If you’re reading this then you probably love luxury watches.
Whether it’s Rolex, Omega, Patek Philippe, Cartier, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, Breguet or any other top luxury watch brand, once upon a time, watch buyers were a little skeptical about buying luxury watches on eBay. However times have changed and so has eBay.
eBay is investing heavily to make the platform a safer place to buy and sell luxury watches. Read on to find out what eBay is doing to increase buyer and seller confidence and introduce total peace of mind around luxury watches. I think you’ll be impressed.
I know I was.
So, a quick recap.
In October 2021 eBay launched its Luxury Watch Authenticity Guarantee service in the UK.
It was first launched in 2020 in the US for watches and the service quickly expanded to Japan as a second market. It is also in place for trainers, handbags and even trading cards.
The Authenticity Guarantee has led to a significant increase in sales of both volume and value of high end luxury watches through eBay. It has significantly improved trust within the watch buying and selling community. Luxury watch sales on the platform have reached a record-high with top brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet Omega, and Cartier, to name a few. Around 8 million luxury watches were listed for sale on eBay last year. eBay sold more than 200K luxury watches in 2020, 7,000 of which were priced above £10,000. eBay has 1.2 million daily live listings of luxury watches.
You get the idea.
eBay’s luxury watch operation potentially dwarfs every other retail group or watch brand in the world…. and it is not done yet.
I have learnt lots about it all and more importantly, experienced the process first hand so I have more to share.
eBays Authenticity Guarantee is a programme implemented by eBay to help bring peace of mind to buyers and sellers of luxury watches who want to enjoy buying and selling on eBay. With a tag line “No Fakes, No Frauds, No Doubts” the initiative sees every watch sold for over £1,500 on the platform sent to an authentication specialist who physically inspects and checks it has been correctly described by the seller before it makes its way to the buyer. Historically, because of a high number of bad actors using the platform in the past, eBay have addressed the issue of fraudsters and scammers taking advantage of unsuspecting people with this programme – bringing confidence back into the eBay marketplace for luxury watches.
How does eBays Authenticity Guarantee work?
Watches for sale with a price tag of £1,500 or more are subject to eBays Authenticity Guarantee process. They are inspected for authenticity and condition by a middle man, between the purchase and the delivery. After a watch is purchased the seller ships it directly to the Authentication Centre for a comprehensive inspection by UK authenticators.
- I have a watch for sale.
- Someone buys the watch.
- I send the watch to the eBay Authenticity Guarantee Centre.
- The experts their inspect the watch.
- Once verified The Authenticity Guarantee team then takes responsibility to deliver the watch to the buyer. It is sent via expedited, one to two-day shipping from the authenticator facility to the customer with signature confirmation on delivery.
It’s worth noting that if the watch being bought or sold is over £1500 or more, it MUST go through this process. It is not an option to skip the Authenticity Guarantee process.
Why is eBay good for the buyer?
As all us watch folk know, when it comes to purchasing luxury goods such as watches, confidence and trust is of utmost importance. Which is why eBay has invested in this Authenticity Guarantee process for watches. With this service in place, eBays goal is to bring more trust to the marketplace so eBay users can buy or sell luxury watches with a lot more confidence.
Anyone that has bought a luxury watch online – myself included – may feel that it can be a nerve-wracking experience. Especially when dealing with an unknown company or seller….
However the number of professional luxury watch dealers selling on eBay is growing daily and weekly.
The range, variety and choice of luxury watches available on the platform is increasing rapidly and eBay is back on the map as a top go-to place for individuals and professionals to buy their watches.
The peace of mind that the Authenticity Programme offers along with the ever increasing range of luxury watches available, is driving eBay up the list as the go to place to buy a luxury watch.
This buyer protection will certainly increase trust in the brand.
Why is eBay good for sellers?
Firstly, eBays Authenticity Guarantee process is in place to ensure buyers get exactly what they expect and also to ensure sellers are protected from fraud.
I’m aware in the early days that dealers were a little reluctant to use the eBay Authenticity Guarantee process because they didn’t want unknown people tinkering with their watches. Yet a few months into the programme I hear nothing but positive comments on the process from dealers. Most, if not all, say it helps their business.
