Chronext Whether You’re Looking for New-old Stock, Vintage or Certified Pre-owned Watches, Chronext Has You Covered
What would you say to a Rolex made in the year you were born? If that tickles your fancy, you, like over 100,000 clients before you, could well find the watch of your dreams on Chronext, a platform launched in 2013 by two digital natives
Inspired by their passion for watches, Ludwig Wurlitzer and Philipp Man founded Chronext in 2013, after coming up with the idea while studying Business Management at King’s College London. The next eight years would prove the validity of the concept. Then the pandemic came along, pushing the whole world onto the internet, and the business became a runaway success. In 2020 – an annus horribilis for the watch industry – the company turned over 100 million euros for the first time, with a “compound annual growth rate of 46% from 2018 to 2020,” according to the company literature. This year, several big names from the watch industry and e-commerce have joined Chronext. Jacob Fonnesbech Agraou, an online sales veteran from eBay, joins the board as chairman, where he is joined by Norbert Platt, former CEO of Richemont, as an adviser, and Hamdi Chatti, former head of Louis Vuitton’s watch division. So, what is the secret of Chronext’s success, and how have they captured the spirit of our times?
Watches selection: Omega, Panerai, Rolex, TAG Heuer © Chronext
Digital natives with a passion for old-school quality
Is it because the co-founders of Chronext are also watch fanatics? Certainly, quality and authenticity are a fundamental concern. The last thing they want is to provide a market for counterfeits, or to surrender control to third parties. Each watch that passes through their hands is scrutinised by watchmakers in the Cologne workshop. Every item is treated appropriately, depending on its status. The patina of vintage models is carefully preserved, while contemporary models that have been worn are polished up. Once they have been spruced up and authenticated, these Certified Pre-Owned and vintage watches enjoy a 2-year Chronext guarantee, and are ready to be posted on the online sales platform. New watches have a double guarantee: they have the original brand warranty, given that the cases are not opened, plus the Chronext guarantee of newness, precision and water-tightness.
Patek Philippe Nautilus © Chronext
... and “new school” hybrid sales methods
Are you happy to buy online, or would you prefer to hold your dream watch in your hands, and talk to an expert? Chronext has chosen not to choose. While some younger customers have no hesitation in buying online – with home delivery and 14 days right of return – other clients might prefer to “click & collect”. A watch adviser will welcome them in one of the Chronext lounges – in Berlin, Cologne, Paris or London, for instance – where they have the opportunity to try on the watch and ask questions (a vital part of the watch buying process!) before giving in to temptation, or not.
Where do the watches come from?
Chronext’s stock includes some 7,000 new or certified second-hand watches from 49 brands. The watches come from individuals, retailers and watchmakers, who sell them to Chronext, either outright or on consignment; but in any case, every watch is authenticated and controlled. Chronext has a large European footprint and a global client database, with eight dedicated websites for different markets (Italy, Austria, Switzerland, France, Netherlands, United Kingdom and “World”, with a “.com” extension). In a sector where competition between different distribution channels is fierce, Chronext, which has served over 100,000 clients since it was launched, prefers to remain discreet in terms of its partner brands and retailers.
Omega Speadmaster Snoopy © Chronext
Where do the customers come from?
Younger customers are flocking to vintage and Certified Pre-Owned products, with their attractive pricing – you can get hold of a Rolex Datejust for half the price of a new model! Add to that the “sustainable” aspect and the personal touch of pre-owned, and it’s easy to see why the younger generations are hooked. Chronext expects that second-hand and vintage sales will soon reach the same level as new watch sales.
Chronext offers models starting at 1,000 euros, with no upper limit, which gives an indication of the treasures to be found there. In 2014, Chronext sold a Patek Philippe for 540,000 euros. Might we see special limited editions, or partnerships with watchmakers or retailers? That’s not currently on the cards; Chronext intends to stick to its winning formula of discretion… and success.
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