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QUICKFIRE Q&A: Danny Shahid’s watch business goes from strength to strength in Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade

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As the secondary market booms, WatchPro catches up with Danny Shahid who has recently moved his Diamond Watches London business into Mayfair’s Burlington Arcade.

Making the most of social media and now a prime retail position, Rob Corder sits down with Mr Shahid to learn more about the business and how it operates.

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When did you actually open your doors?

We opened our doors on the first day in April when non-essential shops were allowed to open but prior to that we actually opened on the 10th of December and had a week and a half of trade before we had to close again.

I remember we were open on the weekend and before we knew it the news had come up which told us we had to close on the following Monday.

So have you had to operate out of your car for the past year?

We’ve had a few people come in for some socially distanced appointments but we haven’t really been operating from the shop. Our main focus was to get the store ready so that’s what we were trying to achieve throughout the pandemic.

Luckily we were able to open for December 10th to serve clients in person but unfortunately we had to close again, so we had a lot of time off.

Have you managed to do much buying and selling then?

We’ve been doing a lot of buying which has allowed us to get some incredible stock ready for the shop, we have a lot of rare and highly sought after watches.

What’s the market been like in the last year?

The market’s gone absolutely crazy. I was speaking to a client just an hour ago who came in for a platinum Daytona with a plain dial. Just before COVID that watch was trading for around £45k give or take, maybe even £50k depending on what the condition was like.

Today, that watch is worth £100k and that sums up just how crazy things have gone in terms of the market, especially with Rolex. The prices have well and truly gone through the roof.

The yellow gold Daytona with the green dial, for example, went from being worth £40k to £80k overnight.

Green is the new trend, with the likes of AP releasing a new green range in the last month or so. AP even released a 44mm Offshore and the whole thing is green. I do think green is the colour of the moment, along with the eternally classic blue.

Have you got your eye on any brands that seem to be really warming up?

There are a lot which are very popular the moment. FP Journe is a prime example, you can’t get anything from the 80s from them right now.

Audemars Piguet is another one, Richard Mille too and of course Cartier are all performing well in this market.

What should we be looking out for?

Ladies are buying more watches now which is cool and it is a big mixture in terms of what they are going for. A lot actually buy men’s watches and go for larger dials, as well as unisex models and still the traditional smaller dials, which is interesting.

What does it feel like to be here in the centuries old Burlington Arcade?

It feels wonderful. When I moved to London when I was 16, I remember walking through the arcade with my uncle and I said to him this is where we need to be, this is the place. Ever since then it’s just been a dream of mine to open up a store here.

So yes, it’s fantastic being a part of the Burlington Arcade. It feels luxurious and it’s very prestigious.

How do you source watches for DWL?

I made a broadcast list on WhatsApp and that has really taken off. I’ve got 88,000 followers on Instagram and I thought, how can I speak to them directly?

We put out a couple of posts about the WhatsApp list, promoted it a little and now I think we’ve got nearly 5,000 people. This allows me to send out a message to all of them about a watch and it can be sold within minutes.

The broadcast really is the next big thing for us because it isn’t like a group chat either, it is a broadcast message which goes out to all of those people privately and allows us to keep that business at a direct level.

Social media is a big thing for us. We’ve got three pages and collectively I think we’ve got nearly 130,000 followers. It’s the way of the world these days!

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