I headed out to Arcadia for a car show and I decided to pay a (first time) visit to a jewelry store that is an Authorized Dealer of Omega watches that happened to be very close to the car show venue: Chong Hing Jewelers (San Gabriel).
Chong Hing Jewelers is a Chinese owned chain of jewelry stores with a multiple locations in California, and the three Southern California stores are in predominantly Chinese / Asian areas.
When I was checking for information on the San Gabriel store, I noticed some very unflattering reviews written by people regarding Chong Hing’s customer service.
Anyway, when I went to the store I was quite impressed by their selection of timepieces. They had a selection of Omega watches on display that rivaled that of Omega Boutique stores. The Chong Hing San Gabriel store also carried (authorized) brands including Jaeger-LeCoultre, IWC, Hublot, Frederique Constant, Piaget, and Patek Philippe.
I browsed the display cases for several minutes and left without trying anything on. I wasn’t actually looking to buy, anyway, and was simply wanting to check out the store (and maybe find that elusive Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean Liquidmetal Limited Edition 188.8.131.52.01.001).
Though I will say that anyone seriously looking to make a purchase will feel slighted and unwelcome because no one in the store acknowledged my presence except for the security guard at the door.
Of the three salespersons on the floor, one was already helping a party of three looking at watches, while the other two were sitting down in chairs behind the display cases while fingering their smartphones without ever looking up to greet me. The one who was behind the Jaeger-LeCoultre display case actually got up from her chair and walked away when I started looking at the JLC watches.
Let me back up and say that while I love to shop, I don’t like being hovered over by the salespersons as I browse. I want to be able to browse and shop in peace and only need the salesperson when I need help.
But at the same time, I appreciate at least a simple greeting or acknowledgement that I’m a customer in the store. A simple “Hello” / “Welcome” is sufficient. But I did not get this from the salespeople at Chong Hing Jewelers.
I’m not angry regarding this experience, simply because I wasn’t even intending to buy anything in the visit. But I am writing this and posting it on my blog as a warning for anyone who *is* actually in the market for a luxury watch and is looking for places to shop at.
Chong Hing Jewelers in San Gabriel is definitely NOT a place you would want to shop at if you want a good shopping experience. It appears that the Yelp reviews for Chong Hing Jewelers are with merit. It’s a shame too, because they do have a great selection of watches, and a very large selection of Omega watches representative of the current Omega catalog.
I’m probably going to have to write an article on watch boutiques since I have visited many in Southern California. But a quick tip for anyone shopping for an Omega watch in Southern California: Definitely visit an Omega Boutique.
There are four Omega Boutiques in Southern California: Costa Mesa, Mission Valley (San Diego), Los Angeles, and Canoga Park (North LA). I have been to three (did not go Canoga Park) and all have displayed excellent customer service the second you walk in the door. You are greeted and welcomed, and offered a refreshment if you desire one. I have been to three other Omega (non-boutique) authorized dealers in Southern California and all of them had a level of customer service that was welcoming and engaging as a shopper, but none of those three had a selection on par with that of Chong Hing or the Omega Boutique stores.