Mumbai: Luxury watch retailer Ethos Watch Boutiques plans to retail premium second-hand watches, a top company executive said.

The retailer for brands like Rolex, Rado and Omega will certify every pre-owned watch it sells and also provide a two-year warranty, said Pranav Saboo, co-founder, Ethos Watch Boutiques.

“With pre-owned watches, we are creating a market for watches to be treated as an investment," said Saboo.

Moreover, the space is already gaining acceptance with online platforms like Chrono24 and The RealReal.

Globally, the second-hand luxury market is already seeing huge growth as online platforms like Chrono24 and The RealReal. Chrono24 gets over 10 million visitors per month and has over 100 employees in Karlsruhe, Berlin, New York, and Hong Kong. Whereas, The ReallReal, a second-hand luxury marketplace website deals in the likes of Chanel, Hermès, Louis Vuitton, Cartier, Rolex and Van Cleef & Arpels, has raised close to $175 million from private equity firms like Great Hill Partners and Greenspring Associates.

According to Saboo, WatchFinder— the biggest retailer in UK is already doing a $100 million business in pre-owned watches. The potential is large in India too, says Saboo, who is looking at revenues of Rs75-100 crore from the vertical in the next five years.

In January, Swiss luxury watchmaker Audemars Piguet announced its plans for the pre-owned market, the first big brand to enter the sector.

The top 3 watch brands purchased by millennials are Rolex, Omega and Jaeger-LeCoultre, said The RealReal in a press statement in 2017, adding this indicates millennials value quality, consistency, and heritage.

“We now have 12 exclusive partnerships compared to four a year ago," said Saboo, who plans to add over half a dozen more in the coming financial year. “In the next 2-3 years, we will get a quarter of our revenues from these partnerships as compared to 10-12% now," said Saboo.

Ethos is also stepping up on the experience quotient at its stores by opening larger showrooms and even sending its staff to Switzerland’s training school Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie to know all about fine watchmaking. The current average size of its stores is 1,000-1,200 sq. ft. and the new showrooms will be about 4,000 sq. ft. on an average, said Saboo.

The retailer ended the financial year 2018 with revenues of Rs400 crore, 20% more than the previous year, said Saboo.

However, last year, the company had recorded an increase in net loss to Rs7.48 crore. Even its revenues had declined marginally to Rs327.6 crore in financial year 2017 from Rs328.7 crore in the previous year.

“The last 24 months have been full of regulatory changes. But we used all this chaos as an opportunity to tweak our strategy," said Saboo, who is now seeing the demand coming back.

To be sure, spending among India’s super-rich has been unaffected though more self-conscious, said a 2017 Kotak Wealth Management report Top of the Pyramid which traces the lifestyle and spends of India’s richest households with a net worth of Rs25 crore.

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