COVID-19 Shipping Update (March 2023)
Our Shipping Office Remains Open
Our testing & fulfillment center is not affected by any lockdowns and is located in a region that has luckily so far seen no COVID-19 infections. We've taken measures to prepare for the pandemic, and those working in our fulfillment center are now all in the same household, and our customer service staff are all working from home. We are still shipping EMS and UPS airmail packages, and will post any updates here should the situation change in future.
We Test All Our Watches
Unlike other stores, right before shipping we carefully inspect and test every watch, including running all of our mechanical timepieces on a timegrapher to make sure that the movement is healthy and running within factory specifications. We will never ship any watch without making sure it goes out of the door in perfect working order.
Free International Shipping
Before COVID-19, we provided free international shipping on all watch orders, as well as free shipping on orders of $150 USD or more that don't include a watch. We still continue to offer free shipping on all watch orders (and orders of $150 plus) at The Microbrand Store to most countries we ship to worldwide via EMS, a tracked and insured express airmail service.
A few countries we ship to currently have EMS shipping restrictions, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so we are now using UPS for those instead if we can. For these UPS shipments, shipping still remains free on orders of $500 USD or more, but starting in January 2021, for orders under $500 USD, we will only accept orders containing a watch and will need to charge $60 towards our UPS shipping costs. Our actual UPS costs typically run from around $100 or more per shipment, so we only charge a fraction of our UPS fees.
Will You Ship Via EMS or UPS?
Most of our customers are in Asia, Australia, Europe, and North America. There are a few countries we do not ship to, which we detail in the next section below. For those countries we do ship to, please use the table in the following link to see if there is a tick (✔) in the EMS column for your country:
If there is a tick in the EMS column, then we will ship via EMS if we can, else we will try to use UPS.
Countries We Don't Ship To
We generally ship worldwide except for the following locations:
- Africa generally (We do ship to South Africa)
- India and Pakistan
- North Korea
- South America and some parts of Central America
We don't ship to these locations due to our store's policies. This is not due to COVID-19 restrictions.
We request an adult signature on delivery for all of our shipments, so we are unable to ship to PO boxes or deliver without someone being present at the destination. (UPS Store mailboxes are acceptable since the store staff can sign for a delivery.) To help prevent fraud and for insurance purposes, we also do not permit a delivery address to be changed once we have shipped.
During COVID-19, some countries have no physical contact rules in place as a precaution, which means that a physical signature may not be collected. In these situations typically a valid adult ID still needs to be shown by the receiver and the delivery agent will note the delivery accordingly.
Where We Ship From
To learn more about where we ship from, and potential taxes or import duties that may be levied by your country's customs agents, please visit our FAQ page. We do not charge any taxes except for deliveries to the State of Washington, and it is the recipient's responsibility to cover any customs duties or taxes.
Delays in Shipping
We usually quickly ship in stock items within one business day and are well known for our fast shipping. Before COVID-19, all of our shipments were via EMS and took on average 4 business days door to door for most destinations worldwide. Numerous reviews on Trustpilot and elsewhere have praised the speedy delivery of goods ordered from our store in the last few years.
Since the current pandemic has heavily impacted the shipping industry, delays en route for all courier services can sometimes occur. This is because there are far fewer international flights, staffing is an issue with some regional centers closed or staff out of the office, and there has been a drastic increase in packages being shipped due to folks social distancing and staying at home as much as possible.
Although your order may still arrive quickly, (many countries we ship to do not seem particularly affected and most of our customers will receive their timepieces within a week,) we do sometimes see delays in tracking updates which may last for a few days or in worst cases, up to several weeks. The situation is fluid and constantly changing, so we are no longer able to estimate delivery times. It should also be noted that during the end of year holiday season, (from Thanksgiving to New Year,) shipping delays may be more common as a result of a general increase in international shipments and mail.
Once we've shipped, there is not much we can do if your package does end up delayed. Typical scenarios are either a delay in tracking, (UPS typically won't start tracking until a day or two after their agent has picked up our packages,) or a delay at the airport waiting on an outbound flight, which can sometimes last a week or two before tracking picks up again in the destination country.
Courier services usually won't open an investigation unless the delay is over 10 business days since the cause of these delays is known and they may already be overwhelmed. Please be assured however that we're seeing packages we've shipped get through to their delivery addresses, even heavily delayed ones.
All Shipments Are Insured
In the still very unlikely event, while an order is en route from us, that it is damaged, lost or stolen, all of our orders are insured for the full purchase price, so we have you covered and will provide a full refund. Similarly, if a package is returned to us due to the shipper no longer being able to deliver to a destination, we will likewise be happy to provide a full refund.