For UK dealers out there that are concerned about this – unless there is something to hide, you have nothing to worry about. It’s important to know it is not amateurs managing this process.
It is a team of watch making and horological experts who really know their stuff. The facility is state of the art and they have all the tools and technology needed to work on all the watches they handle.
Trust me when I say, it is world class. I know because I have been there and seen it.
As an individual seller or a professional business, if you have nothing to hide and are a genuine and trustworthy seller you are good. eBay has your back.
Otherwise, don’t even bother. The process is that good.
One thing to know, the Authenticity Guarantee process is only applicable to trading within your country and not valid for international shipping.
Why is eBay good for watch dealers?
There are some really juicy extras for businesses who want to set up an eBay shop and sell professionally via eBay.
The Authenticity Guarantee programme as mentioned above.
Selling on ebay massively widens your buying audience.
Although the luxury watch market is niche and pretty specialist…
183 million is the number of buyers that are active on the eBay marketplace.
54% of UK internet users are active on eBay.
There are 29 million active UK buyers.
85% of UK users start and finish their shopping journey on eBay.
Every 28 seconds a watch is sold on eBay.
Every 30 minutes as luxury watch priced over £2000 is sold on eBay.
Other top big watch platforms sell THEIR watches on eBay (Chronext, Watchbox and Watchfinder to name a few)
I sold a few watches on eBay within days of listing them when they had been listed on other luxury watch market places for months. Listing on eBay will help with online optimisation of your watches for sale and your company. Google Loves Ebay for search. The two “jive” together well. The SEO gods and algorithm angels love this collaboration.
eBays fees for the sale of luxury watches are very fair and very competitive.
eBay Managed Payment
eBay no longer partner directly with Paypal for payments. Instead with their managed payments, eBay manages the end-to-end payments process.
Your buyers can pay with more convenient payment methods, and you’ll receive the money directly to your bank account.
There are loads of benefits around this.
Terapeak – eBay’s data driven product research and market insight tool.
This is a FREE powerful tool to help you manage and grow your online store.
You can use it to get insight on past and current pricing history for like-for-like competing products to what you are selling. Or even as your sourcing strategy and identify areas of opportunity. This is access to real-time, real-world sales data for millions of sold items.
Terapeak is available at no extra cost to business sellers with an eBay Shop subscription
Optiseller – is a third-party tool to help you identify listings with missing Item specifics.
Adding Item specifics to your existing listings can be time-consuming so the Optiseller Aspect Finder Tool can be used to help you quickly identify and correct your existing listings that are missing key Item specifics.
Optiseller & eBay have been partners for a year now, and the tool has proved very helpful for sellers to meet new item specifics requirements
Listing Quality Report which is a downloadable Excel document that provides you with analysis and importantly, it provides specific actions you can take to optimise your listings with the aim of boosting your views, impressions and sales. It has been designed with input from the seller community. Improving listing quality is one key way to improve your ranking and search impressions.
Selling Options – and you can have fun playing around with “buy it now” and auctions to see what works best for you. This also includes the option for international shipping – or not, depending on your business model.
The eBay Academy – their online video learning tool. This is an excellent training feature whether you’re new or have been selling on eBay for years. It will provide you with best practices on how to use eBays tools and features via a self-guided learning experience.
The idea is simple: Each short course topic is 10-15 minutes, where you’ll learn helpful tips and tricks that could help drive sales and growth in your business. These Academy courses are free-of-charge.
If the buyer needs to return the item, as a professional seller, your buyer is entitled to the 30 day returns policy of eBay. eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee programme ensures the exact item initially sold is returned to the seller, via a verified returns process.
The buyer will need to send the watch back to the authentication centre, where it will once again be inspected before being returned to the seller. If any dealers are concerned about the A.G process then there a small mindset shift that needs to happen to recognise it as a positive move to help drive trust into the marketplace
You're probably wondering “who is the Authenticator”?
I’ll tell you. It is Stoll & Co. who stands behind ebay’s first-class, flawless Authenticity Guarantee service for every watch sold on eBay priced above £1,500.
