Are Watches Cheaper In The Cayman Islands?
A resounding yes is the answer all watches are tax and duty-free for starters in the Cayman Islands.
Every watch brand sold in the Caribbean has the same price as a high street store in your home town. But the Cayman Islands has always had more selection than ANY other high street store on the mainland. The reason why the Cayman Islands is a haven for your favorite watch brand is that everything is sold Tax and Duty-Free so there is up to a 15% saving right off the bat. This depends on where you live, see below ‘Saving Tax‘. Watch prices are set by the watchmakers, so other than the tax & duty-free pricing there usually isn’t much more discount they can give. But if your looking to buy more such as jewelry, perfumes, and cosmetics there may be more wriggle room. This is when shopping in the Cayman Islands becomes fun and financially beneficial.
The big saving is Tax which is the sales tax you pay on all luxury products; Watches fall in this category. Depending on where you live, it can be included (hidden) in the price like here in the UK where I live. Or added at check out, which happens in the US. There is also a duty that is paid which is between 3.5 – 4.5%. Here in the UK, at the time of writing this, there is no duty on watches. However, our tax is 20%, so if you are from the UK, you can save 20% on a Rolex watch which is a big saving; thank you very much. If you live in Florida, your sales tax is 7%, with duties on watches depending on the material in the watch is 3.5 – 4.5%, so if you live in Florida, you will save 10.5 – 11.5% on a Rolex. But there may be even more savings to be had, read on.
Currency – Is this a Money-saving loophole or not?
All prices in the Cayman Islands are quoted in USD, so if you are from the US of A, then your in luck with no currency exchange charges or losses on the exchange.
If you live in a country with a different currency you can change your currency or use your credit card, your bank or currency exchange bureau will charge you for the pleasure. You should check with your bank or exchange bureau how much they will charge to exchange cash or for using your credit card. But if you live in the UK or Europe, our sales tax is high, so it is still beneficial to buy a watch in the Cayman Islands.
Currency is an exception but overall the FACT IS that all watches are tax and duty-free in the Cayman Islands. Let’s look at some watch styles to see if you will save money buying your watch in the Caribbean?
Every Day Casual Watches.
These are designed and could be worn anywhere and everywhere and shouldn’t cost much. Their simple layout could either be mechanical or digital by technology. These could be with plastic, leather, or metal bands and have simple designs. Variations in designs come in dial color, band and bezel material, and watch shape.
Because this is your everyday watch, worn largely with casual clothes so it should be comfortable, casual watches are the most common watches in terms of style, so there are plenty of watch brands to choose from. They are not elegant nor make you stand out in any situation. Casual watches are designed for everyday use and are a personal choice, the look, feel, and amount of gadgets on the watch are a personal choice. Do you need it to tell time, count your steps, have a timer, multi-time zones, etc? All a personal choice. Casual watches are the most affordable ones and perhaps the best choice as gifts, especially if you are not very familiar with the person to whom you want to give a watch.
Philip Stein (with Natural Frequencies inside) is one of the most popular watches bought in the Cayman Islands.
Some other great casual watch brands have a fabulous casual Range, such as Fossil, Swatch, and Citizen. Prices can start from as little as $95.00 so a tax saving and duty-free saving is small. But there may be some sales on during the time of your visit. There is also a massive selection to choose from in the Cayman Islands. Take the Philip Stein watches with interchangeable straps how much fun will it be to look at the endless showcases of styles and straps.
Some other cool brands are Swatch, Fruitz by Philip Stein, Movado, Citizen, Bulova, Fossil and there are more expensive casual watch brands such as Rado, Raymond Weil, and Tissot.
A Fashion watch is a brand name that you are familiar with the quality and style its not a name that primarily specializes in watchmaking or has any established watch-making history. It’s most likely a brand name licensed to an established watchmaker who then manufactures them. These watches are more about making a fashion statement; if you are fond of a particular fashion house, you are more likely to buy a watch with the brand name.
