How to Become an Authorized Watch Dealer (Ultimate Guide)

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Luxury watches have always been something people are drawn to. These products are right up there with jewelry, handbags, and wallets. So, it is no wonder the interest in becoming a watch dealer has increased over the years. But what exactly does it take to become an authorized watch dealer?

To become an authorized watch dealer, you must follow these steps:

  • Apply for the proper authorization through the watch brands you desire to sell in your business.
  • Find the appropriate place to sell them.
  • Find the marketing to advertise your business.
  • Find the knowledge to make you successful

This article is going to provide anyone interested in the watch market business information on what it takes to become an authorized dealer and the steps you need to go through in order to make it in the industry. Keep reading to find out more on the subject.

How to Become an Authorized Watch Dealer

If you are interested in getting into the watch selling business, you must choose the best way to go about it in order to make yourself a good profit and make the business worthwhile. And the best way to start selling watches is by working as a reputable and authorized dealer.

To become authorized, you will need to go through a few steps. This is going to take more time and money when you start, but it will definitely be worth it in the end.

Find A Location

Whether your location is online or a brick-and-mortar location, you need to decide where you will set up shop. You need to have a site that holds your product, equipment, and somewhere to put your office.

In this space, you will also need to set up an area and plans for packaging and shipping your items out if you plan to sell online.

Obtain a Business Licence

Of course, no business can legally exist without a handy dandy business license. Once you have a plan in place. Purchase a business license for your location. There are many online sites that can help do this for you, such as LegalZoom or LegalShield.

This should be done as soon as you are sure you want to start a watch business. It can take a little bit of time to complete, and you don’t want to be held up once you are ready to go.

Choose What Watches You Would Like to Sell

Moving forward, you will need to know which watch brands you plan on selling. If you are not going to be selling high-end luxury watches or expensive brands, you probably will not need much in the way of licenses or authorizations.

Most of the time, people who purchase cheap watches will throw them out and buy a new one rather than returning them or trying to have them repaired. Because of this, warranties are not all that necessary. 

However, if you plan to sell, purchase quality products and top-of-the-line brands, you have to choose which watches you want to add to your listings and then go through the proper channels to become an authorized dealer for that watch brand.

High-End Watch Brands

A few tremendous high-end watches include:

  • Patek Philippe 
  • Jaeger-LeCoultre 
  • TAG Heuer
  • Audemars Piguet
  • Blancpain
  • Rolex
  • Vacheron Constantin
  • Ulysse Nardin
  • Omega
  • Glashutte

These watches are luxury brands that will cost customers a huge amount of money, this is going to be an enormous task for any start-up business and will cost a lot of money to get going. 

Affordable Luxury Watches

  • Timex
  • Michael Kors
  • Casio
  • Seiko
  • Orient
  • Citizen
  • Hamilton
  • Tissot

These watches are a little more affordable and will give you a wider range of customers that are going to come into your store.

Obtain Authorization From The Watch Companies

This is where things become a little more in-depth compared to a non-authorized dealer. When you are preparing to sell watches and want your watch business to be an authorized company, you have to meet the criteria set forth by the brand itself.  

To do this, you must contact the watch brand headquarters and request an authorized dealer’s application to complete. Most companies have this application right online. 

Once your application is accepted and given the green light, you can start planning your business selling points and inventory around the authorized dealer’s perks.

Find Your Marketing Technique

All businesses, big or small, need a marketing theme or technique for their brand. This is more important than a lot of people think. 

Your marketing and “branding” are what will make you stand out above the rest. It is going to showcase your business and what you are selling as well as presenting a “first impression” to new buyers. 

When you begin to build a marketing plan, choosing the right colors, letters, and designs is; this going to make a big difference in the customers you will most likely reach. 

Set up Your Displays/ Obtain Your Supplies

If you are selling your items in a shop, it is essential that you are placing every piece in a location that will make it noticeable. Each brand should have its own section, and the area should be designed slightly differently than the others. 

Choosing a layout that will showcase each item will not only give your customers easy access to all of your product, but it will show them how many brand names you work with, which will put many people at ease and it makes you look more reputable.

Even if you are an online-only vendor, the way you show off your inventory is crucial to your company’s success.

Make sure each brand stands out, and your page is carefully put together. Content, spelling, and even the way you place the watches on your page will make a ginormous impact on how it sells. 

Have an Eye-Catching Opening Day Event

Utilize social media. There are mountains of ways to reach the public these days, so take advantage of as many as possible. Offer customers great deals, discounts, or prizes. 