Stoll & Co, from Ohio in the United States was Established in 1982 are a leading service and authentication business who, in 2021 opened a UK subsidiary outer West London.
The company has pivoted from watch distribution – into servicing, repair, refurbishment and authentication services as the market for pre-owned watches has grown. They are the leading provider of watch repair services to watch manufacturers, retail jewellers and consumers in the USA.
The UK team consists of Specialist Watchmakers, Authenticators and administrative support personnel.
What EXACTLY happens at the Authenticity Guarantee facility?
There are a number of key elements to the Authenticity Guarantee for watches with eBay:
First – Proof of authentication. The experts check that the watch is genuine.
Second – condition. The authenticator confirms the watch is consistent with the listing title, description and images.
They will carry out a multi-point, physical inspection of the watches including an external inspection, assessment of the crown, bezel, dial, case, clasp/buckle, hands, crystal and end links serial number. Next an internal inspection, where there is a movement verification and a water pressure test before and after opening the case back.
Now, I realise many watch dealers won’t like the thought of this, I wasn’t convinced at first but then weighed up the trade off of all the other benefits I was getting as a professional seller and it is absolutely a trade off I am happy to accept. Also any collateral that is sent alongside the watch is also vetted, including the watches’ inner and outer boxes, as well as the pillow on which the watch is presented.
It’s worth pointing out here that the process does not include verifying the timekeeping accuracy or performance of the watch. NOR does the Authenticity Guarantee count as an eBay warranty of any sort.
After the inspection, each watch is given a unique barcode and entered into a tracking system.
An eBay tag embedded with NFC chip technology is attached to the watch to guarantee its authenticity and finalise the process. It is important to note that it is not amateurs managing this process. It is a team of watch making and horological experts who really know their stuff.
What if there is a problem with the authenticity or the condition?
If the item’s authenticity cannot be verified or the condition of the watch does not match its listing, the buyer and the seller will be notified and the process managed by eBay.
If the watch is confirmed as a counterfeit , then the buyer will be refunded and the watch returned to the seller. If there is a problem with condition, then this will be picked up by the eBay team and they will try to sort a happy outcome for both the buyer and the seller. It is in their interest to make this happen.
How much does the Authenticity Guarantee process cost?
A key thing to know here is that this service has been implemented at no extra cost to the buyer or seller.
All of this cost is covered by eBay. Both the authentication, as well as fast, tracked, signature-required delivery from the authentication facility to the buyer. It takes a couple of days for the inspection process – start to finish. Then a day or two to get the watch delivered. Yes, it might add a little extra time to get the watch delivered to you compared to a direct delivery from the seller, but this is a small trade off for the value you are getting in return.
A few extra days for unlimited peace of mind is a fair trade off if you ask me.
Looking at the statistics from eBay this process is a positive move for the pre-owned, luxury watch market, giving customers the peace of mind in knowing that their purchase is authentic and creating a hostile environment for scammers.
This is not only peace of mind for the buyer however it also drives confidence in the collectability and resale value. Nearly a hundred thousand new, pre-owned and vintage watches are marked with the Authenticity Guarantee badge in the US via eBay. A watch priced over £2,000 is sold every 30 minutes – including an impressive inventory of fine watches from brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega, Audemars Piguet and more. Watches up to and above $100,000 dollars are selling on a regular basis.
As someone who loves buying – and selling watches both personally and professionally I think it is a great service and excellent for the luxury watch industry.
eBay is heavily investing in this service and making this move to help prevent sale of counterfeit goods and prevent the bad actors that negatively impact the luxury watch industry from doing their dirty work.
It is helping to take away some of the huge pitfalls and perils of fraudulent transactions and introduce peace of mind. And buyer/seller confidence to reduce some of the worry of buying a luxury watch online.
It will certainly strengthen eBay as a marketplace for buying and selling luxury watches.
People who already use and enjoy eBay as a platform, can now buy luxury goods with even more certainty and perhaps keep them within their eco-system, rather than having to set up accounts with other watch marketplaces.
With 69% of luxury shoppers happy to buy pre-owned and 56% of luxury shoppers also SELLING pre-owned luxury, online shopping is looking to continue to rise for savvy online buyers and sellers.