partner’s name, city and country and then you get a MTCN code and your partner can get the money with the MTCN code you provided.

Anyway, we recommend you use Western Union payment only in the following situation:

  • The payment amount(less than 1000 USD) is small for you and you do not care about the service charge
  • Your reliable partner that you trust and done business with you before

If you are not sure if your partner are reliable or not, I recommend you use other payment ways.

About Paypal 

Paypal is a safe online payment way for small amount of money with high service charge.

People like to use it to pay for samples or shipping cost which is less than 500 USD.

You will never worry about your money safety if you pay through paypal since you can appeal to refund in 180 days.

In conclusion, we recommend you pay through paypal for small amount of money and pay through Western Union for small amount of money that you trust and pay large amount of money through bank transfer.

It Turns To You

Now I’d like to hear about your experience of buying watches from China in bulk.

Since you have already import watches from China, could you please share the most important steps in the process?

Will you only find watch suppliers on Alibaba or through Google Search?

What shipping method will you use to avoid scammers in the future?

Comment below and let us know about what you think and share this post to your friend.