So here we are quickly approaching the midpoint of 2019 and the luxury watch market, Rolex in particular, is still experiencing dynamic times, more than ever truth be known, in the both the new and pre-owned sectores. As Rolex “shortages” and wait lists grow, everyone is scrambling not only to take advantage of the market at this moment, but to try and secure as big a part of it as possible for themselves in the future. It’s fairly old news as to which big guns have started their march to control their stock from new watch to parts heap, which certainly includes a watches life in the pre-owned arena. That sleeping giant awoke some time ago and it’s thundering footsteps garnered everyone's attention. With battles lines drawn between industry powerhouses like Watch Box and Hublot. Hublot with its interactive online experience where a potential client can interact with staff at a Hublot boutique all the while viewing the exact watch he desires via live stream, right down to the neighborhood jeweler, each of them having their distinct advantages. A smooth melding of two or more those options may be the winning recipe. Oddly the one competitor who was called out first as the weak sheep in the herd, the local brick and mortar store, may be stronger than formerly viewed with it’s own set of winning attributes. Hold the presses, don’t write the obituary yet! One of the greatest advantages a brick and mortar store has over an online offering, one which I feel many retailers may have forgotten themselves is user experience. That’s not to insinuate that our laurels are to be rested upon, in fact far from it. The fact of the matter is for the smaller pre-owned Rolex store to maintain and even gain momentum they must adapt and create a digital experience to equal the stores offline appeal. Let’s take a quick look at the advantages you can expect to observe as you walk into your local jeweler in search of a stainless steel Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore. One of the greatest advantages of being a smaller independent retailer in the pre owned market is selection. The independent retailer is not handcuffed to restrictions on product availability because of the countless of sources available to them to obtain watches. Sources can include watch shows, like minded dealers scratching each others back when a client desperately needs a stainless steel blue faced Rolex Sky-Dweller, right down to the customer walking in the door ready to sell, trade and or buy. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore, vintage Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar, iced out Hublot Big Bang or a limited edition Ulysse Nardin Randy Johnson “Big Unit” model, they all walk in the door sooner or later. I’ve been to Hal Martin’s in Houston and I’ve seen this very luxurious spectacle for myself. I know it to be true. Variety is paramount to a successful storefront as we have demonstrated, but selection taken a step further translates into helping that client find the right product. With a diverse stock, an independent retailer can help a client develop their own style and a deep seated love for a brand they never knew existed. Just like that you are a Corum Admirals Cup fanatic! Therefore a face to face conversation still has a huge impact over chatting with an online entity. Observing the client, the nuances of their character, seeing what watch the client walked in the store wearing, all of these things are helping the retailer form a personal profile, with the customer gaining the advantage of having someone in their corner when it comes to finding a Rolex Platinum Day-Date II with an Ice Blue Diamond Dial, or calling him out of the blue with a piece that just came in that he is sure the client would want to see. That is the user experience and possibly the greatest aspect of that experience is actually holding the watch in your hand, having it on wrist for an hour while discussing the brand, its history, its areas of expertise along with a detailed explanation of the watches functions. The customer then leaves the store with his purchase and shares more than the time with his friends and family. It creates a learning journey. As is with Hal Martin’s in Houston and with others of similar business models, having full time watch makers on staff can also aid in further technical details being explained to discerning clients right down to quickly removing a link for you as that diet you are on is working well. Rounding out the upside of a brick and mortar institution is after the sale communication.Sure the retailer wants to stay in your mind to sell you your next watch so follow-up emails ensue, but the flip side of that is the client can easily gauge the sincerity of said retailer past the sale total. In the long run when you run across a small retailer you are happy with you are going to reap the lion's share of the benefits in the joy of a well thought out, and well sought out collection.