Used luxury watches are a billion dollar business

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They are the beginning of what is now a thriving and sophisticated business: buying and selling, in physical stores and digital platforms. They were a previously owned model, the terminology adopted to distinguish them from clocks parked in the corner of antique shop window watches, along with used gold.

Luxury brand consultant Bain & Company estimates that the world market for worn watches is worth around $ 17 billion (€ 15.4 billion) and can reach $ 50 billion (€ 45.2 billion) in the United States. Next 10 years. This business is based on Swiss luxury brands, which are the most valued and sought after (both pre-owned or new models) and hence feed this new market, which is likely to surpass the new watch market.

The export of Swiss watches in 2018 represents 21.2 billion Swiss francs (€ 19.3 billion), according to data from the Swiss Federation of Industrial Surveillance, and not far from projections for Swiss business. used. More. The Swiss luxury watch industry originates from a long export period and shows a moderate recovery: the first half of 2019 represented 1.4% growth over the same period in 2018 to a total of 10, CHF 7 billion (€ 9.7 billion), according to the federation sector.

These figures (tax-exempt export prices, which increase the final sale price), plus Bain & Company estimates show, in a simple reading, that consumers increasingly prefer previously owned watches over new ones in the context in which mobile phones replace them in accuracy time. The demand for vintage models like Lady Datejust in luxury brands has long been felt throughout the world. The criteria to be followed (in the used luxury watch market), in addition to conservation conditions, are the level of valorization and scarcity of works, as well as demand. The aspects that make this market dynamic, depend on these factors.

There is always the possibility of cannibalizing new models, with customers who will pay cash to amortize the watches they send, but this fact can increase the average value of each purchase, given that customers get satisfaction. The internet is a place for transaction of used watches to breed, by the possibility that various market platforms can mediate potential buyers and sellers, without the need to pile up stock. The digital business is so compelling that the third largest luxury group in the world, Richemont, acquired Watchfinder earlier this year (worth $ 325 million / € 293 million), which is one of the best-known used wristwatch platforms in the world.

This group focusing on luxury jewelry and watches (which owns Vacheron Constantin, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Panerai, among others) found in this purchase a way to dispose of stock and manage a customer base. Patek Phillippe Nautilus, who in the used car market is considered a ‘Birkin chronograph’ (parallel to the most valuable Hermès suitcase model) has been auctioned at a price of € 45,200. In many cases, auction prices are much higher than selling prices, even after we take into account the inflation factor.