UPDATED: eBay protects payments on luxury watch transactions of over $10,000

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Close to 8 million luxury watches were listed for sale on eBay in 2020, the company has revealed. That is a figure worth repeating and putting in context. If the average sale price was $2,000 and they all sold, eBay had the potential to generate $16 billion in luxury watch sales last year for its community of sellers.

The entire Swiss watch industry exports around 20 million watches per year.

Rolex is thought to make around 1 million watches per year. eBay has 1.2 million daily live listings of luxury watches.


You get the idea. eBay’s luxury watch operation potentially dwarfs every other retail group or watch brand in the world, and it is not done yet.

Last year the company launched an Authenticity Guarantee in the United States and Japan, which means every watch priced at over $2,000 will be physically checked by experts on its way from a seller to a buyer.

This week it has added escrow to marketplace payment options for luxury watches selling for over $10,000, protecting that payment until buyer and seller are completely satisfied with the transaction.

It works like this:

At checkout, if a shopper decides to purchase a qualifying luxury watch using escrow, they will be directed from eBay to Escrow.com’s website where they will receive step-by-step instructions for creating an account. Both buyers and sellers must have an account in order to send and receive payments; it is a one-time process and all data is privately shared between Escrow and the buyer or seller.

The buyer funds an account via wire transfer or ACH electronic check, which is managed by Escrow.com as an intermediary. Funds are released by the third party to the seller once the item is received by the buyer in the condition described in the listing and terms of the transaction agreement are met to the satisfaction of both parties. They are protected against fraudulent customers through verification checks and payment being held by a third party in case of a return allowing sellers five days to inspect the merchandise and release funds to customers if the merchandise matches the original condition.

After receiving their watch from the authenticator, the buyer will have up to seven days to inspect and examine the watch before accepting the item. Once accepted, or if the seven-day inspection period has passed, returns will not be available. In the event of a return, the watch is shipped back to the third party for verification and funds are then released to the customer if the merchandise matches the original condition.

“We are changing the way people buy and sell luxury items on eBay,” says Tirath Kamdar, general manager of Luxury at eBay. “When it comes to high value watches and other significant purchases, consumers expect additional assurances. eBay is committed to providing the best experience, from start to finish, and our new offerings will continue to deliver on that promise.”

Since launching its Authenticity Guarantee last year, more than 7,000 luxury watches priced at more than $10,000 were sold on eBay.

Nearly 80,000 new, pre-owned and vintage watches are marked with the Authenticity Guarantee badge on eBay.com.

“As a long-time leader in the luxury watch space with more than 1.2 million daily live listings, eBay offers an unmatched selection of timepieces — from rare, vintage watches to new styles from coveted brands like Rolex, Omega, Tag Heuer and more,” says Charis Márquez, vice president of fashion at eBay. “We’ve seen a tremendous uptick in interest for luxury watches this past year, with more than 22 million site searches for Cartier, and more than 15 million for Tag Heuer. Escrow joins Authenticity Guarantee as eBay’s response to that growing appetite,” she adds.

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