Too SOBO for the Pre-Loved Watch Market?

Too SOBO for the Pre-Loved Watch Market?

THM Desk
20 May 2023 |
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By Punit Mehta

While I do have my fair share of showroom-bought watches (My Datejust to begin with), I must admit I have found some rare and unique beauties in the pre-owned market, ones that I don’t think I would get my hands on otherwise. However, that has always raised eyebrows amongst my peer group of friends and family who live by the typical SOBO (South Bombay) mindset. Born on the other side of the sea-link, schooled at either Cathedral or G. D. Somani followed by either HR or Jai Hind college, basically the ones who still will not call Bombay, Mumbai. That being said, I am often questioned on my pre-owned watch-buying mindset. While I too may be as SOBO as it gets, here is what attracts me to the pre-loved watch segment.

Rolex Perpetual DateJust

Call it a used watch, a pre-owned watch or a pre-loved one, the second-hand watch market right now is the industry’s fastest-growing segment. In recent years, the pre-owned watch market has experienced a significant surge in popularity globally. Collectors, enthusiasts, and budget-conscious consumers alike are turning to pre-owned timepieces as a smart and savvy option to indulge in their passion and procure new watches. This growing trend has given rise to a thriving global “used” watch market that offers a wide array of options and opportunities for both buyers and sellers.

A Plethora of Choices

One of the most appealing aspects of the pre-owned watch market is the vast selection that is available out there. From vintage classics to contemporary luxury brands, the global market offers an extensive range of timepieces to suit every taste and budget. Whether it's a sought-after Rolex Submariner or a rare Patek Philippe, buyers can find their dream watch without really breaking the bank. Pretty much how I found my Omega Seamaster from the 70’s!

Omega Sea Master from the 70s
Omega Sea Master from the 70s

Value Retention

Certain watches, and I am not just talking about the hyped watches, have long been known for their ability to retain their value over time. Which in turn makes them a desirable investment for collectors and buyers in the used watch market. Unlike other luxury items, such as cars or electronics, high-quality watches often appreciate or maintain their value over the years. In my opinion it has been a key factor that has helped fuel the growth of this segment as buyers see it as an opportunity to own a prestigious timepiece while preserving their investments.

Omega Speedmaster MK40
Omega Speedmaster MK40

Trustworthy Platforms and Marketplaces

This has always been one of my major concerns when buying a pre-owned watch. However, the rise of online marketplaces dedicated to used watches has revolutionised the buying and selling experience in recent times. Trusted platforms provide a safe and secure environment for buyers to connect with sellers, ensuring transparency and autistic ethnicity. Detailed descriptions, high-resolution images, and verification processes help buyers make informed decisions and feel confident in their purchases. Moreover, reputable platforms often offer warranties and return policies, further enhancing consumer trust.

Watch Collectors

Besides e-commerce platforms, there are also multiple active and trustworthy watch communities, both locally and globally such as RedBar where I have found some coveted timepieces.

Sustainability and Environmental Consciousness

A topic that's very close to my heart. The used watch market aligns well with the increasing global focus on sustainability and environmental consciousness. How? The obvious reason being that by buying pre-owned watches the demand for new production reduces substantially, hence minimising the environmental impact associated with manufacturing processes. By extending the lifespan of luxury timepieces, consumers actively participate in reducing waste and carbon footprint, making the used watch market an eco-friendly choice. A small percentage some may say, but every little effort eventually contributes to saving the planet.

Accessibility for New Collectors

Let’s be honest, for watch enthusiasts, just starting their collecting journey, the secondary watch market presents a more affordable entry point for otherwise aspirational brands and watches. It allows them to explore different brands, models, and styles without the need for a substantial budget. As collectors grow their knowledge and refine their preferences, they can gradually expand their collection and trade up to more coveted timepieces. From vintage Cartier’s to discontinued Reverso’s, Zenith’s and Roger Dubuis to Breguet’s and even a few vintage Rolexes, the pre-owned watch market is thriving without those dreaded waitlists.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso

Many still consider buying pre-owned products a taboo in India while some avoid it to retain that snob value. Let me tell you, whether it's a vintage Rolex, a limited-edition Omega, or a modern Tag Heuer, the world of pre-owned watches helps you to discover the allure of horology while making smart, conscious choices. So, if you're in search of a timepiece that embodies history, craftsmanship, and style, consider exploring the vibrant and dynamic global pre-owned watch market. It is a great way to enter the market if you are just starting your journey and if you are already a seasoned collector, you will only trade up!