Rapaport Buys Watch Dealers Network

The Rapaport Group in late May acquired “a controlling interest” in the Web-based Watch Dealers Network. The value of the transaction, which gives it 51 percent ownership, wasn’t released but is believed to be worth millions.

Launched in 2007 after two years of development by veteran watch dealer Avi Soffer, WDN (www.thewdn.com) is a members-only business-to-business electronic marketplace for buying and selling new and vintage watches.

Soffer remains chief executive officer of WDN, now a separate subsidiary of the Rapaport Group. No changes in the two-dozen-member staff were expected. “Our management remains intact,” he said.

Soffer told JCK that the merger with Rapaport provides “numerous benefits” to WDN and its members: “It has a tremendous I.T. department, and we’ve already switched over. There will be a lot of upgrades and improvements coming to WDN network.”

WDN also has a strategic partnership with the International Watch and Jewelry Guild, a professional watch dealers’ organization. Together, WDN (2,500 members), IWJG (4,600 members), and Rapaport Group/Rap List (3,900 members) have 11,000 members, making it the world’s largest B2B online trading network.