Just five years’ ago, second hand watches were considered the preserve of Arthur Daley or Derek Trotter types peddling them from the inside of dirty old man macs.
How the world has changed.
This month Bucherer — Europe’s largest and arguably most respected retailer of luxury Swiss Watches — has opened its own certified pre-owned (CPO) gallery at its flagship store in Geneva.
London will get its own CPO Gallery at a Bucherer store that is relocating to a larger location within London’s Covent Garden in the first quarter of next year.
There can be no more powerful statement about the acceptance of pre-owned watches as a legitimate extension of the centuries-old and ultra-conservative Swiss watch industry than Bucherer — founded in Switzerland in 1888 — taking part.
Bucherer has actually been a significant force in pre-owned watches since last year when it bought Tourneau in the United States. That acquisition brought significant expertise on buying and selling second hand watches into the group, and looks to have been instrumental in the decision to bring the practice to Europe.
“We want to redefine the luxury pre-owned watch market and offer these wonderful watches a platform and an environment that they deserve as luxury goods. Bucherer represents tradition, reliability, precision and the credibility required to establish the level of trust with our customers that is necessary for the sale of pre-owned watches while also increasing awareness of CPO (certified pre-owned) amongst the general public,” explains Guido Zumbühl, CEO of the Bucherer Group.
Pre-owned watches have been predominately sold online in Europe, although Watchfinder has rolled out a small network of UK stores.
Bucherer intends to go further, and sees physical space as key to its CPO proposition along with online sales at Bucherer.com.
“What sets us apart from the competition, most of whom focus on online sales, is that we come from distribution and have a strong physical presence through our stores that is echoed online,” says Mr Zumbühl.
Bucherer is offering a two year guarantee for every CPO watch that pledges that it is genuine and in perfect working condition.
The Bucherer Gallery, first seen in Geneva, is a space where collectors will be encouraged to attend events where they can talk and trade watches in a luxury environment with 5-star hospitality.
It invites guests to stay, savour the moment and always discover something new in the world of luxury watches: temporary art exhibitions, an inviting atmosphere that makes the store feel like a living room, a bar, and a carefully curated selection of books and design objects, Bucherer says.
A world-wide roll-out started at the Bucherer boutique in Geneva on September 3 and will be followed by a second on the fifth floor of the flagship store in Zurich in October.
In November 2019, Bucherer is planning to expand its CPO business to the German market at its boutique in Hamburg. London will follow in 2020 with an exclusive project in Covent Garden, after which Bucherer plans to expand to Paris as well.
“We will present our CPO watches in a Bucherer Gallery wherever we have enough space in our boutiques,” says Patrick Graf, chief commercial officer for Bucherer.