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BUSINESS

Online valuation tool is the new face of the pre-owned watch industry

Online valuation tool is the new face of the pre-owned watch industry 41

There’s nothing like the allure of a new luxury watch. But with today’s inflated prices and decade-long waiting lists for some of the more popular models, it’s understandable that people should look to the pre-owned market.

And why not? It seems everyone is doing it. Whether they’re trying to save plastic or the planet, or simply look after their pennies, more and more people are going online to buy preloved items, rather than new. Financial pressures are also driving second hand sales. Households on stretched budgets – having spent the last two years without jobs or working shorter hours – are also proving keen to want rid of unwanted goods or buy pre-owned online. 

There’s recognition that cast-offs can have a cash value that can be easily realised and with primary markets’ lack of supplies forcing customers to look at the secondary market, sold-out items can attract far more buyers. Take eBay, for example. According to reports from 2021, the company sold more than 60 million used items in a year. 

Customers’ expectations are certainly rising for digital channels along measures such as site speed, stability, and delivery times. To keep pace, retailers should start by designing web pages that are optimised for shopping. Those who fail to embrace e-commerce in the future will certainly miss opportunities, especially in selling to Generation X and Z consumers.

In the pre-owned luxury watch and jewellery markets younger generations are showing increasing interest. Luxury watch-related content generated over 173 million views on TikTok, while in 2021, global fashion search engine Lyst reported a 42% increase in searches for ‘couple’, ‘engagement’ and ‘wedding’ watches, with a pre-owned Rolex 40mm Submariner gaining the most interest, according to Refinery29.

Due to some very limited and sought-after models, Rolex has seen an increase of 16 per cent in spending, with its timepieces selling for up to 298% of their original retail prices, according to the 2022 Luxury Consignment Report produced by TheRealReal – an online marketplace for authentic, resale luxury goods. The data also suggests that if you own a Rolex Submariner Date, it is a fabulous time to sell, as on average they sell for up to 262 per cent of market price. 

While the pre-owned market seems a popular route, especially for products that cost a fortune to buy new, is it the same for luxury watches? Who buys an expensive timepiece in this way without physically seeing it first? It could be that you have to make a decision based on a few photographs and a bit of description, and then there’s the need to decide if your seller is trustworthy enough. 

Luxe Watches is the UK’s leading omnichannel independent retailer, specifically focused on buying and re-selling pre-owned luxury watches. The retailer encourages customers to sell their watch or jewellery and use it as collateral for a part-exchange.

Because the Essex-based boutique understands that a customer wants guarantees of condition and authenticity before a purchase – as this could mean buying and selling from opposite ends of the country – it has invested in an incredibly useful tool that provides a market valuation within 60 seconds for Rolex brands. 

Sell Your Rolex is the technology that makes it possible for the pre-owned market to be attractive in terms of investment. Rather than worry and debate whether buyers are genuine on the grey market and the prices they’re being charged, they can get an instant watch valuation using the new tool. All they need to do is input their watch brand and model, with a few notes about tis condition and paperwork and they get a good estimate for price.

To proceed with a sale, a buyer simply books an appointment to visit the boutique or post the watch down securely. When Luxe Watches receives the watch, it is inspected and the company provides a final binding offer based on its authenticity and condition. If the buyer is happy they can have the cash transferred to their bank in less than five days.

Since the tool’s launch in September 2020, the retailer has spent more than £4 million with the public and aims to buy at least 90% of its stock from the public, as opposed to relying on trade shows. This is partly a reaction to Brexit and covid travel restrictions making selling and buying more difficult but more importantly, it’s a way of supporting the growth of the UK GDP after many physical stores were forced to close as a result of the covid pandemic.

Luxe Watches goes beyond standard pre-loved sales by offering clients a full 360 service, which includes in-house watch servicing – so a great option and reassurance for those who may be nervous about buying pre-owned. There’s no need to worry about drop shipping either as you know you have a representative there to manage the whole process. You’re more likely to get authenticity verification, a warranty and a return policy. When you buy from a genuine pre-worn dealer, you’re paying for the watch and the service. 

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