Pre-owned timepiece site WatchBox plans to open five U.S. stores over the next year, as well as three more international locations.
The site is looking to open new stores in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, and Dallas by the end of 2022. Next year it will also open stores in Zurich; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; and Tokyo.
The stores are now “a tried-and-tested formula for us,” says WatchBox global CEO Justin Reis. “We can activate these local watch collector communities, catalyze them, and bring them closer to us.”
The stores hold informational events and try to foster a sense of inclusiveness and community, he says.
“We create these lounges where people who are interested in watches and horology can get together,” he says. “We love to introduce our customers to one another because they form lasting relationships, and that strengthens their bond with WatchBox.
“Our customers are really collectors, and collectors behave differently than the traditional customer,” he adds. “We build a tight relationship with them. Close to 50% of our revenue is repeat customers.”
The Miami and New York City stores will open in the first quarter of next year. Reis says possible future sites include Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and Austin, Texas.
“Our customer base, the high-end collector, exists throughout the United States,” Reis says.
The site has raised over $100 million in capital to date, he says, adding that going public is on its radar long-term.
“Right now, we feel there’s a lot more growth to execute on before we go public,” he says.
WatchBox already has a fleet of retail locations, including stores in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Hong Kong; Neuchâtel, Switzerland; and Singapore, as well as its headquarters in Philadelphia.
“We are one of the few pre-owned watch sites out there that is truly global,” Reis says.
In a statement, WatchBox said it has seen 40% revenue growth this year and is on track to reach $300 million by year’s end. It also predicted it will have done $1 billion in business over its four-year existence by the end of 2021.
Founded in 2017, the site grew out of Philadelphia’s Govberg Jewelers—which still exists but operates as a separate entity.
The store openings come amid strong growth in the pre-owned watch space.
In a report on the watch and jewelry market issued in June, consulting firm McKinsey & Co. said that the pre-owned market “is set to become the industry’s fastest-growing segment.”
The report predicted pre-owned watch sales will continue to rise about 8 to 10% a year, reaching $29 billion to $32 billion by 2025, from $18 billion in 2019.
This is the second notable announcement that WatchBox has made recently. Last month, the site announced it was investing in independent Swiss watchmaker De Bethune.
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