A source close to Audemars Piguet has confirmed a report in luxury newsletter Miss Tweed that the watch brand is planning to launch a certified pre-owned program for its timepieces.
The company will test the program before the end of the year, the source says, adding that details are very much up in the air.
Miss Tweed reported that Audemars Piguet CEO François-Henry Bennahmias discussed the initiative at a luxury conference in Paris last week. Bennahmias told attendees that the certified pre-owned watch business could be bigger than the market for new timepieces, and he believes having the brand certify the watches will give buyers extra confidence, the newsletter said.
In 2018, Bennahmias told Reuters that Audemars was testing a certified pre-owned program at a store in Geneva. If successful, the brand planned to bring the concept to other stores and, eventually, the United States and Japan.
It’s not clear what happened to that program. However, Rolex’s launch last year of a certified pre-owned watch program seems to have interested its competitors in that part of the market.
One major watch seller has already said it’s not interested. Following Rolex’s announcement, Nicolas Hayek, CEO of watch conglomerate Swatch Group, told Bloomberg he doesn’t see any of the Swatch-owned brands developing a certified pre-owned program.
“Why should we mix ourselves into the market of used watches?” Hayek asked. “The market is regulating [itself]. The people who want to buy used watches can buy them, as they buy many other things. They don’t need us for it.”
Bennahmias, who has served as Audemars CEO since 2012, told a Swiss newspaper last June that he plans to leave by the end of the year. Former Tiffany CEO Alessandro Bogliolo now chairs the brand’s board of directors
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