COVID-19 Update (September 15th)
We are still shipping orders, our testing and fulfillment center is not affected by any lock-downs, and there are currently no known regional infections. However, delays in shipping can sometimes occur, so we have moved shipments destined for some countries from EMS to UPS. We hope everyone stays safe in these troubled times. Please wear your watches in good health.
The bottom line: If you are in a location with EMS shipping restrictions due to COVID-19 and your order is $500 USD or more, we can likely still ship to you for free via UPS instead.
Delays in EMS Shipping
We have always shipped our watches via EMS, an express airmail service, which typically takes 4 business days door to door for most destinations worldwide, and has been a very affordable option from our fulfillment center, allowing us to provide customers with free worldwide shipping that is tracked and insured for the full purchase price. This has, on average, proven to be both the fastest option for us and more affordable than alternative services like DHL, FedEx, or UPS. Numerous reviews on Trustpilot and elsewhere in the last year or two have praised the speedy delivery of goods ordered from our store.
Since the current COVID-19 pandemic has heavily impacted the shipping industry, delays en route for EMS and all other courier service shipments have now become more common. This is because there are more than 80% 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 express packages being shipped due to folks social distancing and staying at home as much as possible, or who need supplies that are hard to find locally. Although your order may still arrive quickly, (many countries we ship to do not seem particularly affected,) we are starting to see occasional delays in tracking updates which may last for a few days or in worst cases, up to several weeks. We are therefore no longer able to estimate delivery times.
Once we have shipped, unfortunately there is not much we can do if your EMS package does end up being delayed. Shipping staff will not typically open an investigation since the cause of these delays is known and they may already be overwhelmed. Please however be assured that we are seeing packages we've shipped get through to their delivery addresses. In the unlikely event, while an order is en route from us, that it is damaged, lost or stolen, 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 be happy to refund in full if so desired. (We may be able to arrange an alternative courier service if this occurs.)
To compound these issues, since the 1st April, due to the drastically decreased number of flights, restrictions have been imposed on shipping via EMS, temporarily prohibiting shipments to certain countries. A list of countries with restrictions that we are aware of can be found in this list. (Please check the EMS column for your country. A tick,✔, means that we can ship via EMS.) Initially this did not impact the store much. However, new countries have been added to the list, which now more recently includes the United States. Many of our customers in other countries, such as the United Kingdom, are not affected by these restrictions, and we will continue to ship to unaffected customers via EMS as usual.
If you are ordering goods from us that are destined for a restricted country, we will endeavor to display a warning during checkout, prior to payment, indicating that shipping may be delayed until COVID-19 shipping restrictions are lifted. If you then go ahead with the order, we will do one of the following:
- If we are able to afford to do so, (typically this is possible on orders totaling $500 USD or more,) or if your order is a pre-order that we're fulfilling, we can arrange to ship you via UPS instead. For the sake of transparency, please note that the free shipping we provide via EMS typically costs us $30 to $60 USD. Our average cost for shipping via UPS is around $90 to $175 USD, $60 to $115 higher. That may not sound like much but considering the aggressive pricing we offer, (we aim to always have the cheapest current pricing on all of our watches,) our margins are already very slim. We therefore can't afford to ship cheaper watches for free internationally via UPS as our total costs, including shipping, can greatly exceed the price a customer has paid. We are doing the best we can to look after our customers, with a view to the long term, so are happy to ship a watch if we break even on our costs vs the price a customer has paid.
- Package your goods for shipment, then hand them off to our shipping agent, who will temporarily hold the package until shipments can be resumed. Please note that in this situation, we won't provide tracking information until the shipments resume, so when you do get a tracking notice, you'll know your package is actually on the way rather than being held. We wish we could say how long the current situation may last, but really no-one is able to estimate that. When lock downs are lifted and passenger flights are allowed into certain countries from other countries then we do expect restrictions to be lifted.
Alternative Shipping via UPS
We are currently shipping many packages, still at no charge to the customer, via UPS instead of EMS. UPS is a courier service which has a fleet of dedicated international cargo aircraft. This is a more expensive option for international shipping, and costs 2x to 3x more than the amount we "bake in" to our watch prices to cover shipping costs. However, this does allow us to ship to most countries that have temporary COVID-19 restrictions on EMS shipments.
Please note that two courier services are actually involved in order for this to happen. When we provide a UPS tracking number to you, initially this means that we've created a pick-up request for UPS to fulfill and have your watch packaged with all of the necessary paperwork ready for UPS. UPS then dispatch an alternative courier service who pick up the package from our fulfillment center, and ship it to a UPS regional hub. Until the package arrives at the UPS regional hub, which typically takes 24 hours, it will still track as "Label Created", not "Shipped", even though it may have gone out of the door already and we have a receipt for the shipment.
UPS deliveries to some countries are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. More specific details are available here. Generally however, the number of countries impacted is smaller, and we are seeing shorter delays via UPS, with most deliveries occurring within 1 or 2 weeks after shipping.
We're Taking Precautions
We are still shipping orders, and our fulfillment center is not affected by any lock-down, with no known infections in our area. State-wide, there are currently on 13 people known to be currently infected as of today. If the situation noticeably changes, we'll post an update here. Naturally we're taking precautions. Those working in our fulfillment center are now all in the same household, and our customer service staff are all working from home. We can still drop off packages, and our shipping services are still operating.