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Audemars Piguet to launch second-hand business

Luxury Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet announced it would be the first big brand to launch a second-hand business this year – tapping in to the vintage and pre-owned market which has been taking the watch industry by storm.

The company has been carrying out a test run in a Geneva store and would continue to launch the business at Swiss outlets throughout the year. The success of this could lead to major roll outs across the USA and Japan.

“Second-hand is the next big thing in the watch industry” – Francois-Henry Bennahmias, Chief Executive Audemars Piguet

In the past luxury watchmakers have failed to accept the importance and growing second-hand trade, in fear it would dilute the exclusivity and novelty of their brand. Powered by online platforms and an industry-wide sales slowdown, the time for a second-hand business has never been better. Smaller brands like H.Moser & Cie and MB&F have also shown interest in the value of second-hand trade.

“It is important to control the sale of second-hand watches to protect the owners and the values of watches already in the market by keeping the grey market in check.” – Edouard Meyland, H.Moser & Cie

Geneva based MB&F is planning to launch an online second-hand division which will offer customers a 20-30% discount.

Audemars Piguet have initially decided to allow customers to trade an old Audemars watch as part-exchange for a new one, then sell on the second-hand watches. The second-hand luxury watch business is seeing a new generation of clients who lean towards variety as opposed to costly permanent ownership of watches.

In the US, there has been a sales decline of new watches for years yet it is the number one market for pre-owned watches, followed by Britain and Japan. Audemars Piguet seems to be the first luxury watchmaker to adapt a business model for the change in consumer habits and we should expect to see a rise in second-hand timepieces.