Hands-on at the WatchBuys Roadshow New York

That the Internet has irrevocably changed watch collecting is a truth hard to overstate. We have online communities where we can talk watches endlessly and be understood without fear that we’re putting anyone to sleep. Blogs and forums make news and reviews more accessible and independent than ever. Though the coverage and community is at our fingertips, so are the purchases themselves, with many celebrated brands found exclusively online with unbeatable (and very tempting) pricing, quick shipping and friendly return policies. Buying the brands you love should be easy, and while we have the Internet to thank for that, a lot of us still like to try on watches before we order them.

A table of neatly arranged watches from NOMOS Glashutte

Enter WatchBuys, North America’s official Sinn distributor and online retailer of numerous beloved German brands that aren’t sold in brick and mortar stores. Selling via their online shop, WatchBuys is a trusted dealer of awesome German watches from the well known houses of Sinn, NOMOS and Junghans, as well as many other brands you may not be familiar with but the owners and enthusiasts behind WatchBuys, Rob and Tim, will gladly educate you on. Periodically throughout the year, they pack up their wares and travel across the country hosting Roadshows where collectors can get hands-on with some of the most interesting timepieces that they don’t see every day. It’s the best of both worlds, combining reasonable pricing with the ability to see all these great German pieces in the metal.

A view from the WatchBuys Roadshow in New York

We had a beautiful view in Lower Manhattan, both inside and outside of the room. Some of the best in German watchmaking was neatly displayed and up for grabs throughout the room, and it seemed like I could just as easily reach out and touch the Statue of Liberty. What a killer way to spend a Friday afternoon.

Watches from Bruno Sohnle

Cool watches, a passionate staff, semi-private viewings and a refreshing lack of commission-hungry salespeople all add up to a show that sells out quickly. Once you get an email saying they’re coming to your city, you better sign up. Flag it and follow up later only to be disappointed that they can’t make room for you.

Watches on watches on watches

Having held these since 2007, it’s clear they know how to put on a proper showing, mainly by keeping it all about the watches. Expect no beverages other than water; come fed because they’re not passing out hors d’oeuvres. How strange, to keep it all about the watches, but Rob and Tim are laser-focused on learning about their customers and giving them a hands-on opportunity to get to know their products–not throwing a party.

One of Sinn's tables

Sinn was everywhere, by far the most heavily represented brand. From its pilot classics like the 103 to its peculiar and tough-as-nails divers and to its mechanical innovations like the SZ-01, we had our hands on the whole lineup. The bold designs, build quality and honest pricing really overpower your better judgment when they’re all sitting on a table together like that. Pulling the trigger on one or two Sinns just seems to easy and reasonable. I see at least a 103 in my future–a fact the Roadshow definitely cemented.

Sinn 103 Pilot Watch w/super domed acrylic crystal

Although NOMOS is found in select retailers, WatchBuys is an authorized dealer for the brand and represented its collection nicely. I spent a lot of time with the NOMOS Zurich Weltzeit, a fascinating worldtimer that will likely join my collection within the next few years. With in-house calibers, finishing that is second-to-none and probably the most refreshing marketing voice in the industry, it was truly a pleasure to handle some NOMOS watches I’ve been dying to check out in person.

NOMOS Metro & Zurich Weltzeit

Other hard-to-find German brands were there, too, like Junghans, Dornblueth & Sohn and Bruno Sohnle. RGM was on display with select models, a nod to the incredible selling point that the Pennsylvania watchmaker is the official service center for all WatchBuys pieces, so (with rare exception) there’s no need to send your Sinn back to Germany.

The business end of RGM's Pilot 151

Huge thanks goes to Rob and Tim for hosting such a great event. I’ll definitely be back the next time they’re in New York–maybe even with a Sinn or a NOMOS on my wrist. I took close to a thousand photos at the event, so stay tuned for more in-depth coverage on some of the amazing watches available for sale through WatchBuys.

Learn more about WatchBuys Roadshows and sign up for the preferred client newsletter that announces when they’ll be in your city.