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Earnings rise by 25% at WatchBox as covid drives watch lovers online

Watchbox

Pre-owned luxury watch specialist WatchBox says that strong revenue growth during the first six months of 2020 helped the company increase profits by 25%.

One of the company’s co-founders, Justin Reis, who moved from Singapore to resume the role of global CEO at its head office in Philadelphia in January, says that the closure of traditional brick and mortar stores across the world during the covid quarter pushed customers towards ecommerce operations like WatchBox.

“We designed WatchBox’s platform to operate without many of the constraints of traditional retail and we’ve been able to support our clients’ needs remotely during the pandemic while also gaining market share,” suggests Mr Reis.

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Average transaction values for luxury watches bought on the WatchBox platform have been surging this year.

In the first half of 2020, WatchBox completed over 16,000 transactions, which includes watches both bought and sold, with an average selling price (ASP) for pre-owned timepieces rising from $12,000 to $18,000.

ASPs in Asia were twice as high at $32,000 per watch.

More than 20% of transactions were valued at over $10,000 across the world.

One watch sold for $600,000, a new record for the company, according to WatchBox.

“Ecommerce typically implies an impersonal experience, yet our success is largely attributed to a high-tech meets high-touch approach cultivating the bond between our clients and trusted client advisors, especially when transacting in watches valued over $15,000,” Mr Reis says.

“This strategy enabled us to thrive throughout the lockdown period; while our offices and boutiques around the world were closed, our services were still readily accessible to clients, even as most of our staff worked from home.”

WatchBox Founders Danny Govberg, Liam Wee Tay and Justin Reis.

Danny Govberg, co-founder and executive chairman of WatchBox, told WatchPro back in May that home working had been such a success for his team, he was considering making it a permanent part of the company’s future operations.

Part of this year’s growth and rising ASPs can be attributed to rising secondary market values for unicorn watches from brands including Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and F.P. Journe.

WatchBox says there has also been notable growth in both first-time buyers and units sold in the sub-$10,000 category, but did not provide supporting figures.

There has also been more bulk buying, with one transaction, alone, totaling $3 million for a number of watches.

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Tags : pre-owned watchesSecondary MarketWatchbox
Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder