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My parents are flying from India to China. They have a newly purchased wrist watch to carry. Is it allowed to put the watch in either checked-in or carry-on baggage?

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    You're not stating whether they're "coming back" to China (i.e. they reside there), or are just going there for a short period of time. In most cases, they would be subject to taxes and duties upon importation if the value exceeds allowances.
    – jcaron
    May 5 '16 at 11:48
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They can put the watch wherever they want. Watches are not safety relevant items (like laptop batteries) which can not be put into checked luggage.

Your parents may have to declare the watch at customs and may have to pay duty or taxes on it. But that's completely independent of what luggage they are stowed in. If it needs to be declared, custom will most likely want to see it, in which case it's easier if it's in a place that you can get to quickly.

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If this watch is of any value then I would strongly recommend to put in in the carry-on luggage, to make sure it is not (1) stolen or (2) broken when the checked-in luggage is handled on the airport.

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