So I live in the southwest, in a lovely small town that is not Scottsdale (so no AZ Fine Time). And we have no, that's right, zero, ADs.
(Side note: I used to live in LA, an obvious mecca. And I rarely got to go due to my hectic schedule and then my total collapse on my day off. But at least they existed in droves. And sometimes, when I was feeling perky, I would make the like four hour round trip drive to go two neighborhoods away and fondle the Grand Seikos.)
We have one guy who seems to be a grey dealer, if even that. He advertises Rolex, Omega, etc., and also offers service. But his reviews on Yelp are so dismal that I haven't even stopped by in the year + that I've lived here. The operative word over hundreds of reviews seems to be "sleazy," and the complaints about his work on people's watches are actually scary. I wouldn't take my Orient there. (I do love my Orient.)
There is another guy with a tiny, modest shop and I do trust him to size my bracelets and would possibly trust him with some other repairs. But since he's kind of the only game in town, everyone despising the other guy, he's years behind. He did have a fun selection of vintage watches, some of which I had my eye on. But then he had to move to a new location in a mall (we have two malls! Riches!) , and they won't let him display the watches lest he step on the toes of the very gaudy clothing/jewelry shop across the way.
The big town in state is an hour away, and there are I think two whole ADs there. I have written elsewhere that one actually offered to sell me a Rolex, underscoring how Podunka that town is. Between the two of them, I think we have Rolex, Omega, Tudor, Breitling, and Tag. Count 'em and weep, my friends.
So right now, anything I buy has to come via the magic carpet that is cyberspace and various carriers. I have always done some of this with some new watches, of course-- who doesn't now? Saved me those 4 mile/6 hour drives in LA. And obviously if you're buying used, which I do and I love, that's going to be the way.
But I have some things I'd like to try on, and that I know I need to try on. I have a new plan in which I'm saving for a year, at the end of which I'm heading back towards GS, among others, and I know from my previous GS experience that I'll need to have a lot of time in hand (har har) to think things over. And I don't travel now due to a very old, disabled--but still life-lovin'-- dog.
My minimalism is fighting it out with my covetousness: enthusiast or collector? My retirement fund looks on in horror. Rara avis, here-- female watch geek-in-(only five years on) training. Photos will...
Low cost homages might be a way to go. If they use the same case shapes and sizes, it'll at least give you a sense of how the real deal might wear on wrist, yeah?
Since I’m three hours away from the nearest AD, how many podunkadunks do I need to name my town?
You seem like a New Mexico type of lady to me for some reason. Just a notion.
I know you don't travel much (which is a little sad but understandable) but should that situation change in the future, I think there are many here who would welcome an out of town WCer at their local AD for a drink/dinner and perhaps a few watches to try on.
I think @HotWatchChick69 's idea is probably the best one barring the ability to travel or having a place with excellent return policies!
We need a watch rental system here on WC. Insurance on that wouldn’t be a problem right?
I'd like to visit the Southwest for some backpacking but I'm hesitant to travel due to a 17 year old, mildly disabled, watch lovin' cat.