Bring your new watch business into the industry with a bang. Hype it up no matter how big or small it is.  The reason for all the attention on opening day is simply to get people in the doors.

Be Friendly and Personable

Would you want to do business with someone who doesn’t make eye contact or only answers questions with one or two words? Probably not; it looks somewhat sketchy, right? We are not the only ones that feel that way, and first impressions last.

Do not start your watch business on the wrong foot because of inappropriate “bedside manner.” Be available, be helpful, and most of all are FRIENDLY.

What Does an Authorized Watch Dealer Do?

Authorized watch dealers will obtain products through specific brands that they are authorized to work with. They then sell these watches in a location outside of the brand’s brick-and-mortar shop or boutique. 

Authorized dealers are the only type of dealers outside of the brand itself that can sell specific brands that come with the perks that the actual retail location offers.

Rules to Follow as an Authorized Watch Dealer

If you are looking to become an authorized watch dealer and think that the only part of the job is simply buying and reselling watches, you are mistaken.

Once you choose to become authorized through each brand, you then have rules to follow. Each brand is a little different, so it is worth reading into every find-line and detail in order to keep your partnership on happy grounds.

Rolex

Luxury brand watches are not always easy to get your hands on if you are looking to be an authorized seller. The rules and criteria you have to follow are at times complex.

If you are interested in selling Rolex watches, you better put that on your business bucket list towards the bottom. If you are an online retailer, take it off altogether.

Rolex has some pretty serious demands for anyone who wants to sell their brand:

  • You must be an established and well-known reputable business
  • The Rolex brand must have a reasonably sized area in the store for their product only
  • Your store can not be located within a specific distance from other authorized Rolex Dealers
  • You can only use Rolex approved materials and floor designs
  • There is a huge buy-in that most start-up businesses wouldn’t be able to afford
  • You are not allowed to sell Rolex watches online; they can only be sold in stores in order to be given the brand benefits.

These are only a few of the rules and regulations set forth by the Rolex brand. If you are looking to sell these watches, you are going to have to work for them.

Timex

If you are considering selling more affordable brands, the authorization process is much more simple. For Timex, you can log onto their site and download the “retailer application form.” You must fill out information regarding your store, location, the item you are planning to sell (theirs and others), etc.

You are also asked to submit photos of the property (inside and out), display cases, and setups. This is not mandatory but will help them make a quicker decision and is usually in your favor.

You will then be notified of their decision or if they require more information.

Why Become an Authorized Dealer?

You do not necessarily have to be authorized to sell any type of watch to become a watch dealer. You can purchase merchandise second-hand and/ or repair and resell. 

The problem with being a non-authorized dealer is the lack of help or collaboration through the brands themselves. 

The benefits of being an authorized dealer are absolutely worth the extra time, money, and energy you put into your store. These benefits include:

Brand Warranty Coverage

Unfortunately, many people have purchased a watch through an unauthorized seller that has lost parts or needs some type of repair, and the warranty is not honored because the watch wasn’t obtained through an authorized dealer. 

Many people are stuck with new watches that do not work correctly or at all and have no way of getting them repaired unless they want to pay a pricey bill.

Customer Peace of Mind

When you are selling products that are approved through the watch brand themselves, you are giving your customers the assurance they are getting the product they believe they are getting and that you and the manufacturer back that watch up.

When a customer is at ease, they are more likely to go with your store than the un-authorized shop down the street, even if your prices are a little higher.

Extended Warranties

If you purchase a watch from a brand boutique, you will get the brand’s standard 2-3 year warranty. However, authorized dealers have the advantage of offering their customers even longer periods of coverage. Instead of customers receiving three years of coverage, they can now get 5. That will persuade many people to come to your watch business over others.

Exclusive Offers and Options

When you are authorized to sell brand-name watches, you have access to specific inventory and new release items. You will have the “in” on limited items and specials. Once you become established in the business, you will get a feel for customer preferences and know what items to keep in stock and when to snatch up a good deal when you see one.

You also have the benefit of stocking your shelves with “authorized dealer only” products. This will make your store a go-to location if customers want these watches.

VIP Service Access

A few watch brands out there, such as Audemars Piguet, offer their customers bonuses and incentives to purchase their watches. The Audemars Piguet watches come with a full day of concierge services. This means you’ll have a personal secretary for 24-hours just for purchasing their watch.

