Ebay has finally joined its burgeoning competitors in a bid to corner the pre-owned watch market by expanding its Authenticate Program to include watches $500 and up. The news comes on the heels of pre-owned watch and jewelry e-tailer, TrueFacet announcing it has already partnered with 7 watch and jewelry brands, who will directly authenticate their offering and include a manufacture warranty. Ebay, meanwhile, is now offering customers the ability to browse over 30 luxury watch brands that will include the Ebay Authenticate seal, including Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega, Audemars Piguet, Bretiling, and Panerai. The timepieces, which include a variety of pre-owned, vintage, and new, are authenticated by third-party experts and sourced through select, top-rated Ebay sellers.
The program has already extended to several European markets (including the United Kingdom and Germany) and it will cover 7,000 timepieces. In just a matter of weeks, Ebay is projecting the program will include up to 10,000 watches. According to Ebay, watches are one of its top-selling categories; the brand claims a watch is purchased every 5 seconds on the site. Unsurprisingly, the bestseller is Rolex. The five most popular styles around the globe include the Rolex GMT-Master II “Pepsi” in stainless steel, the Rolex Daytona black and white dial ceramic, the Rolex Daytona black and white dial stainless steel, the Rolex GMT-Master II “Batman” in stainless steel, and the Rolex Submariner “Hulk” in ceramic. The Panerai “Bronzo” was the only non-Rolex on the list of 6. The most expensive watches that often sell on eBay are the Patek Philippe 5711, the F.P. Journe Chronometre Bleu, and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15400.
The authentication process extends to watches from $500 to watches upwards of $50,000. The watches are currently being sourced through select, top-rated Ebay sellers, while the Ebay Authenticate program for handbags is open to all sellers.
The pre-owned watch market is reportedly a $5 billion industry; even the watchmakers themselves are getting in on the business with brands like Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, and even independents like MB&F beginning to sell their own pre-owned timepieces with manufacture warranties. It looks like other big name watch brands will follow suit in due time.