The luxury watch industry has unequivocally embraced the notion of e-commerce. In practice, however, consumers in search of authorized timepieces online have had a hard time finding them. A new e-commerce platform called Troverie, founded by Fred Levin, the former head of NPD’s luxury group, is the latest to offer authorized new timepieces. Mr Porter, Hodinkee, and Farfetch also offer them, but otherwise the availability of authorized new watches for sale online has remained slim. That’s because most high-end Swiss brands have stubbornly refused to allow their brick-and-mortar retail partners to sell on the Internet, sending many clients to unauthorized online dealers, where, in the most extreme cases, they’ve been swindled.
“Imagine wanting to purchase a luxury watch as a gift for yourself or someone else and then experiencing the embarrassment of providing that gift and it coming from a source where it was either fake, didn’t come on time, etc., etc.,” Levin says.
Troverie—the name is meant to evoke a treasure trove—intends to provide consumers with the three things they want most in a luxury watch-shopping experience, according to Levin: authorized product, a multi-brand assortment, and service “on their own terms.”
“They don’t want to go online and just interact with a laptop,” he says. “They want the opportunity to go into a store and talk to someone about this expensive luxury watch. How does it work? What’s the easiest way to get it sized? They want an omnichannel environment.”
To that end, Troverie has partnered with about two dozen of the country’s finest multi-brand retailers—including London Jewelers in New York, Hyde Park Jewelers in Denver and Phoenix, and Hamilton Jewelers in Palm Beach, Fla., and Princeton, N.J.—to sell authorized timepieces from 16 brands—namely Bell & Ross, Blancpain, Breguet, Breitling, Bulgari, Girard-Perregaux, Hamilton, Longines, Movado, Nomos, Omega, Raymond Weil, TAG Heuer, Ulysse Nardin, and Zenith.
Like Farfetch, Troverie maintains no inventory—clients can opt to pick up their watch at the nearest participating retailer or have it drop-shipped. If the piece is shipped, it doesn’t necessarily come from the store that’s closest in proximity to the customer. Instead, the site allocates sales based largely on how well a store services its clients (determined by survey responses and fulfillment rates).
“It’s a consumer-first model,” Levin says. “The best interest of the customer is having a jeweler who 100 percent of the time overdelivers on the experience.”
A Troverie concierge service staffed by ambassadors (who are employed by the site’s retail partners) ensures that customers always have someone looking out for their best interests.
“They reach out to the consumer and do things a lot of other companies don’t do,” Levin says. “They ask them in advance, ‘Can we size this watch prior to shipping it to you?’ That may sound simple, but when you get a gorgeous watch in the mail, who wants to take time to take it to a local jeweler to size it? We also invite the consumer to change their mind. ‘If anything comes up, this is my phone number. Text me, call me.’ The point is, you’ve got a guy to make sure this is a seamless experience.”