As a Watch Dealer we get at least 200 % margin on every watch, right? Wrong!
For an outsider, it's not really obvious what goes into running a vintage watch dealership. This is probably the foundation of the common misconception watch dealers are facing sometimes. It may seem as if we are only buying watches, markup the price by 200 % and sell them immediately. That's absolutely not how the business works.
Maybe giving some insight into our daily operations helps to understand what's required to run a watch dealing business and how our prices are calculated:
There are numerous circumstances defining the price of every single watch besides the margin we're aiming to achieve. The core concept of almost every business is taking over the customers risks, therefore, every step you find below is designed to reduce risks and ensure a positive collecting experience.
It is wrong to think that sourcing is only about searching for the best possible price. Sourcing is actually about so much more. If we had to break it down as short as possible it would be this: In the core, we are using our expertise to find an absolutely correct timepiece in the best possible condition and taking care of security.
Though many privates and dealers are listing watches the next second they buy it, it is important to understand that in reality, every single watch requires something to be done - assuming you want to run a legit and long lasting business. Therefore, all of our watches go through several preparation stages.
An essential task for a true professional dealer. It is important not only to make a few attractive photos but also to be precise and honest. Every single watch gets high-resolution images, and custom and an individual precise condition report.
Nothing is simple if you do it right. It took us hundreds of watches to sell, to develop the best handling processing and policies. After providing specific answers to our customer's questions we have to ensure the watch makes its way safely. We offer secure payment and deliver every single watch with courier service - worldwide and fully insured. We video-record the entire packaging process and keep the record for at least 14 days in our archive.
The most important and most valuable part of our job. It is actually why professional dealers have customers. Among the most important points of taking responsibility are providing 1-year technical warranty, 14-days inspection period and the after-warranty support.
It is often not obvious whether the dealer you're looking at is trustworthy or not. The market is full of "flying" dealers who have nothing except a website, private collectors flipping some watches for fun, dealers-wannabes entering the market with a hope to get "easy money" and dishonest full-time dealers with unclear policies. All of them today can have a good looking website but not all of them can have a good infrastructure and reputation.
Quality and safety cost money. We do our job professionally and responsibly, taking over all your risks at every stage of the process and spending many hours on every single watch we offer. Of course, this was just a brief glimpse into our daily business.
So probably, you will still be interested in how much we actually earn per watch? Even though we can't disclose our exact margins, we can share some facts about our pricing for your consideration: The added value is different for every watch and is defined by the buying price of the watch, expenses and works performed, operational costs and finally average market price. The added value rarely exceeds 25% and usually, the added value decreases the more expensive the watch is.
The hottest question in the watch community: How can I be sure a watch is authentic?
This question is important and not very easy to answer - that's why it's so interesting. How can you tell if the watch you spent 2 months salaries on, is exactly what it claims to be?
In general, if you follow your instincts that should be a good start. If an offer is too good to be true, it probably is “too good to be true”. Even we at VintageCaliber have to invest a lot of time in research and testing to guarantee the watches we are dealing are authentic, and this is our main job!
You are a vintage watch dealer? Cool. So what the hell does vintage mean?!
If we are asked, what we define as vintage watch we refer to the following points: It's a wristwatch, between 30 and 100 years old, fine, valuable and collectible.
That narrows it down a bit. But why would anyone would something so old and sometimes even fragile? We made our argument for why we love vintage watches already...
It is always crucial to understand the size of the watch, especially when it comes to vintage watches which are generally considered as too small in comparison with what watch industry offers today. For example, the original Patek Philippe Calatrava introduced in the 1930s was only 31 mm in diameter, while today's classic Calatrava is 39 mm. When you think about 8 mm, it doesn't seem to be a big difference, but believe it is.
In our condition reports we normally disclose three most important parameters as follows: diameter without crown / lug-to-lug length / lug width.
Diameter without crown
It is, so far, the most important measurement to understand the size of a regular round-shaped watch.It helps you to understand proportions and overall look of the watch. It is important to consider width of the bezel and color of the dial, because certain combinations may make the watch look bigger, while some other smaller. It is all very individual, however there is common understanding:
This parameter will help you to understand whether the watch is comfortable for wearing. You should compare lug-to-lug width with the width of your wrist, and if lug-to-lug width is smaller or equal, then this watch shall be comfortable.
This measurement is defining what size of strap you need for the particular watch. Depending on era and manufacturer you can find watches with lug width between 14 mm and 24 mm. Most common sizes are 18 mm and 20 mm.