In a 30 second elevator pitch, tell us about your company and what you do.
After decades working for large companies, I ventured out independently last year to start my own company focused on buying and selling high end vintage and pre-owned watches. The goal of my company is to give collectors the knowledge they need to make informed decisions in transacting in the vintage collecting world, in particular with the brand Patek Philippe. Driven by passion and scholarship, my company Collectability (www.collectability.com) has been a true pleasure building and it is still just the early stages of its development.
What have you been experiencing from an owner’s perspective and what have you seen from others within your industry with regards to COVID-19?
The traditional brick and mortar retail watch business was disrupted and halted overnight as retail stores closed their doors indefinitely. During the first few days of the closure here in the US, things were rather quiet in terms of selling watches.
However, after the first week, I was surprised to see that clients were looking to buy rather aggressively. Orders from American buyers quarantined in their homes started to increase and buyers from the Middle East and Asia started transacting again.
Globally, it appears that the vintage watch market is quite healthy and my assessment is that many people are rather bored at home and studying their passion of watch collecting more seriously. More time online is leading to more educated clients who are buying. Others are buying for investment or wealth retention in these uncertain times.
What ways have you pivoted and adapted to the “new normal”? Any creative ways you’ve begun reaching out to your base?
I have never seen such an abrupt way of changing the way an industry does business. In watch collecting circles, the shift was almost overnight to WhatsApp chat rooms, Instagram, and meetings with Zoom rather than in person.
In the forensic world of inspecting vintage watches, all this technology lends itself well to assessing timepieces and transacting securely. The “new normal” was a punctuated change to the marketplace and I don’t expect our industry will ever be the same now.
What decision(s) ended up being the most important to your business during this time?
Just before the quarantine, I made the decision to start a YouTube channel for the company. I filmed 8 videos in one day at The Station and the footage went into editing immediately.
During the last few weeks, I have slowly released these videos and they have been well received by the watch community with time on their hands.
Transactionally, almost every piece shown in the videos is now sold. I never thought I would be doing YouTube videos but it is a valuable resource to connect and educate.
When the dust settles and the world starts turning again, what is the first restaurant you will dine in and what will you order?
When the restaurants reopen for dine-in, I look forward to my weekly lunches with my wife at Sorriso Kitchen. I love this amazing restaurant for so many reasons… and the Big “B” breakfast special is just one of them.
What is the most important thing helping to keep you sane and balanced during this time? It can be a book, a show, a routine, etc.
The most important thing keeping me sane during this time is running 4-5 per week. I was in the midst of a training cycle to run the NYC Half Marathon on March 15 but it was intelligently cancelled a few weeks before. I have continued my training and hope to be running the Chicago Marathon in October. I’m not sure if these massive running events have a future in the coming months or even years but it keeps me sane hitting the road with hope that things will be somewhat normal again in the future. ‘Keep on running’ now has a whole new meaning.