In Conversation With: Daniel Aellig, Chief Commercial Officer At NORQAIN On The Adventurous Element Off Watchmaking

Knowing The Intricacies Of Customs Duties On Watches To Make Informed Watch Buying Decisions

26 Dec 2023 |
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The world of watches, adorned with craftsmanship and precision, often finds itself traversing the boundaries of nations, unveiling a fascinating interplay of customs duties. The allure of a finely crafted timepiece is met with an intricate web of customs regulations. Across countries, a different plethora of duties awaits those who seek horological treasures.

Introduction to Customs Duties

Customs duties on imported goods, including watches, play a pivotal role in regulating trade and protecting domestic markets. In India, these duties are subject to change, influenced by various factors including government policies, trade agreements, and economic conditions.

Custom Duties in India

When importing watches into India, it's essential to be aware of the custom duties imposed by the government. 

The cost price of watches includes the customs duty, with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) calculated on top of that amount.

The primary components of custom duties include:

Basic Customs Duty (BCD)

  • The BCD is a percentage-based duty applied to the assessable value of the watch. The rates can vary based on factors such as the type of watch, its materials and the country of origin.
  • Since January 2022 custom rate revisions, the basic customs duty is around 20% of the assessable value, which includes the cost of the watch, insurance and freight charges.
Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST)
  • IGST is a tax levied on the total value of the imported watch, including the basic customs duty and any other applicable charges. 
  • It is calculated as a percentage of the assessable value plus the basic customs duty.
Additional Duties and Charges
  • Additional duties may apply based on factors like the country of origin and the materials used in the watch.
  • Luxury watches or those with precious metals or gemstones might attract additional duties such as the Goods and Services Tax (GST), which could range from 18% to 28%, depending on the specific watch and its value.
  • It's crucial to stay updated on changes in duty rates and regulations to avoid any surprises.
Import Duty Exemptions

There might be exemptions or reduced duties for certain categories of watches, based on trade agreements or specific government policies.

Custom Duties Abroad

In nations abroad, the landscape of customs duties on watches is a mosaic of regulations unique to each country. Countries like Switzerland, renowned for their watchmaking prowess, have different duty structures compared to those in the United States or countries within the European Union. While some nations embrace Free Trade Agreements or have lower duty rates on certain categories of watches, others have stringent duties aimed at protecting their own watch industries.

The understanding of customs duties on watches in India and abroad reflects not just fiscal disparities but also the nuanced approach each region takes toward trade, industry and consumer accessibility. Despite the differences in duty structures, the passion for horology remains a unifying thread that transcends borders.

Exploring the Dynamics

The customs duties on watches create a fascinating dynamic within the horological community. They influence choices, impact market trends and shape the experiences of both collectors and enthusiasts.

Influence on the Watch Market

The imposition of customs duties holds the power to steer the direction of the watch market. Whether it prompts a surge in the demand for domestic alternatives or continues to drive the pursuit of international luxury timepieces is a fascinating aspect to observe.

Impact on Collectors and Enthusiasts

For those passionate about horology, customs duties become a pivotal consideration in the pursuit of their coveted timepieces. Some might explore avenues to acquire their desired watches within the confines of duty regulations, while others may weigh the options differently.

Whether you're a seasoned watch collector or an enthusiast eagerly awaiting your next acquisition, understanding the landscape of customs duties on watches can make a significant difference in your watch-buying journey.

Customs duties on watches interweave economics with the passion for horology. They add complexity to the journey of acquiring timepieces and reflect the diverse preferences and aspirations of watch enthusiasts.

The pursuit of an exquisite timepiece isn’t merely about its mechanics or brand - it’s a narrative woven with passion, style and the essence of time itself.