eBay says it will authenticate every watch sold in the United States priced at over $2,000.
Third party authentication firms will do a multi-point inspection and proof of authentication process on every watch.
The Authenticity Guarantee builds on an initiative called eBay Authenticate, which offered a level of security because only professional and vetted pre-owned watch companies could be part of the program.
Authenticity Guarantee, which will launch in the autumn, is a much bigger offer because it protects transactions between individuals — consumer to consumer as eBay calls it — and the holy grail of online marketplaces.
No date has been given for when the service will be expanded to outside the United States.
Tirath Kamdar, GM of luxury at eBay, insists it will be possible to authenticate every watch after it is sold on the platform and before it reaches a customer.
That is quite a claim given the scale of eBay’s luxury watch marketplace. A search today for “Rolex” filtered with a price of $2,000 upwards, yielded 35,366 results. Customers will need to be in the United States to get the Authenticity Guarantee.
Authentication takes place after purchase and before a watch is shipped to the customer. It is routed to a third-party authenticator for thorough assessment and, once verified, is sent via expedited, two-day shipping from the authenticator facility to the customer with signature confirmation upon delivery, all of which is covered by eBay.
Inspectors will check each watch is consistent with the listing title, description, and images, then a multi-point physical authentication inspection is performed, including:
- External inspection: Assessment of the crown, bezel, dial, case, clasp/buckle, hands, crystal, end links and serial number.
- Internal inspection: Movement verification and a water pressure test before and after opening the case back.
Finally, a security tag is attached to the watch. All items verified as authentic come with an “Authenticity Guarantee” card detailing information such as the brand, model, reference number, movement type, case material, bracelet type, and serial number, as applicable.