The classic and pre-owned luxurious watch market is flourishing like by no means. It has remodeled dramatically over the previous few years with the arrival of strategic buyers. One of many world’s main second-hand watch e-commerce platforms, WatchBox, just lately secured USD 165 million in funding to help its enlargement. MONOCHROME reached out to Justin Reis, CEO of WatchBox, to debate the event of the corporate and its plans for the longer term.
Xavier Markl, MONOCHROME – The second-hand or pre-owned luxurious market is rising quick. So did WatchBox. What has been the street thus far?
Justin Reis, CEO of WatchBox – Since WatchBox launched, we’ve welcomed bodily enlargement, a shifting mindset amongst collectors, the embrace of the pre-owned class by the trade, a world pandemic, and unprecedented demand for high-end, collectable watches. This “street” is an expressway!
We launched WatchBox in November 2017, and along with our headquarters in Philadelphia, we established a presence in Hong Kong with the opening of our Collector’s Lounge in Central. Lower than a 12 months later, Patrik Hoffmann joined our group to steer WatchBox’s enlargement into Switzerland and throughout Europe. In late 2019, we celebrated the opening of a Collector’s Lounge in Singapore and established a three way partnership with Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons to launch WatchBox Center East. With every new market, we get nearer to our neighborhood, permitting us to ship the best high quality service, tailor our stock to fulfill shopper pursuits, and additional the data and keenness for watch accumulating.
What makes WatchBox’s proposition distinctive?
Having a longtime international footprint on this planet’s main watch markets, mixed with the unbelievable data, ardour, and dedication from our group to fulfill and exceed the wants of our shoppers worldwide, stand out as our biggest differentiators. We’ve structured our enterprise to turn into lifelong companions with our shoppers and share of their accumulating journey, and that is constructed upon a basis of belief, training, and a shared ardour for watches.
Our stock is an ideal complement to this ardour. WatchBox is residence to the best assortment of watches – from particular items by impartial manufacturers and watchmakers to an intensive choice from the highest manufacturers – all of which is owned and in peak situation. As an inventory-based operation, WatchBox authenticates and invests in each piece that we promote, and our international high quality normal ensures that every watch will probably be as near “mint” situation as potential with out compromising worth on the time of sale.
What makes the WatchBox proposition most distinctive is that this intersection, bringing data and entry to probably the most collectable watches on this planet to our international neighborhood, with out friction and with a shared love for accumulating.
You’ve simply secured USD 165 million in funding. How will WatchBox proceed to develop its actions?
We will probably be investing closely in media and know-how as we proceed to scale our platform, which will probably be in parallel to bodily enlargement into new markets throughout the U.S. and internationally. All through 2022, WatchBox will develop a presence in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, and Dallas, plus Zurich, Tokyo, and Riyadh.
What’s your ambition?
Our ambition is to proceed to develop the WatchBox neighborhood – a world and numerous group of fans and collectors linked by a shared fascination – whereas bringing collectively the world’s most collectable watches and sharing in experiences of discovery, training, and absolute enjoyment.
What are the expansion drivers for the secondary market?
- The demand for high-end watches by probably the most recognised and established manufacturers exceeds market provide, main individuals who by no means beforehand thought of buying a pre-owned timepiece to enter the class.
- The secondary market affords entry to timepieces not available on the first market, from the in-demand and just lately discontinued Patek Philippe 5711 to so many items within the trendy Rolex catalogue and the extraordinary collections by main impartial watchmakers.
- The (nonetheless) new tradition of pricing transparency within the secondary watch market gives collectors with the arrogance and belief to spend money on costlier objects, understanding that there will probably be a marketplace for them ought to they want to commerce or promote this stuff sooner or later.
- PLUS, the rise of resale and the round economic system.
What would your recommendation be for novice collectors?
So many individuals will merely inform you to “purchase what you’re keen on,” and I need to take this a step additional. Have the arrogance to gather eclectically, shopping for watches you actually like, and buying and selling items that now not convey you enjoyment or that function steppingstones to one thing else. Give attention to making your watch purchases significant, studying about what drew you to any given piece, having fun with the method of discovery, the rituals round sporting your watches, and the dynamic neighborhood of collectors and fans.
A trusting relationship with the vendor or seller is among the many most necessary elements in accumulating, whether or not you’re a novice or skilled collector. This extends from a assure of authenticity to a watch being within the situation described when it arrives at the doorstep, a guaranty to cowl points associated to mechanical defects, transparency into market worth, and a dedication that can assist you discover the proper look ahead to you. Belief is the inspiration for a lot enjoyment – for each the collector and an organization like WatchBox. Our group is actually obsessive about watches, and we love sharing in our shoppers’ accumulating journeys.
Costs on the secondary market have risen sharply? Can we count on a correction at some stage?
The secondary watch market is stronger than ever, and whereas we anticipate some pricing stabilisation for extraordinary outliers, the general macro traits are intact. This present power provides shoppers the arrogance to buy and spend money on costlier objects, understanding that there will probably be a marketplace for them ought to they want to commerce or promote these watches sooner or later.
The marketplace for luxurious collectables has been remodeled all through the pandemic period, opening watch accumulating – which was as soon as thought of a distinct segment interest – to a wider viewers and accelerating modifications going down during the last decade due to social media and the web. The market is getting greater and greater. And whereas watch accumulating stays a interest of pure ardour for thus many in our neighborhood, the vitality and media consideration has attracted many newcomers to the house, each new and rising collectors, in addition to these with an urge for food for different investments. The demand is predicted to proceed exceeding provide on the first market, which in flip perpetuates the present dynamic.
A couple of weeks in the past, you acquired a majority stake in impartial watchmaker De Bethune. Can we count on different such investments from WatchBox?
The chance to spend money on nice watchmakers will all the time be on our radar, particularly within the realm of impartial manufacturers and good watchmakers who’ve but to learn from the infrastructure of bigger firms. We’re extremely proud to help Denis Flageollet and Pierre Jacques as they drive De Bethune’s subsequent chapter of extraordinary watchmaking.
For extra data, please go to www.watchbox.com.