Generation Z develops a new appreciation for luxury watches.  – Corpradar

Generation Z develops a new appreciation for luxury watches. 

Swiss watches are in high demand these days, but sales of second-hand watches are also on the rise as Gen Z buyers want luxury items that are also durable.

According to an October study by auditing and consulting giant Deloitte, the global used watch market is estimated to be worth nearly 20 billion Swiss francs ($21.7 billion) and could reach 35 billion francs by 2030. 

Historically a province where collectors seek rare watches at auctions, the second-hand market is becoming increasingly professional with the proliferation of online sales sites that verify authenticity, even according to the watchmakers themselves.

“There is an awareness today that we have to spend more responsibly,” said Fabienne Lupo, former head of the Fondation Alta Horologie, which organized a luxury used watch salon in Geneva in November.

The event was attended by online auction giant eBay, watch sales platform Watchbox, and Swiss brands such as Zenith.

Never say the word “new” again.

Lupo said the pre-owned watch craze is driven by the consumer choices of Millennials (born in the late 1980s and early 1990s) and Generation Z (born 1997–2010), who are “very worried” about the future of the planet and no longer want to buy new.
Fashion also includes vintage items “that you can’t find everywhere,” he said.

And  certain Swiss luxury watches are becoming increasingly popular. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to buy new as the market expands and waiting lists grow longer. The Swiss Watch Industry Association said Tuesday that Swiss watch exports will hit a new record in 2022, growing 11.4 percent per year to 24.8 billion Swiss francs.

“And then there is digitization, which accelerated with the pandemic,” Lupo told AFP.
The second-hand watch market has grown so much that British online platform Subdial has developed an index tracking the 50 best-selling models.
The average price fell from a record high of 45,000 Swiss francs in February 2022 to 35,000 francs in September, which Deloitte called a “correction” and not a sign of a market contraction.

Certified pre-owned (CPO) watch sales platforms are proliferating online, and the industry continues to attract new entrants, including the US website Bezel, whose investors include former Disney chairman Michael Ovitz, comedian Kevin Hart, and singer John Legend.
Luxury giant Richemont, which owns the brands Cartier, IWC, and Piaget, already entered the market in 2018 by purchasing the British Watchfinder platform.

Rolex also took a step in December to pull the rug out from under counterfeiters by launching a CPO programme with Swiss retailer Bucherer, which certifies watches.
The programme is established in six countries, including the UK and France, and aims to expand to the US in the future.
Monitor your image
“Watchmakers used to worry about the aftermarket because it was closely related to the grey market, where you could find cheap watches,” said Jon Cox, an industry analyst at financial services firm Kepler Cheuvreux.
“But they understand that strong secondary prices have a halo effect that increases the brand value of primary watches,” he told AFP.
For high-end luxury brands like Richard Mille, whose average prices exceed 260,000 Swiss francs, second-hand watches are even a way to improve their image.

“We may have a customer who tells us, “It was a limited edition of 100 watches; it’s always been my dream to buy one, and now I have the money, but you don’t make them anymore, and they’re almost impossible to find,” said Alexandre Mille, who took over from his father, who founded the brand.

Who says his teams can’t go shopping?
According to Deloitte research, buying a cheaper watch was the main motivation for
percent of respondents. But Cox also noted that second-hand watches were “a storehouse of wealth” that had been “used and displayed for years but still retained value for resale to be replaced by another watch.”

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