Adventures in the Watch Trade- What I learned In 11 Years of Selling Watches.-Part 3

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And here is the final part of this long and sprawling post.

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Right, now you're up to speed. Here's the rest of it.

The Buzz

It was always a good feeling when a customer has tried on numerous watches in different styles and brands and he/she finally makes a decision. Their eyes light up. It’s more noticeable with men, since a wristwatch is a truly male accessory. They smile whenever they look at the watch on their wrist. And as they head for the door with the shopping bag in their hand, I notice that they glance at their wrist a couple of more times before they leave the store. I never got sick of seeing that. And that’s when I knew that I’d done my job properly. For all parties concerned.

Those That Mind Don’t Matter, Those That Matter Don’t Mind

I met some nice people, too. Actually, I met a lot of nice people. They were always a pleasure to deal with and to go that extra mile for. Some of them had similar interests to my own. One guy came in to buy a Breitling and he was wearing a 5513 Submariner. Ahh, my grail watch. He got it in 1975. We got to talking and his wife mentioned that he was a Bond fan and that he even had an Aston Martin. It was an early Seventies DB V8. Cool.

Oh yeah, I dealt with a handful of celebrities over the years, too;

*Sold a watch to Carlos Santana. Nice guy.

*Sold an Oris to Chad Smith, the drummer from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. It was a 44mm Big Crown and he was buying it for lead singer Anthony Kiedis. I told him “The Zephyr Song” was a great tune. He smiled and said “Thanks very much.” He was wearing a Daytona that he’d picked up in Mexico.

*Got Adam Levine’s (from Maroon 5) autograph for one of my female colleagues who was too shy to ask him.

*Spoke to John Mayer about a Chanel J12 that he was looking at. We think that he was shopping around for his then girlfriend, Jessica Simpson. If I had known that he was into watches, we probably would have talked each other’s ears off. He’s actually gotten on a Rolex Forum a few times. The guy knows his Rolex watches.

*One of my co-workers was serving this couple one day. I glanced at them. The girl was pretty. Long blonde hair. Very tall too. After they left, he came over to me and said; “Did you see that couple I was serving? She was in a James Bond film. Her name was uh...Ivana.”

WHAT!!!??? Ivana Milicevic? That was her? And you didn’t call me over?! What’s wrong witchoo!!??

Ivana Milicevic starred in “Casino Royale” (2006) as Le Chiffre’s girlfriend, Valenka.

My one near-brush with a Bond Girl. Dammit. Still, it puts me within six degrees of separation with Bond himself, Daniel Craig. I suppose that’s something.

I guess if he had called me over, I probably would have 86’d any chance of a sale, since I would have spent more time talking about Bond films than watches. Better that he didn’t.

*Liam (or maybe it was Noel) Gallagher from Oasis came in one day with another guy. They headed for the Franck Muller display, looked at it for about fifteen seconds and then one of them said; “They ‘aven’t got it.” And they headed for the door and I never saw them again.

*Australian swimmer Grant Hackett came into the store once. The 2008 Olympics edition of Omega’s Lifetime magazine had been delivered a few days earlier and there was an article inside about US swimmer Michael Phelps. I resisted the temptation to go up the Mr Hackett with the opened magazine and a pen and say in a nasally American accent; “Can I have your autograph?”

*Oh, I forgot. I sold a Longines to somebody who later became Prime Minister.

In the end, it was an okay industry to work in. I like watches, so there were days when it felt like Christmas morning when new stock would arrive in-store and I would unwrap it.
All that was missing were my pyjamas.

But, at the end of the day, it was a job and it had all of the trials and tribulations associated with working in retail. Still, most of the people I worked with were great and there was a brief period when we had a stellar crew working together. Nobody tried to take anybody else’s sales or customers, everybody got along and we even managed to have a laugh or two every day. That was a great time.

Do I miss it? No. I’d stayed at the party too long. I should have made an effort to get into some other career sooner. But I suppose everything happens when the time is right.

The industry was changing, too. It was becoming more competitive and, in my opinion, under-handed. Businesses are constantly looking at last year’s figures and wondering why profits aren’t up as high. Well, people are just not spending the way they did last year.
The owner of the company came in once and lamented the fact that sales were down.

“Maybe everybody in Melbourne has a watch now, Boss. Might be time to pull the plug and shut up shop. Our work here is done. Mission accomplished.”

He, uh, didn’t see the humour in that comment.

In the interests of full disclosure, I should point out that my sales had dropped over the last year that I was there. Maybe other staff were taking too many of my sales or were becoming more aggressive in their sales tactics.
Maybe I was getting too old to put up with the way staff were treated in this company.
Maybe the negatives of the job were beginning to far outweigh the positives.
Maybe my heart wasn't in it anymore.
Perhaps it was a combination of all of those things. I don’t know. I did notice that there weren’t as many customers coming in compared to the years before. Some staff were selling consistently, others weren’t. And some of the newer staff members didn’t display the same level of cameraderie that had been present in previous years and this led to friction from time to time. It was all starting to get a little too cut-throat for my liking. Began to resemble the cliched used car lot.

It was time to get out. So I did.

With no regrets.

Thanks for reading!

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  1. Broker's Avatar
    I gotta say I've thoroughly enjoyed reading every time you make one of these and I'm a little sad that the story has ended. Bravo!
  2. OTGabe's Avatar
    Thanks so much for sharing these great posts.

    I wish I could give you rep for blog entries, but I'll hit you somewhere else on the site.
  3. bacari's Avatar
    Excellent! I thoroughly enjoyed each blog post.
  4. mlcor's Avatar
    Thanks, gives a good perspective from someone who can see the good and bad in the job.
  5. Jeannie's Avatar
    Loved all three! Thanks, T.

  6. jsw41's Avatar
    All three are stellar posts; it makes us feel like insiders now.

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