The Jewelry District, Episode 85: Holiday Predictions, Rolex Goes Certified Pre-Owned, Colored Diamonds


You’ll hear JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates talk holiday predictions, the theme of which is cautious optimism. They discuss inflation’s effect on jewelry spending. The hosts also talk about Rolex’s recent announcement that it is entering the preowned watch space—and the questions this brings up about the secondhand marketplace. They also note a slowing down in the colored diamond market.

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Show Notes
01:30 Educated guesses about the holiday season
03:40 Inflation concerns
09:15 Rolex launches pre-owned program
19:30 Colored diamond category slows down

Episode Credits
Hosts: Rob Bates and Victoria Gomelsky
Producer and engineer: Natalie Chomet
Plugs: @jckmagazine

Show Recap

Moderate Hopes for the Holidays
The show’s hosts take stock of the upcoming holiday season. When Victoria asked Abe Sherman, CEO of Buyers Intelligence Group (BIG), how the season was going, he said, “I’ll tell you in 10 days.” Most of those whom Rob has spoken to think that even if it is a few points lower than last year, they can still characterize this year’s holiday sales as a success.

When Signet announced its results, CEO Gina Drosos said that last year consumers shopped early because of concerns about the supply chain. This year that doesn’t seem to be the case. October had been down, but things are picking up closer to the holiday. The last two years have such a high base. People don’t necessarily expect those levels to continue, but they still hope for a successful year.

Effects of Inflation
Though inflation has calmed, it is still higher than we are accustomed to. This affects how the middle class spends on jewelry, though the wealthy may still be spending.

The pattern of the last several years has been gains on the higher end and not as much on the lower and middle. During the pandemic, there were gains across the board. Now it seems like we’re going back to the pre-pandemic pattern. Signet has noted that its biggest gains are at its high end, the “accessible luxury” category.

Something jewelers learned during the pandemic was to up their digital game. Rob has noticed a lot of jewelers putting out interesting content on TikTok. He comments on the organic nature of TikTok. It feels personal. There’s a strange charm that most of its content is made by just one person and a phone.

Rolex Enters the Pre-Owned Space
On Dec. 1, Rolex announced it was formally entering the certified preowned space. It is launching a program in Europe through Bucherer, a Swiss retailer that has a presence in the United States through its ownership of Tourneau.

There are still a few big questions: Who is setting the pricing? Who will do the servicing? How will this be received by the market? People in the secondhand watch space think this legitimizes the space and makes it less like the Wild West. This will give retailers something to sell, since new Rolexes go out of stock so quickly.

Victoria wonders if Rolex’s service centers will be handling the pre-owned watches. Bucherer has a lot of pre-owned watches listed on its website, so it’s clear much of this may take place online.

Victoria talks about the Audemars Piguet decision to enter the pre-owned market, which it didn’t roll out fully. The brand didn’t respond to her request for comment, and other big brands haven’t commented either. Big brands have been doing well selling new watches, so they may not prioritize the pre-owned market right now.

There’s a large community of watch collectors who are cynical about Rolex entering this market. They think you have to buy lower-quality pre-owned pieces before being considered for the higher-quality goods. Rob asks if people think Rolex will be dominant in the secondhand category. Victoria says Rolex dominates every market it is in.

Colored Diamonds Left Behind
Results had been stellar for colored diamonds at auction, and now things are taking a downward turn. De Beers put out a collection of eight blue diamonds. A few failed to sell, a few were pulled from auction, and, so far, none have sold. There’s a slowing down in the colored diamond market that is starting to look like a trend. Rob speculates that the market has been oversaturated. So many have come into the market that it dilutes the rarity and takes away from the specialness of them. “So many blue diamonds, so little time,” Victoria comments.

The hosts and podcast team wish everyone a wonderful, happy, safe, and prosperous holiday.

Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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By: Natalie Chomet

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