Pre-owned watch market could be worth half a trillion dollars says Watchbox

WatchBox chairman Tay Liam Wee talking about the pre-owned market.

There could be up to $500 billion worth of luxury watches that could be sold on the secondary market, says Tay Liam Wee co-founder of WatchBox.

In an interview with Squawk Box on CNBC Asia, Tay Liam Wee, co-founder and chairman of WatchBox, discussed his beliefs around the pre-owned watch market and how he and Danny Govberg see it overtaking the new watch market.

Goverberg Jewelers in Philadelphia, an agent for around 50 Swiss watch brands including Rolex and Patek Philippe, says turnover for its pre-owned business, trading online as Watchbox, is three times higher than its new watch business, and growing.

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Mr Govberg told WatchPro in the past that the potential of the pre-owned luxury watch market is almost limitless because they do not age like second hand cars.

“People do not understand pre-owned properly. They think of it like second hand cars, which it is not. A second hand car after 15 years is truly only good for scrap. But a watch should last 100 years, so if a watch is four years old and its owner has taken care of it, then it is just starting out in life,” Mr Govberg explains.

“In five to ten years, the pre-owned market will be bigger than the entire wristwatch market,” he predicts.

Mr Wee takes this one step further in the interview, explaining that the Swiss export around 40-50 billion dollars-worth of new watches every year. He states that in the last 10-15 years, this puts the pre-owned market at a valuation of between 400 and 500 billion dollars.

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