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Why Swatch is not interested in the second-hand watch market

The brand head says he doesn’t see the need to regulate the $20 billion market for second-hand luxury watches

From the 2022 Watches and Wonders in Geneva. (REUTERS)

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Swatch Group AG chief executive officer Nick Hayek said he doesn’t see the need to regulate the $20 billion market for second-hand luxury watches, contradicting moves by Rolex SA and H. Moser & Cie.

“Why should we mix ourselves into the market of used watches,” Hayek said Tuesday in a Bloomberg TV interview. “This is a market that is regulating themselves.”

Also read: Is it finally time you got yourself a blingy gold watch?

Hayek’s comments follow a decision by Rolex earlier this month to begin issuing certificates of authentication to authorized dealers selling its pre-owned watches. The move was a significant shift for Rolex, whose timepieces dominate secondhand sales at dealers and online. 

The luxury pre-owned watch market is expected to grow to $35 billion by 2030, according to Deloitte.

“The people who want to buy used watches, they can buy it as they buy many other things,” Hayek said. “They don’t need us.”

Hayek said he was surprised by the magnitude of success of his company’s Omega MoonSwatch and that he’s looking to expand sales in China next year.

“China is very strong. The people are very conscious of quality products,” Hayek said Tuesday in a Bloomberg TV interview. “The potential is huge, but not just on the luxury. On every single fine-made product that has a message, that has an emotional message. They like this kind of things.”

Purchases of Swiss watches in China have lagged recently amid a worsening economic outlook, inflation and the ongoing Covid-19 situation. In the meantime, US sales have more than compensated, helping drive Swiss watch exports to a record last month. 

Also read: Fantastic watches that are not available in India

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