They are a good watch; if you want to have a certain style/look, then a brand watch with a prominent logo will be a good choice. Many fashion brands use inexpensive quartz movements but retail for premium prices due to their brand recognition and high demand. So be careful when investing in this type of watch. Here are some brand named watches you will be familiar with Emporio Armani, Fendi, Hugo Boss, Gucci, Michael Kors, and Guess are all examples of fashion watches. These watches start from $395 and upwards, so the tax and duty-free savings are more significant on these watches.
This is where investing a little more money is worth it; a sturdier watch will stand up to an active lifestyle. If you love racket sports, swimming, running during your lunch break, you need a good watch to accommodate the rigor of work and sports.
One of the top watches for this category is TAG HEUER; this brand has one of the most recognized watch faces in the world. This is the ultimate “with any outfit, to any occasion” watch. They have many styles that suit both the boardroom and the golf course. As the official timekeeper for the Olympics multiple times, TAG has a strong reputation for accuracy and style.
One watch that has taken a giant step into this category is the smartwatches, a do-it watch that will keep up with your every movement. While I love a smartwatch, it only lasts a few years and is then ready for the landfill. Personally, I prefer a proper watch with style and durability; a lot of these watches, if they are serviced regularly, will last a lifetime.
The most famous Tissot watch is the “T Touch,” which tells the time, temperature, and has a compass and a stopwatch! Much like an iPhone, you access the different functions by touching different parts of the watch face. If you love gadgets, this is your watch!
Here are more brands that fall into this category Bremont, Pirelli, Tag Heuer, Omega, Tissot, Seiko, and some Citizen models.
Luxury Connoisseur Watches.
Your tax and duty-free saving on these watches go a long way these watches start from a couple of thousand, so this is a significant saving. Here is why…
These brands are very strictly controlled by the watchmakers, from the display, positioning the boutique, and especially pricing. It is a privilege for a store to be granted permission to sell a luxury watch, so they don’t sway from the pricing structure. But the tax & duty-free saving is set in stone.
Watches that become LEGENDS! we buy these watches not because we need them, but because we want them. Most watch collectors will agree, to wear a luxury watch means you appreciate great craftsmanship and you have come far in life. So special in fact that you will engrave it and pass it down to your children. A watch that will last for generations. A luxury watch will be a part of watch-making history and your family history.
As with anything handcrafted, the limited edition watches are collectible. Prestige Timepieces come with a price. Because they are handcrafted, there are limited editions and numbers, so they are not available in your local high street. But because the Cayman Islands are a mecca for tax and duty-free shopping, many rare luxury timepieces are available.
This is where you save the most money; there is no discounting or bargaining on this type of watch; you are saving your tax and duty, which on an investment watch like this can save thousands of dollars.
These are the watch brands you can categorize as luxury Cartier, Piaget, Patek Philippe, Rolex, Lange & Söhne, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Vacheron Constantin, Chopard, Panerai, IWC, and Ulysses Nardin.
A stand-out Watch Brand “Bremont”.
A stand out watch brand that spans a few of the above watch categories I thought I would give the brands it’s own section. If you appreciate watches then you will be pleased to know that Bremont is an award winning British company. They produce and engineer all the Chronometers in Henley on Thames, England. The launched in 2002, crafting pilot’s watches of a high quality. To know how amazing fantastic this watch is and why I feel this is an every occassion watch, check out this very cool video. Visit their website Bremont Watches | Luxury British Watches & Chronometers – Bremont Watch Company
Where to shop in Grand Cayman with an authorized watch dealer?
If you see a model you like or have been searching for a while, then buy it. So many times, I saw guests getting off the ship intent on buying their dream watch a Rolex. Only to buy a sloppy 2nd cheaper more inferior watch. They come back sill wanting to buy a Rolex; it’s an itch you can’t scratch. When you are in the Cayman islands, buy your dream watch; no other watch will do, my friends. Kirk Freeport is the authorized dealer for Rolex Watches. Here is the link again.
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