Speculation is rife that the pre-owned watch market will continue to consolidate this year, with Chrono24 and CHRONEXT both rumoured to be courting acquirers or preparing for initial public offerings.
That would come after two significant acquisitions in the United States in the past 12 months of Crown & Caliber by Hodinkee and Analogue Shift by Watches of Switzerland Group.
News of the latest deal broke this morning with Watchmaster, a major pre-owned specialist headquartered (like Chrono24 and CHRONEXT) in Germany, acquiring Paris-based Montres Modernes et de Collection (MMC).
“Like us, MMC is 100% specialised in certified pre-owned (CPO) luxury watches,” says Watchmaster CEO Tim-Hendrik Meyer.
“We are very glad that our famous French counterpart is now part of the Watchmaster family. This will enable us to extend our presence in France as well as our overall physical retail footprint. We are planning on leveraging the decades of experience in offline retail which MMC brings to the table in order to open additional boutiques in Europe over the years to come.”
Watchmaster, which was founded in 2015, employs 70 people and now lists around 2,000 pre-owned watches for sale on a typical day.
MMC has been trading far longer, over three decades, and has a particular strength at the top end of the pre-owned watch market with a majority of watches selling for over €25,000 from its Paris showroom.
The company has its own workshop and employs two watchmakers.
Sophian Hamdi, the nephew of MMC’s founder Eric Hamdi, remains at the helm and will join the Watchmaster management team. Eric Hamdi take a step back but still be available as a senior advisor to the company.
“With the know-how of Watchmaster, its state-of-the-art IT infrastructure and its efficient processes, we are now able to get our company ready for the future and to pivot towards a more digital model,” says Sophian Hamdi.
“Watchmaster meets all the criteria to manage and grow M.M.C in accordance with my vision. The spirit and the ingredients which have made the company so successful since 1994 will remain,” Eric Hamdi adds.
In addition to the main MMV boutique, Watchmaster is also taking over a second location close by in Rue de la Renaissance, which will become a second physical showroom.
“Since Brexit, we have witnessed a surge in demand within the EU in countries like Sweden, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Austria, and, mostly, France”, Mr Meyer comments.
“With our newly-established local presence, we want to accelerate this growth trend in France. I would like to particularly thank our investor OLMA who introduced us to MMC and helped to negotiate the acquisition.”
Expansion into France follows the recent opening of an office and showroom in London.