Second Time Around
Pointers to help you capture your local share of the huge vintage
A growing number of fine watch owners are looking for places to trade
or sell their timepieces often to trade up or buy another model. But
many have no place to go locally yet.
Perhaps your store could become such a location. Some retailers have
learned in recent years it can pay to offer trade-in allowances to regular
watch customers. Others go beyond trade-ins and seek out watch sellers or
watch wholesalers to stock a newly created vintage watch department.
One such retailer, Govberg Watches & Fine Jewelry, Philadelphia,
PA, did it with exceptional results. Govberg's vintage watch sales, begun
only a few years ago, now comprise 14% of the $5 million annual sales volume
at its downtown store. (Govberg is willing to help retailers interested
in the vintage watch market.)
Despite the growing demand, far too few retail jewelers have entered
the lucrative vintage watch market, says co-owner Danny Govberg. "As
a result, too many consumers let an old watch sit in the drawer because
they don't know where to sell or trade it," he says.
But these vintage watch enthusiasts do have some options, including flea
markets, watch-only retail outlets and Internet sales and auction sites.
In fact, strong demand for vintage watches on the Internet and satellite
television shows is a clear sign consumers aren't finding what they need
in jewelry stores, says Dan Gendron of Dan Gendron Horology, Grant's Pass,
OR. "Why should a jeweler send customers to these outlets when the
customers expect full service from the jewelers?" he asks. "Too
often retailers have one bad experience with watch repair and decide to
drop the entire business."
Gendron says his own experience proves that taking trade-ins can become
a profit center (see the box for a half-dozen tips). "Any size jewelry
store can sell vintage watches successfully," he says.
Govberg's, (215) 564-6141. Dan Gendron Horology, (541) 471-8547.
Vintage Sales Suggestions
- Select one employee to learn the vintage market pricing structure.
- Customers will likely be your primary inventory source. Use direct
mail or discuss your services with them while they're in the store.
- If you don't have your own watchmaker, work out repair/restoration,
cleaning and delivery terms in advance with your watch repair contractor.
- Use the expertise of your watchmaker or repair contractor to advise
you on specific timepieces. Many are familiar with quality used-watch sources.
- Create a separate showcase for the vintage watch department. Place
it near the repair center if possible.
- Join the American Watchmakers-Clockmakers Institute, (513) 367-9800
or www.awi-net.org; the National
Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, (717) 684-8261 or www.nawcc.org; or your state watchmakers/clockmakers
association. Attend their regional shows to meet sources, obtain watches
and learn about the market.
by Michael Thompson
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.