Swiss-based brand MB&F is looking to capitalise on a new market segment, dedicating a full section of its website to pre-owned timepieces.
The ‘Pre-Owned Chapter’ went live last week, with a curated selection of limited edition pieces up for grabs, some of which have sold already.
Speaking exclusively to WatchPro, MB&F said how, although the profit margin is minor, the move will bring wider benefits to the company and will be ‘essential’ in building a strong brand.
“You might wonder why MB&F would endorse the sale of pre-owned pieces with virtually no profit margin rather than focusing on brand new products,” said Charris Yadigaroglou, chief communications officer. “The answer is simple. We believe that a strong brand is a brand that has a strong second-hand market.
“Indeed, the profit margin is minor. To take an example, let’s imagine a collector bought a new piece five years ago, for CHF 100,000. That collector has several MB&F pieces, along with many other watches, and decides after those five years that he’d like to sell the piece.
“We’re interested because it’s a rare, sold-out piece and because other collectors have regularly informed us that they’re looking for one. We therefore buy it back for maybe CHF 75,000. Add the shipping, the insurance, the servicing, if we’re lucky we end up with a piece ready to put on our ‘Pre-owned Chapter’, which cost us maybe CHF 85,000. We offer it at CHF 90,000, 10% under the retail price. Add the final free shipping to the new owner plus the work involved with photographing, filming and putting the piece on our website, and it’s easy to understand why the margin is minor, so the benefits are indeed elsewhere.”
The brand also said it was ‘committed’ to supporting its products in the long term and not just selling as many watches as possible, but did recognise that a second-hand purchase may free up cash to be spent on a new timepiece.
With an MB&F Certified Pre-Owned timepiece, collectors will get a service and case refurbishment conducted by the brand’s watchmakers, plus a two-year unconditional warranty and free shipping across the globe.
MB&F is not the only luxury watch brand that has noticed the increasing demand and interest in the pre-owned watch market.
Last month Bonham’s told WatchPro that its watch auctions had tripled in value, with global head of watches at the London auction house, Jonathon Darracott, saying that the second hand market had “exploded”.