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Thread: Retailing watches...How would you do it?

  1. #1

    Question Retailing watches...How would you do it?

    Here's a little hypothetical for you: Let's say you were in a position to start your very own watch retail business. Not with magical money though, within the confines of what's reasonable...How would you go about it?

    How many brands would you carry? Which ones?
    Would you go for a large selection of stock from fewer brands or have smaller displays from more manufacturers?
    Would you stick to a theme, like Swatch brands or independents, or have a wide variety? All price points covered or stick to a market segment?
    Would you employ people who can restore and service watches or just focus on retail?
    Would you sell on the internet? Sponsor a forum, etc?
    Consider a house brand or stock micro brands?
    Get involved with clocks? Straps? Winders? Jewellery?
    Trade in second-hand watches?
    and so on...

    Just curious

  2. #2
    Missing manual. BlackNomad's Avatar
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    Funny, I met the guy, who recently started watch business (nothing extraordinary, bought there, sold here) and I thought about it (hypothetically), here's my take:

    1. I'd start with 2-3 brands entry to medium price range, like Citizen/Bulova, Seiko, Casio/G-Shock.
    2. Large selection from fewer brands.
    3. Those makers covers pretty much everything (except for very-very special pieces), so it'd be wide variety, with accent on affordables.
    4. Yes, watch service for sure: bracelet adjustment, battery replacement, small repair...
    5. Sell on Internet, sponsor forum
    6. Yes, may be some micros.
    7. Straps, bracelets, batteries, boxes, winders, jewellery.
    8. Trade-ins welcome (and that's why I'd need the watch person, you know, the guy with the "eye", to look at the trade-in item and say "Eh... we give you $5 for this.")

    This is just a theory. In reality, I know it's not a super-lucrative business, unless you made name/built reputation for yourself. And there are some fine details, like manufacturers quotas, your location, size of the store and so on...

    "Happiness is not a state to arrive at, but a manner of travelling." Margaret Lee Runbeck.

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    El bot. geoffbot's Avatar
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    I'd like to stock JLC and Seiko JDM models, Tudor, Nomos and other brands I consider good value, but really I suspect what would sell best would likely be DKNY and Michael Kors fashion watches at 400 a pop, so I'd probably end up peddling those. #sellout
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    Another Member crownpuller's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Domo View Post
    Just curious
    Sounds like someone is putting together a new business model

    Not really sure what would define "reasonable" money, so that puts specifics aside
    I think I'd start with a basic principle of offering something that wasn't available (locally) elsewhere. Plenty of big name high street outlets around here, so no sense in trying to compete with them. So, micro brands would be an obvious direction; that in itself would be my theme.
    Would certainly use the web. Sponsor a forum once there's an income to sponor 'it' with.
    Trade-Ins ? Second-Hand ? Certainly; I'm sure there are plenty of potential 'customers' who'd just want a change, rather than add to a collection.
    Definitely (subject to income/turnover) employ a 'proper' (not me !) craftsman.
    Clocks, straps, jewellery..... No. Again, plenty of other outlets for those. Winders.... Sure.
    Some people have opinions - The rest of us have taste.

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    wind-up merchant OhDark30's Avatar
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    Retailing watches...How would you do it?

    My model would be to provide cool (good value, stylish) watches to the nervous i.e. the internet wary, the time-poor, people who live in the sticks.
    I'd carry German brands, vintage, JDM and other non-high street/ mall options.
    I'd be your personal watch shopper
    As for making money doing any of this, perhaps not so much:-)
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  10. #6
    Member Steppy's Avatar
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    How many brands would you carry? Which ones?

    I wouldn't want to carry too many but i'd like to think there was some sort of progression through the brands. My choice would be

    Seiko, Citizen, Hamilton, Oris, Tudor, Omega, Grand Seiko, JLC, Panerai.

    Probably missing a trick by not stocking brands like Rolex, Tag and Breitling, but this is my pretend shop (i'd probably stock one of them in real)


    Would you go for a large selection of stock from fewer brands or have smaller displays from more manufacturers?

    I think 8-9 brands is enough, too much dilution isn't good, and i'd want my staff to have some knowledge of the brands i do stock.

    Would you stick to a theme, like Swatch brands or independents, or have a wide variety? All price points covered or stick to a market segment?

    All price points covered

    Would you employ people who can restore and service watches or just focus on retail?

    Its not looking good for watchmakers is it, I probably wouldn't have one in store, more brands are going the in-house route with in house servicing. Something simple like bracelet resizing, battery changes, and a polishing/re-finishing service would be more than enough.

    Would you sell on the internet? Sponsor a forum, etc?

    I think these days you need some sort of internet presence. Sponsor IWL of course!!!

    Consider a house brand or stock micro brands?

    Probably not.

    Get involved with clocks? Straps? Winders? Jewellery?

    Probably not. Possibly so with Jewellery, it gets people in the door and looking plus it always helps to diversify surely.

    Trade in second-hand watches?

    Definitely. Theres enough flippers, people who buy stuff they can't afford and instant cash and desperate people. Theres money to be made!!!


    Domo, please say you're going to be a Seiko/GS retailer!!!!!

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  12. #7
    Missing manual. BlackNomad's Avatar
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    Domo, please say you're going to be a Seiko/GS retailer!!!!!

    The guy I mentioned put together $2K, bought some watches from big Chinese web-store, sold it in North America, turning out $8K in return and decided it's very well worth a shot. I'm not going into details, 'cause I wish him to succeed!
    In regard to Brick&Mortar, I've seen high end retailer doing very well, few small shop owners doing OK (btw, all of them carry only 1-2 brands), 1 shop Citizen/Seiko on the verge of closing (bad location), WatchIt opened 2 stores in Ottawa last year (?, not sure), carring Citizen, Hugo Boss, G's, seems like they doing OK too. Well, I'd quess it's the matter of motivation/persistence + some dumb luck...
    Anyway, Domo, good luck to you in your new venture!
    Last edited by BlackNomad; Apr 9, 2015 at 09:30 PM.

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  14. #8


    Edit: In all honesty, if I was going to do retail of watches I would focus on vintage watches and Vostok.
    Last edited by 93EXCivic; Apr 9, 2015 at 03:06 PM.
    Olma, Oris, Vostok, Casio, Smiths, Luch, Elgin, Fossil, Orient

    IWL DIY, Restorations and Mods subforum

  15. #9
    Just selling watches would not be my thing.

    I am at heart a solver of problems, problems that I see as games.
    If I were to have any sort of business to do with watches that isn't design related, it would that of a detective.

    I would be the procurer of rare/specific/hard to find watches for those people who can't or don't want to spare the time to do the hunting.

    I'm pretty much that sort of guy already except I don't get paid for it...

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  17. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by drunken monkey View Post
    Just selling watches would not be my thing.

    I am at heart a solver of problems, problems that I see as games.
    If I were to have any sort of business to do with watches that isn't design related, it would that of a detective.

    I would be the procurer of rare/specific/hard to find watches for those people who can't or don't want to spare the time to do the hunting.

    I'm pretty much that sort of guy already except I don't get paid for it...
    And you STILL can't find yourself a decent 4522GS!

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