MrWatchMaster Thinks: The Rise Of The Platforms

MrWatchMaster Thinks: The Rise Of The Platforms

There has been an unprecedented surge in the pre-owned watch market. Recently we have witnessed the purchase of Watchfinder, the UK-based online retailer of ‘second-hand’ watches, by Richemont. This acquisition signals the Swiss luxury goods company’s first move into the second-hand luxury watch market. Watchfinder, which employs 200 staff, buys and sells upmarket ‘pre-owned’ watches online and via seven boutiques, as well as operating a customer service centre.

First Concession: Watchfinder in Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge

Philadelphia-based WatchBox, (another leading pre-owned luxury timepiece platform) which was co-founded by Danny Govberg, has recently announced that it is opening a new Swiss operation in Neuchâtel. The European headquarters is a physical reflection of the WatchBox ‘buy-sell-trade’ digital experience. Included is a showroom featuring pre-owned timepieces for sale, as well as space for private appointments and events, offering the opportunity for consumers to sell and/or trade in their pre-owned watches. The hybrid shop-showroom is staffed with multilingual watch experts.

New Euro HQ: Watchbox Expands Physical Presence

The opening of our Swiss location brings WatchBox’s expertise in the secondary watch market to the epicenter of the industry.” Patrick Hoffmann, Executive Vice President, Watchbox (Switzerland)

In a recent interview with WatchPro, Chrono24 co-CEO Tim Stracke described his ‘winner-takes-all’ approach to the secondary watch market. According to Tim, Chrono24 was established in 2003 and was run by two guys as a side business. Now the online marketplace welcomes more than 7 million unique visitors per month and is on track to sell luxury watches worth €1.2 billion this year.

Long term, we have the aim to be in contact with every single watch lover on the planet. We also want to know every single watch on the planet; not only the watches that are being offered on the platform, but also the ones that people have in their collections.” Tim Stracke, co-CEO, Chrono24

Human Touch: Chrono24 Product Management Team

This brings us back to the inexorable rise and domination of the platforms. We were fascinated to see that MR PORTER, the award-winning online destination for men’s style, announce that it has recently partnered with Swiss watch manufacturer Zenith and British watch customiser Bamford Watch Department in creating an exclusive 25-piece limited-edition watch.

True Collaboration: A Vision In ‘Solar Blue’

George Bamford already works alongside Zenith as their official customisation partner, but this is different, as the platform, has directly commissioned the piece. Co-creating a project and product of this nature is a first for all three partners in this undertaking.

This is a first for MR PORTER, working together with both Zenith and Bamford Watch Department, and we are thrilled with the result. Zenith’s approach to modern day watch-making, alongside George Bamford’s eye for contemporary customisation, has created a unique timepiece our customers and readers are sure to enjoy and appreciate. By diving into Zenith’s archive for technical references, this collaboration showcases genuine originality and storytelling – which certainly will make this watch special for years to come.” Toby Bateman, Managing Director, MR PORTER

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