- Published in The RWR Blog
This question comes up a lot. Granted, we cover this in the FAQ's but I'll elaborate here. From the get go, we knew there were areas around the globe that it was near impossible to have a replica watch serviced. Hell, it is near impossible to find a local watch repair shop in many corners of the world, let alone a replica friendly watchsmith. From day one, we offered our services regardless of where in the world you live. Each week watches arrive to RWR from various foreign lands. We gladly and proudly accept these timepieces, replica or not, and we are happy to offer the rep community a place to have their watch service, should the need arise.
There are a couple things to note when sending your watch to us from outside the USA:
- First, keep in mind that there is always a customs risk when sending a replica watch to the USA, regardless if it is for service. US Customs officially does not differentiate between a replica that is being serviced versus being delivered to an end user. That said, we receive watches weekly and rarely have a problem. In our entire time servicing replicas from around the globe, we have only had 1 instance where a package arrived empty. We have had 3 packages opened but without issue. The US Customs officials reseal opened packages with a special monogrammed tape, which is how we know it has happened. While there may be some leniency because we are a repair center, following the suggestions below will greatly reduce the chances of having an issue.
- DO NOT put the words replica on the box, label, etc. I am really surprised that I have to say that but at least once every few months a package is addressed to Replica Watch Repair or some variant. I have also seen the customs deceleration state "replica watch"; In fact it was a package that arrived just this week, making that exact declaration, that prompted this article. Given that the only labeling that should be present is our address (which, if the directions are followed should not contain the word replica), and a short, couple word statement as to whats in the package, see the next suggestion.
- As to the customs declaration, use something like Men's Watch For Repair or Men's Watch For Warranty Service. Don't go into long descriptions. Do not state a brand or a model. DO NOT PUT REPLICA!
- Do not lie about whats in the package. We had a guy put "toaster" on a box that was about 6" x 3" x 2". Really? It wasn't stopped but had it been, it would have been opened for sure. Watch is fine, if they x-ray it, they'll know for sure anyway.
- Do not use excess packaging material or excess tape. I know that you may want to ensure that the package doesn't come open during its long journey, however, too much tape or an incredibly over-sized package for whats being shipped just raises suspicion, should your package be sidelined for further inspection. I was told by a customer that the reason why there was about 40 layers of tape on his package was because he thought that if it was stopped by customs, it would look like a pain to open and they would just move it along. It took me 2 seconds to open that package... US Customs has razor blades too...
- Do not ship items like watch boxes or other items not pertinent to the repair with the watch. All this does is add weight (increasing shipping costs) and potential for damage in transit. A guy from Germany sent the entire Rolex box / paperwork set with his watch recently and then complained it was so much to ship to us (he complained further when it was nearly $50 US to send back). We also receive little trinkets, household decorative items, etc, all in an attempt at concealment. They are not needed and are simply raising the cost to get the watch to us.
- When shipping from overseas use "RWR Watch Repair" Instead of just "RWR" (I know the email that is sent to you after form submission states not to alter the address is any way, this is the 1 exception). When the package declaration says watch and the shipping to is a watch repair shop, it helps to solidify that the watch is being shipped in for repair and will be exiting the US at some point. We have no way of knowing as the USC official position is that all reps are banned but we think this may be why the few packages that have arrived opened but undisturbed have actually made it through. It is understandable that the USC follows our countries laws but it is also understandable that "repair" of a replica is not illegal here. The idea that the watch is being serviced and not staying could be a reason for allowing the watch through versus confiscation. Again, this is a theory only.
- Keep in mind that shipping a watch to / from the US from a foreign land takes time. At least a couple weeks added to our estimate, maybe more. Canada and the UK seem to be pretty quick. The middle east, western Australia as well as Greece seem to be the longest for some reason. We've had packages bound for Greece that took 2 months to arrive. The wonderful customers from there though seem to know this is the case and have never bent us over the proverbial barrel for it :)
- Finally, it costs more to get your package to us and likewise, more for use to ship it back to you. It is about $25.60 to get a package to most places around the globe, with tracking. Now, obviously it isn't the same everywhere. it actually fluxuates between about $14 to about $30 for a single watch; A few dollars higer for 2-3 and a few higher than that for 4-5. While there are sometimes cheaper options, we only ship methods that include a tracking number, the prices above are the lowest prices available using a trackable method.
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