CIRCA Appoints Laurence Grunstein CEO

Former Citizen Watch president and CEO Laurence R. Grunstein has been appointed CEO of pre-owned jewelry buyer CIRCA.

The 40-year industry veteran, who retired from Citizen in 2011, tells JCK that he sees a lot of opportunities CIRCA, which purchased secondhand luxury website Portero.com earlier this year.

“There are several businesses here,” Grunstein says. “We have a business of purchasing items, and we have a business of reselling those items. There are opportunities to do a better job for each of those categories.”

He notes that as a watch veteran, a lot of his experience is with building brands. 

“CIRCA is a brand and we have a lot more we can do to build that brand, and so is Portero,” he says. “And we will look to expand our footprint as we grow that business.”

He thinks De Beers’ possible entrance into secondhand buying will only help the category.

“De Beers is a formidable company,” he says. “They are just testing it. We will see what they will do. My attitude goes back to when I was in the watch business. Competition is very healthy. As long as it’s legitimate competition, it makes us work harder and do a better job for the consumer.”

“It also makes the consumer that much more aware of the whole category. A lot of consumers don’t know there is a place that you can sell a vintage piece of jewelry. Many have no idea of where to go. CIRCA opened up a new world. We cover the middle market, because not every consumer can walk into Sotheby’s.” 

CIRCA’s executive suite has seen a bit of turnover in recent years, with the CEO role held by founder Chris del Gatto and former Zale CEO Mary Forte. The company’s former chief operating officer and chief financial officer recently joined Alex and Ani.

JCK News Director