(Bloomberg) -- Chrono24, the biggest online watch marketplace, said Rolex’s decision to certify its pre-owned timepieces for resale by authorized dealers will boost sales as it legitimizes the secondhand market.
“It will incentivize even more first-time buyers to try to get their hands on their first Swiss trophy timepiece,” Chrono24 Co-CEO Tim Stracke said.
Geneva-based Rolex launched a program last week to certify pre-owned watches for resale through its dealer network. The watches must be at least three years old and will be guaranteed by Rolex for an additional two years. Rolex certified pre-owned watches will only be sold by authorized dealers, beginning with Swiss retailer Bucherer and then others next year.
E-commerce platforms like Chrono24, Richemont’s Watchfinder and major used-Rolex dealers such as Bob’s Watches in the US won’t be eligible for the program. Still, online resellers expect to get a boost from increased interest in Rolex.
Stracke said Rolex’s decision is an acknowledgment of the importance of the pre-owned watch market that is worth about $20 billion and is expected to grow to $35 billion by 2030, according to Deloitte.
“This announcement will only fan the flames of demand for Rolex on our platform, and we’re very excited to see how Geneva’s other luxury brands will respond,” Stracke said.
There are about 30 million used Rolex watches in circulation and the brand accounts for 40% of sales transactions on Chrono24.
The e-commerce site’s sales volumes rose 43% in the first six months of the year. That comes even as prices for the most sought-after Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet watches have fallen sharply since March.
Chrono24 has a valuation of more than $1 billion and is considering selling shares to the public in an initial public offering. It has financial backing from LVMH-owner Bernard Arnault’s family investment company, Aglae Ventures, General Atlantic, Insight Partners and Sprints Capital.
Paul Altieri, the founder and CEO of Bob’s Watches in the US, said Rolex’s jump into the pre-owned market shows the brand wants its “fair slice” of the profits from secondhand sales. The company, which specializes in selling used Rolex, expects revenue of more than $120 million this year.
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