"We designed WatchBox's platform to operate without many of the constraints of traditional retail and we've been able to support our clients' needs remotely during the pandemic while also gaining market share," remarked Reis. "E-commerce typically implies an impersonal experience, yet our success is largely attributed to a 'high-tech meets high-touch approach,' cultivating the bond between our clients and trusted client advisors, especially when transacting in watches valued over $15,000. This strategy enabled us to thrive throughout the lockdown period; while our offices and boutiques around the world were closed, our services were still readily accessible to clients, even as most of our staff worked from home."
In the first half of 2020, WatchBox completed over 16,000 transactions, which includes watches both bought and sold, with an average selling price (ASP) for pre-owned timepieces rising from $12,000 to $18,000 (USD) during this period; ASP in Asia trended approximately twice as high at $32,000. More than 20 percent of global transactions were valued at over $10,000, with the highest value of a single watch sold during this period of over $600,000. Growth drivers included unprecedented demand and rising secondary market values from top-tier brands, as well as a notable growth in both first-time buyers and units sold in the sub-$10,000 category. In addition, WatchBox cited increased activity from returning customers and multi-unit transactions, with the highest multi-unit single transaction value exceeding $3 million USD during this period.
WatchBox was founded in 2017 by Reis, Danny Govberg, and Liam Wee Tay on the extraordinary potential of the pre-owned watch sector, and the company has since played a significant role in disrupting and transforming the perception of the pre-owned market worldwide, with offices in the United States, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Dubai. Reis brings decades of experience in private equity and strategic mergers and acquisitions to his recently appointed position, with a proven track record of leading multichannel businesses through periods of transition and accelerated growth. He emphasized a mission to advance the company's media presence, digital strategy, and omni-channel capabilities while continuing to improve its already-profitable bottom line, and affirmed WatchBox's commitment to offer global consumers a trustworthy, efficient, and safe solution for buying, selling, and trading pre-owned timepieces.
"The luxury market and online retail are expected to be profoundly transformed by the global pandemic, requiring brands and retailers to reexamine their business models," added Govberg, co-founder and Executive Chairman of WatchBox. "Justin has been an amazing friend and partner in launching WatchBox with a business model that is well-suited for our times. His passion, energy, international experience, and track record of successfully leading direct-to-consumer businesses through periods of transformation will be invaluable as we continue to execute our growth plans. I am pleased with our first-half performance and look forward to continued success in the years to come."