Friday, July 8, 2011

Increase in import duty on watches!

I just came back from the customs office and I was alarmed to hear that the import duty on watches has be increased to 40% from March. It doesn't end here - if like me, you are a private collector and don't have an Import Code (used by companies who import stuff all the time), there is an additional 20% slapped on you as a fine plus 2% for some other crappy fee. So essentially , you could be expected to pay a whopping 62% duty on your watch! If you do have an Import Code, then the total duty is just 20% or so.
Of course, if you are good with your 'persuasion skills', you can get away for less. Whats weird is that I had to pay a duty of only 22% ( when compared to 60%) when I got my Laco via FedEx just a week ago :s


waterproof watches said...

Nice post ! keep it up !

crazyfingers said...

Thanks. Glad you enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

I want to import a watch. The seller in the US will ship it through FEDEX. But I am just confused as how will I pay the import duties? Will Fedex contact me when it arrives in Hyderabad,India (I live hyderabad). Or will it lie stuck at my local customs.While ordering online from I don't see any option where I can prepay the customs duties to the seller. Please help.

crazyfingers said...


Sorry about the delayed reply. Longislandwatch is a good website and I have personally ordered from there before.
So how importing with FedEx normally works is like this:
1) You pay for shipping to the seller.
2) FedEx then clears the package from the Customs and will pay the custom duty on your behalf.
3) You then pay the duty to FedEx at the time of delivery.

Its simple, easy to track and the delivery time is normally pretty quick, but it has certain drawbacks...

1) Th cost of shipping is generally much higher than regular post/shipping.
2) FedEx charges additional 'Handling charges'.
3) Sometimes, if an item is under 10k an sent via normal registered post, it goes under the radar of the Customs and you may not have to pay any duty on it. That can't be done if its shipped via FedEx.

But if it an expensive watch and you want to be absolutely safe about it, FedEx would be the way to go.

Hope this helps.

crazyfingers said...

Forgot to add - FedEx should deliver directly to your delivery address. You can always track it online or by calling them if you feel its taking more time than it should. I don't think there is an option where you can prepay custom duty.

Anonymous said...

Hi Crazyfingers! Thanks for your valuable info on importing from the USA.

crazyfingers said...

Glad to help :)

Anonymous said...

Hi.. Just a small clarification. I want to buy a watch from The seller is based in Japan and the total cost of the shipment including the shipping charges is under Rs. 9000. Will I have to pay customs duty on my purchase? Thanks!!

crazyfingers said...


Thanks for visiting IWB :)

Honestly, it all depends on the type of postal service and then ultimately your luck. From my past experiences, if a watch is generally shipped via post, it tends to attract less or sometimes no custom duties. If you are using FedEx or UPS, I can almost guarantee you there will be full custom duties + handling fees and what not. Unless you want the watch delivered to you within a week, I'd suggest going with registered postal services. However, they can take up to a month to reach you.

The Indian Customs used to allow goods up to Rs.10000 to enter the country duty free if it was marked as a 'gift', however, the last time I was there to clear a watch I got as a birthday, they told me that the amount had been reduced to just Rs. 2,500 (somehow he didn't sound too convincing).

I've had watches worth more than 10K delivered to me without any duties, or in some cases, with very little duty. But I have also had a couple of occasions where I've been asked to pay almost as much as the watch - this normally happens when they re-value your watch if they think it may be worth more than what's mentioned in the declaration.

So in the end, again I'd suggest going with Registered Post - yes, make sure its registered! But this is only if you are OK with waiting up till a month for your watch to arrive. I think 9k may just be OK for them to not bother you with too much duty or they may even just let it pass (no duty). All the best and let me know if possible how it goes.


Dhairyasheel Shinde said...

I have recently purchased a watch from Japan. Its being sent by Japan Post EMS. Is EMS the shipping company?
Should the watch arrive at my door step?
The seller tells me that the watch has reached a local post office in India and that i need to take permission from the customs office. Isn't that the responsibility of EMS? Please Help!

crazyfingers said...

Hi Dhairyasheel! Apologies for the late late reply to your comment. Hope you received the watch and didn't have to go through too much trouble. Ideally EMS should have delivered it right to your doorstep.

Shelly said...

Hi, I live abroad and have a few HMT watches (12 to be exact) in my collection that i now wish to bring back to India, would you have any idea whether i will be charged any customs fees at the airport?

crazyfingers said...

Hi Shelly,

Thats an impressive collection of HMTs you've got there :)

I don't think you would have problems with the customs in India. HMT is very well know here and everyone knows they are not expensive like Swiss and other designer watches.

Best regards,

Shireesh Gulab said...

I just would like to know whether pre owned watches will also invite custom duty and how much?


crazyfingers said...

Hi Shireesh,

Thanks for visiting!

Yes, pre-owned watches can attract custom duties as well. The duty will depend on the value of the watch. Usually it is around 40%, but if the watch is under Rs.10,000 or is a gift and it's sent via post (not FedEx or UPS or DHL), it may just reach your doorstep without any duty levied.

Also, FedEx and UPS tend to add additional charges so the total amount that has to be paid by you will be higher.

Hope this helps.


muhammad usman said...


i wanted to import hamilton khaki from (usa).price of the watch is $330 +$60 shipping. how much total of the import taxes would i have to pay on it?
which is the best way to approach?
not been able to find info anywhere, please help


crazyfingers said...

Hamilton used to be available officially in India till sometime ago. I think they are still available at certain online stores and a few shops, so you could always try your luck there.

Regarding ordering from there website, depending on the type of shipping method, you may be charged in excess of 40% duty (in the case of FedEx and UPS) or reduced to no duty if sent by registered post.

I would suggest getting is shipped via USPS (not UPS) as the shipping charges may be cheaper and you may be charged less duty. FedEx and UPS also charge additional handling fee which adds to your total cost.