eBay says it will be a kingmaker for any watch brand that takes a punt on a formal partnership

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eBay says the first significant watch brand that forges a formal partnership with the global ecommerce platform will reap the greatest benefits.

James Hendy, senior director of eBay Authenticate, which launched a service to check the authenticity of luxury watches listed on the site in September, tells WatchPro that brands could create an instant, trusted secondary marketplace for their inventory.

“If the brands decide to engage with a juggernaut like eBay and have control of how they look and feel, then I think first-in and best-dressed will win the day. Any watch brand that decides to be first to market on eBay will gain velocity and grow their secondary market very quickly; much more quickly than if they tried to build it themselves,” Mr Hendy says in WatchPro‘s Big Interview that will be published in the November edition.

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Watch brands are starting to show interest in working with ecommerce marketplaces like eBay, Chrono24 and Chronext because of their global reach and rich customer data.

But brands taking the plunge risk alienating existing retail partners, as demonstrated by the bust up between Nomos and Wempe when the German brand signed Chrono24 and Chronext as official partners.

Mr Hendy suggests that the benefit of reaching eBay’s global customer base of 125 million active buyers, outweigh the risks. He points to the example of Adidas, which runs its own digital concession on eBay as proof that brands can protect their image while on eBay.

“We do it with Adidas, which has a branded store on eBay that is a phenomenal success. It is end of line inventory, overstocked inventory. Customers come to eBay but know they are buying direct from Adidas, which controls how the store looks, and makes all of the customers’ concerns go away. It is only a matter of time before watch brands make the same play,” he says.

The watch authentication service has been running for almost two months. It started with around 7,000 watches sold by eBay’s four best luxury watch retailers. The retailers, rather than individual watches, were interrogated by a third party inspector, which cleared the businesses to label their listed watches as authenticated by eBay.

eBay claims to be the biggest digital platform in the world for luxury watches with sales in excess of $1.2 billion. The global secondary market for watches is estimated to be worth more than $5 billion, a figure that Mr Hendy believes will double within the next five years.


Wempe cuts ties with Nomos in protest at deals with Chrono24 and Chronext

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Rob Corder

The author Rob Corder