You’ll miss out if you don’t offer part exchange


Watchfinder director Matt Bowling on helping watch customers trade up.

By Matt Bowling, director, Watchfinder

Fine watches aren’t just for Christmas, but they’re not for life either. The frequency with which people buy fine watches has changed enormously in the past 20 years.

Manufacturers have played a major part in this change with the increasing regularity that models are being revised, phased out, and introduced to the market. Such is the sophistication and might of the marketing machines behind these brands, a watch enthusiast will find it all but impossible to avoid hearing about the release, and for many people it’s just a matter of time before they’re in the store trying it on.

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It would be nice and tidy if clients had the money to continually add more new watches to their collection, but the reality is that for a large proportion there’s only room for one or two watches at a time.

The average ticket price of a watch sold by Watchfinder is, at £2,900, pretty close to the market average. Of the 500 watches we sell every month more than 100 involve a part exchange. Given the number of people looking to buy in this way it’s a surprise whenever we hear that a retailer won’t accept watches in part exchange. In a competitive market like fine watches, if you’re not letting your customers part exchange when they want to upgrade, they’re going to go somewhere else.

As a pre-owned retailer, Watchfinder represents an effective route to market for watches taken in part exchange. The challenge facing many retailers is not necessarily taking the watches in; it’s what they then do with them. Selling new and pre-owned watches alongside each other in a retail store often presents as many problems as it solves.

Watchfinder has put together a buy back scheme for a number of authorised retailers. Every time a new watch is sold the customer is given a Guaranteed Buy Back slip, which encourages the owner to return to the store in the event that they want to upgrade or just sell the watch. Watchfinder then underwrite the offer made so retailers have a straight forward means of disposal and retain the new sale.

However you manage it, you need to accommodate these customers whether it’s through Watchfinder or someone else, because if you don’t someone else will.


This column was taken from the November issue of WatchPro within Professional Jeweller magazine. To read the issue online click here. If you work in the watch or jewellery trade and would like to write a column for Professional Jeweller on a topic of your choice email

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