Have you noticed that the watch collecting community is rarely whispering about the so-called “gray market” these days, and has instead become deeply engaged with discovering valuable pre-owned watches, hunting down prized “unicorn” timepieces, and embracing the thrill of side-stepping the impossible wait lists for certain new models? Chrono24 has not only been at the vanguard of this widespread change in values and shopping preferences worldwide; it has also continued to improve the experience for its consumers since its founding in 2003.
Chrono24 puts a steadfast priority on making sure its community is set up for success, to buy and sell pre-owned luxury watches safely and with total security and trust — from more than 3,000 pre-vetted dealers across 100 countries, and an approximate 30,000 private sellers. The company takes pride in its vast, proprietary online security measures that have been integral in getting the watch industry, a business often notoriously slow in adapting to new technologies, to finally embrace e-commerce.
The 18-year-old company attributes its own spike in demand for pre-owned watches to evolving consumer values, which are now more embracing of luxury resale and an expanded life cycle for a product, and as a direct response to luxury watch brands’ continued patterns of strategic discontinuations and novelties. In fact, the correlation between rumors and exit announcements on Chrono24 is radically swift and quite apparent — showing both demand and value for pre-owned models soaring with a “get it before it’s gone” mentality.
“Pre-owned watches are perhaps the best example of the staying power of luxury resale,” comments Chrono24 Co-CEO Tim Stracke. “Watch lovers are undeniably one of the most passionate collector groups on the planet. Now we see luxury brands playing into the chatter, teasing rumors and both discontinuations and novelties. More than ever, watches can be looked at as a financial commodity – where rumors perpetuate fluctuations in value, and skyrocketing demand immediately impacts valuation, especially in the pre-owned marketplace.”
Chrono24 offers best-in-class buyer protection, pre-vetted dealers and sellers, a 14-day money-back guarantee, and a free escrow service on nearly every watch sold, regardless of pricepoint — all part of Chrono24’s “Buyer Protection” — a contrast to other online marketplaces that sell watches but offer this service only at the high-end level. It’s a system designed to fully protect buyers and ensure transactions happen smoothly.
When shoppers set up their free account, they receive instant access to some of the best tools Chrono24 has to offer. Among them are the personalized Watch Collection, to which they can add any watch of interest, using its reference number or model name, to a personal “Followed Watches” Notepad; and a view of their watches’ Estimated Worth, calculated according to various pricing information, including final sale prices as well as current offer prices on Chrono24 (including past offers when needed). Even more helpful, users logged into their Chrono24 account on any device can view the “Progress of Estimated Worth” – a user-friendly graph showcasing the value trajectory on their model of choice over the time frame of their choice. This can help potential buyers make the decision of when to make their purchase.
When U.S. collectors shop watches above a $13,000 pricepoint, they have the option to interact with Chrono24’s Private Client Advisors service — real life, FHH-certified watch professionals who can easily be engaged as a sounding board or to answer technical questions
Chrono24 (with an app available for iOS and Android devices) works hard to ensure that only trustworthy dealers with a high security standard do business on its platform. It has a dedicated ‘Quality and Security’ team, made up of more than 40 members. Feedback from the hundreds of thousands of Chrono24’s buyers since its inception also plays an integral role in continual monitoring of dealer security, even after initial approval. Plus, 90% of the half a million watches currently for sale on the Chrono24 platform are earmarked with the company’s signature “Buyer Protection” icon, allowing the transaction to be fully secure. For all of these approximately 450,000 watches, buyers and sellers enjoy the bonus security of the aforementioned Escrow Service. Once payment is received in escrow, the seller ships the watch, insured for its full value. And only if the recipient wants extra, extra assurance in his/her buy: upon receipt, the buyer then has 14 days to inspect the watch personally or via a local watchmaker or appraiser before escrow funds are transferred to the seller. This “Worldwide 14 Day Right of Withdrawal ” enables buyers to recoup their entire purchase price quickly and easily should they have any issues. If any further assistance is needed, customers can be assured of reaching one of the 50+ real humans comprising Chrono24’s customer service team in both Chrono24’s German and NYC offices – no bots here. They speak over 22 languages and handle everything from fraud prevention and mediation to support and account management.
The luxury resale boom has resulted in consumers becoming more astute, value-conscious and enjoying the security of their liquidity. Knowing that many watches retain (or even grow) in worth, and that they have these trustworthy tools and services on their side allows them to transact confidently. Prior to Covid-19, luxury apparel and accessories consignment grew to $24 billion, and by 2023 the industry is projected to reach the size of $51 billion. With many consumers moving away from the idea of holding possessions for a whole lifetime, luxury resale has become a formidable market space, substantially accelerating beyond the growth rate of (new product) e-commerce.
Finally, watch lovers can also visit Chrono24’s YouTube channel for a special chance to win a $10,000 site credit to put toward their dream watch! All you have to do is subscribe to the Chrono24 YouTube channel, and leave a comment in the comments section with your picks for the five different price categories mentioned in the video. Winner will be announced via social media, so stay tuned!