Why Are Industry Bigwigs Entering The Pre-Owned Market?

02 May, 2023 Chat 0
Why Are Industry Bigwigs Entering The Pre-Owned Market?

With each passing year, the luxury watch market continues to attain success in full throttle. Even so, the surging trend of the global pre-owned watch market making big figures is enticing enough for top watch brands to roll up their sleeves. Luxury watches symbolise tasteful choice and class, and consumer behaviour leans towards this opulent indulgence, leading to the pre-owned watch market becoming a big player. As though the demand for luxury timepieces continues to soar, the supply of new watches remains traditionally limited. This gap between supply and demand has led to the rise of the pre-owned watch market, where horological enthusiasts can purchase high-end timepieces otherwise unavailable in retail. The production of luxury watches is limited due to various factors, such as exclusivity and production intricacies. As a result, we come across long waiting lists, limited edition releases, and high prices for new watches, making them difficult to attain for many. Subsequently, interest in pre-owned watches is a burgeoning trend in the industry. The market offers a wider selection of watches from luxury brands, including vintage timepieces, limited editions, and discontinued models. It allows consumers to own a unique and rare piece that may not be available through new watch purchases.

Why Do Consumers Today Feel Comfortable Indulging In Pre-owned Watches?

Earlier, the concept of second-hand watches evoked images of back alley deals over fake replicas. However, today’s market has transcended into maintaining clarity with so much knowledge and information, resulting in buyers always making an informed decision. Also, the second-hand watch market is a melting pot for finding rare and vintage watches.

In the early days of the pre-owned watch market, there were serious concerns about authenticity, transparency, and industry compliance. However, in the last decade with the rise of platforms like Second Movement that provide a safe and transparent marketplace for consumers, such concerns have gradually subsided.

At Second Movement, compliance and transparency are at the forefront of their operations. The platform has a rigorous authentication process in place to ensure that all watches sold on our marketplace are 100% genuine. We have a team of experts who carefully inspect and verify each timepiece using a combination of advanced technology and traditional watchmaking techniques. Furthermore, Second Movement encourages buyers to ask as many questions as they like about the watches they are interested in. The platform has a dedicated team of experts available to answer any questions or concerns the buyers may have, allowing them to make a confident purchase.

Second Movement - Powered By Ethos Watch Boutiques
In the last decade, with the rise of platforms like Second Movement that provide a safe and transparent marketplace for consumers, any concerns about authenticity, transparency, and industry compliance have subsided

The transparency and compliance measures by platforms like us have been a game-changer for the pre-owned watch market. Buyers can now purchase high-end timepieces with the peace of mind that they are authentic.

How Brands Plan To Penetrate The Pre-Owned Watch Market?

Brands are channelising the pre-owned market by taking ownership of their old, used watches under certified pre-owned programmes. The enormous potential of the pre-owned market is observed as almost cataclysmic for watch retailers and brands. These brands have raised their eyebrows and are taking steps to get a hold of this market, as there is a prediction that the second-hand watch market will eventually outsell new models in the next decade, with interesting studies going around stating that the vintage watch market could hit an all-time high of $85 billion by 2033.

This is where big names like Rolex enter to spread their wings and start taking matters into their hands. The house announced its Certified Pre-Owned Programme in 2022. Under this programme, the maison offers enthusiasts the opportunity to purchase pre-owned Rolex watches that have undergone rigorous inspections and refurbishment by the brand’s accredited watchmakers. These watches come with a two-year warranty and a certificate of authenticity.

Pre-owned Rolex watches
Big brands like Rolex are channelising the pre-owned market as its shows enormous potential for growth and profitability (Image credit: Rolex)

Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henry Bennahmias quoted in 2018 that “Second-hand is the next big thing in the watch industry.” Subsequently, earlier this year, the maison announced its certified pre-owned program, to be launched by the end of 2023. Miss Tweed, who reported the announcement made at a luxury recruitment conference in Paris, also quoted Bennahmias saying, “The CPO business is going to be bigger than the new business.”

Second-hand is the next big thing in the watch industry.

François-Henry Bennahmias, CEO Audemars Piguet—

While these two giants have made a move quite recently, another haute horlogerie brand took measures way before. F.P. Journe, a brand known for technical prowess in the watchmaking business, launched its certified pre-owned program for watches in 2016, calling it the ‘Patrimoine program.’ the maison repurchases vintage F.P. Journe offers to service these watches and provide it with a guarantee card, box, and a warranty of three years. Similarly, MB&F has proliferated the pre-owned watch market since 2018 with a full-fledged certified pre-owned watch program for its customers. The founder of MB&F, Max Büsser, throws his hat in the game to curate out-of-production timepieces by repurchasing, refurbishing, and reselling them.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
Audemars Piguet announced that its certified pre-owned program is set to launch by the end of 2023

While the rumours flew around about Vacheron Constantin entering space for a while, it did in 2018. Calling it the Les Collectionneurs, it acquires select vintage watches for restoration and resale. After Cartier, a subsidiary of Richemont, initiated its trade-in service to allow consumers to sell their watches. It designated Watchfinder as its official pre-owned partner and offers benefits like a two-year warranty issued directly by Cartier. Finally, Jaeger-LeCoultre has also stepped in with their very own The Collectibles line in 2023, a selection of rare timepieces in mint condition through their pre-owned program. It allows users to own rare collectable watches with a three-year warranty and service.

Summing Up

The potential for growth and profitability was the reason that lured Richemont to acquire the pre-owned watch platform Watchfinder & Co. in 2018. By entering the pre-owned market, luxury watch brands can also tap into a younger generation of consumers who are more interested in sustainable and environmentally conscious options. Buying pre-owned watches reduces the need for new production, which can help reduce the industry’s carbon footprint. Overall, the pre-owned watch market presents a significant opportunity for luxury watch brands to expand their customer base and increase their profits while also contributing to a more sustainable future.


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