This type of benefit is usually rare and only seen with the higher-end watch brands, but still an option and still a fantastic sell point.

What Is a Grey Market Watch Seller, and Are They Legal?

We have all heard of the black market. Its allure is purchasing high-end products at a very low price. However, you never know if you are getting the real deal or a rip-off. With the black market, you are oftentimes risking the chance of purchasing a stolen item too.

Grey market dealers are the “unauthorized” watch sellers who do not have the privileges offered through authorized dealers.

There is an array of issues people come across when purchasing watches from grey market dealers. So why do they do it, you ask? Because the item is sold at an extremely discounted price. 

This benefit alone is extremely appealing to those who can’t afford to purchase big-ticketed watches at full price or those who don’t want to.

The problem is, if you are sold a fake or a broken watch, you are not covered. No reputable watch brand is going to cover an issue you have if you purchased your product from anyone other than an authorized dealer.

How Much Do Authorized Watch Dealers Make?

Unless you get very lucky, starting out as a watch dealer is not going to make you the type of money as some of the clients purchasing the high-end watches. Being an authorized watch dealer is an industry that grows with time. 

According to the statistics, a luxury watch dealer in the U.S will gross about $52,350 annually or roughly $25 an hour. For those extremely successful with their watch business, you can make up to $90,000 a year in some locations throughout the United States.

Location is Key

Like most other markets, the location of your watch business is key to being successful. You have to go where there is a need or want for your product. 

As of 2021, the best states to open up shop looks to be California and Alaska (Yes, really.) Here is a list of the top five cities that are paying the most for watch dealers:

City, State Hourly Weekly Monthly Yearly
San Jose, California $31.09 $1,243 $5,388 $64,660
Oakland, California $30.73 $1,229 $5,326 $63,916
Tanaina, Alaska $30.59 $1,224 $5,302 $63,626
Wasilla, Alask $30.59 $1,224 $5,302 $63,625
Hayward, California $30.09 $1,203 $5,215 $62,578

(This chart was made from information found on the Zip Recruiter website)

 

The same stats show that New York is currently hiring more watch dealers than any other state at this time.

Locations Currently Hiring Watch Dealers

The cities that are hiring the most for watch dealers in 2021 include:

  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Queens, NY
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Huston, Texas

Now, let’s take a look at some ways to profit as an authorized watch dealer.

Ways to Profit as an Authorized Watch Dealer

Before trying to up the services you offer, always check with the contract or rules, each brand has set in place for you to sell their watches. However, once you are authorized and following the company guidelines, there are many ways to increase your profits beyond just selling the watches in stock.

Service and Repairs

Aside from just selling watches in your store, offer customer services and repairs. This will provide another source of income for your business as well as get customers returning to you for all of their “watch needs.” 

Accessories

Adding accessories to your inventory will give you a whole other set of customers. These patrons will not put that much money into your pocket at the moment, but it will bring more foot traffic to your store and can increase your watch sales when those same people are ready for a new one.

Brokering

There has been a recently renewed interest in collecting watches, especially older watches, that is making certain people seek specific and hard to get a hold of items. Providing services that will take on the task of searching off of the hands of your customers can be very beneficial for a watch dealer. 

Once you become more established in the industry, you are going to find making connections easy, and you will have hookups to provide customers with watches they may not otherwise be able to obtain.

It is important to remember that the customers are going to rely on you for the product you provide. 

Only work with reputable and authorized dealers if you choose to become a watch broker. This way, you and your customer will always be happy with the product you secure.

Sell Second Hand

Another great way to offer options for every budget and to keep customers coming into your shop is to sell second-hand (working) watches. 

Many people would love to own a luxury brand watch but just can not afford the price tag that goes with it, and searching through eBay or Amazon can be very scary and turn out disastrous. So having the option of heading to an authorized shop with second-hand products at a reduced rate is welcoming to many people.

By offering a consignment sale, you can work with customers. They can tell you what they like and how much they are willing to pay, and you can find options that will satisfy your customer and allow you to make a decent profit.

Summing Things Up

Becoming an authorized watch dealer is not very hard. However, becoming a successful and reputable authorized watch dealer will take a lot of time and energy. You will need to take all of the legal and appropriate steps required to obtain inventory, build clientele, and make a name for yourself.

The most crucial part of becoming a successful watch dealer is by being friendly, professional, and personable.  Knowing how to market is essential, but word of mouth and personal experience are everything. Always leave your customers smiling so they will want to recommend you, and they themselves will keep coming back.