Inside Disruptive Startups Selling Used Luxury Watches


Subdial Clubhouse is expected to enhance corporate transparency and further build trust with consumers. “We’re trying to build something much closer to a real trading marketplace, driven by data every step of the way, where you can sell something and immediately take money to buy something new,” says Davis. Annual sales in 2021 have increased by 300% to £15m.

Analysts are encouraged by this type of business model. “Platforms that are able to take inventory risk because they understand the market, the prices, and are confident they can sell it,” says McKinsey’s Balchandani. “It’s a model that will win.”

Similar to Delray Watch, A Collected Man builds its following by providing extensive information and educational resources. Very detailed guides and articles inform consumers about the watch industry. Typical topics include “Women in Watchmaking” and “How Five Collectors Under 30 Approach Watches.”

Detailed articles also appeal to brands. “We’ve been shocked at how often we get contacted by the big brands themselves, saying, ‘I send people this article twice a week, three times a week,'” says Walton, CEO of A Collected Man. “When you give back [by providing useful content] it builds trust in the community. You don’t have to go out and yell at yourself.

Takeaway key: The growth of the second-hand watch market has been accompanied by the emergence of startups eager to capture a share of the market. The challenges are building consumer trust for authentication as well as reliable pricing for inventory. Companies such as A Collected Man, Delray Watch and Subdial use data algorithms, social media and online educational resources to win customers.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect A Collected Man sales for 2021. A previous version listed the figure for 2020. (May 11)

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