What advice can you give to our readers who are starting out as collectors? And what kind of mistakes should they try to avoid?
I think it’s important for people to take their time. The psychology behind watch collecting is really complex. We buy these kinds of products because they have a deep emotional impact on us.
Enjoy the process of researching, exploring and getting to know your own tastes. Your collection should reflect who you are as an individual, so you should definitely avoid copying other people’s unless they really speak to you in some way.
Rushing into a decision also leaves you more prone to picking up counterfeits or lesser quality items. Take the journey step-by-step, and make sure you always feel comfortable with every aspect of your investment.
When buying watches what should a collector look for?
Always look out for some kind of authenticity guarantee. At Verado, for example, we guarantee industry-certified ID checks on all sellers, products verified both digitally and through our professional inspection process and a 5-day no-questions-asked returns policy.
If you’re buying online, customer reviews are also valuable in telling you what you can expect from your buying experience. If a company is getting a lot of bad feedback — because of anything, from customer service to the quality of items — that’s a red signal.
Lastly, and even though it sounds obvious, don’t buy second hand unless there are real photos of the items. If a company is using professional stock images (even if they’re from the manufacturer) or no photos at all, it’s best to avoid.
What companies and watches are the most desirable in your opinion?
Well, this is highly subjective. Taste is very personal, and anything can spark an appetite for a particular model or brand — look at how much publicity Hublot got during this year’s World Cup, for example.
Personally, the Patek Philippe Nautilus is top of my list. It’s a stunning watch, in limited supply and highly sought after.
How can a collector identify if a watch is authentic?
Honestly, unless you’re trained in this, you’re never going to know. Professional watch servicers and inspectors spend years building up their knowledge and technical skills for a reason. You might come across various listicles online telling you how to “how to spot a fake”, but if you’re serious about collecting, and you come across an item you’re not sure about, consult a professional or just walk away.
Which watches do you think will most likely rise in value?
At the higher end of the scale, you can’t beat the Rolex Oyster Perpetual Day-Date 40 as an investment piece. I especially like it in everose gold.
For something at the more affordable end, you’ve got the Omega Spacemaster Z-33. It’s not particularly to my taste because of its quirkiness, but I think it’s a model whose hype will grow with time.
What makes a well-rounded collection?
Think about your lifestyle. Some people will have watches for different sports, different types of social activity, different moods even. Where do you want to be seen wearing pieces from your collection? Who do you want to notice your choices? What functionality do you need for the various day to day activities you carry out, both at work and leisure? Answering these types of questions will help you build a collection that holds its own and works for you.
When selling a watch what are typical pain points?
With a traditional, dealer-centered transaction, the biggest pain point for sellers is having to hunt around to get the best valuation, which includes avoiding big markdowns. You’ve got no indication of what that is without going from shop to shop, and who’s got time for that these days?
If you’re selling yourself online, the difficulty can be finding someone who’s willing to commit to a purchase. It’s going to be hard for you to prove you’re selling what you say you’re selling, resulting in cautious buyers who have lots of questions but won’t take steps forward.
What sparked your passion for watches?
Well, I’ve always been interested in the way things work. As a child, I had one of those gadget watches that was an all-in-one alarm, calculator, timer, remote control, and voice recorder. I was obsessed with how something so small could do so many things. It’s for similar reasons that I love tech, so I think that obsession bled into my career choices. But I think as you get older, and especially when you do work in an environment that’s all about software and digital processes, you crave something manual, something more tactile. High-end watches have that. They’re endlessly fascinating for their physical form and function.
What differentiates Verado from classic watch traders?
We’re online for a start. The brick and mortar watch dealer still has power in the market, but as I mentioned earlier, they don’t offer a great experience for sellers, or buyers in fact.
What Verado offers that classic traders don’t is an absolute view of the market when it comes to price. Our technology enables us to give people the best price, based on a number of factors that a dealer simply couldn’t.
Because we don’t have a physical store, we’re also able to offer buyers and sellers a much better rate of commission. Both sellers and buyers can save around 10%-20% when they trade through Verado.
What differentiates Verado from its competitors?
Again, I have to mention our tech. There are lots of second-hand luxury websites out there, but none of them are using technology like we do. As a result, you’ve got the same pricing issues you’d find with a high street dealer. It’s all guesswork. In contrast, our algorithms work with hundreds of thousands of data points from across the web to give us in-depth, dynamic market insight. We then work out the most competitive listing price for an item.
Another differentiator is the way we deal with product authentication. We’re blending real, human expertise, in the form of professional inspectors (manufacturer-certified, of course), with cutting-edge digital analysis and verification. The result is a multi-layered, watertight system that doesn’t let anything enter our network that shouldn’t.