For years, the pre-owned luxury watch market was viewed as an untidy footnote in the watchmaking story, but today it’s entering an exciting new chapter as the industry’s fastest growing segment.
Analysis paints an extraordinary picture. Jon Cox of Kepler Cheuvreux says pre-owned luxury watch sales are now worth $15 billion a year. Consultants Bain & Company calculate the global market for second-hand luxury goods is growing at 9 per cent every year and now valued at €22 billion ($24 billion), and that 80 per cent of that is watches. The primary market, to compare, is reckoned to be worth $50 billion. Pre-owned is huge, and growing. Some even say it will outgrow primary inside five years.
Why? There are a number of reasons. Mostly, pre-owned watches sold as new by authorised retailers are less expensive than new watches. Exceptions are the high-demand steel sports watches made by Rolex and Patek Philippe, which command higher prices pre-owned than new
Access is another reason. Waiting lists for some new models can stretch to years, while other models are quickly discontinued and can gain traction second time around. Some buy pre-owned because they feel it’s a sustainable model. A watch can only be made once, but it can be sold several times.
One of the visionaries in the pre-owned space is Danny Govberg, who two years ago launched WatchBox, a specialist pre-owned retailer that buys, trades and sells luxury watches. WatchBox’s online platform is setting new standards, and it has a number of physical outposts around the world.
This month, WatchBox has opened its first boutique in Dubai in partnership with Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons, hosts of Dubai Watch Week. Visitors to Dubai Watch Week will have access to WatchBox Studios, where on November 21 the team will be live streaming interviews with big names from the industry, events and seminars via WatchBox’s YouTube channel.
Mr Govberg will also appear on two of the panels taking place in the Horology Forum. ’Six Ways From Certified and The Wisdom to Know Your Place’ will look at the challenges facing the pre-owned industry and ask what buyers need to know before investing. He’ll also face the crowd at the final panel of the week, the audience-led ‘Hot Potato’, which will provide the opportunity to fire questions at a panel of industry experts.
Dubai Watch Week takes place from November 20-24. WatchBox Studios is on November 21. To attend, register for free at dubaiwatchweek.com