Crown And Caliber Brings The Watch Swap Meet Into The 21st Century

Selling watches online, if you’re the kind who does such a thing, is a business fraught with peril. Do you trust Craigslist where the purchaser could be a scammer? Or do you trust eBay where the purchaser is most definitely a scammer? Even the watch forums, rarified as they are, usually result in heartbreak.

That’s why Hamilton Powell is running, a simple service that allows you to price and sell your fancy watches without hassle.

Powell isn’t just the owner of Crown And Caliber, he’s also a watch nut.

“Prior to running C&C, I spent 8 years in private equity. After several years of working with two different private equity funds, I raised my own fund in 2007. C&C is a portfolio company of that fund, and I felt so strongly about C&C that instead of bringing in a CEO, I elected to run it myself,” said Powell.

The service offers to buy watches at the “industry’s highest price point” and will individually appraise all watches submitted. They company then turns around and sells the watches – presumably at a profit – on their own site or via other means. For example, they have a fairly large selection of Rolex watches at acceptable – but not bargain basement – prices.

The numbers are looking good.

“We are funded by a $20 million private equity fund and have a multi-million line of credit from a major bank,” said Powell. “We have purchased thousands of watches since our inception. This includes anything from a $750 to watches well over $100,000. We are currently purchasing, on average, 10 watches per day, though that grows every month.”

The company sends you a prepaid, insured package and then services the watches in-house. While there are plenty of sites that claim to buy watches, Powell believes his is the first to offer a sort of full-service depot for collectors and folks looking to get rid of their old timepieces.
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The only other location for sellers, forums, are fun but customers are few and far between if you’re selling an unpopular watch. C&C, however, is ready to bid on nearly everything as evidenced by their extensive list of brands in which they deal.

Are the prices they offer fair? As far as I’m able to tell, yes. Rolexes go for about $5,000 and Omegas a little bit less. Unlike, say, electronic sales sites like Gazelle, watches tend to hold value a bit more and C&C respects that.

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You could also simply purchase a trench coat and attempt to sell your watches on the street. However C&C seems to have at least taken some of the nastiness out of the collector’s racket, which is always a good thing.