Watches of Switzerland Rolls Out Rolex CPO Program in US

FinancialsAug 15, 2023

Watches of Switzerland Rolls Out Rolex CPO Program in US

The retailer described early results as “encouraging” and said it will introduce the program in the U.K. in September.

Watches of Switzerland American Dream mall
Watches of Switzerland started rolling out the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned program at its U.S. stores in the middle of July and will take it to the U.K. this fall. Pictured is the retailer’s new store in the American Dream mall in New Jersey and the adjacent Rolex boutique.
Braunstone, England—Watches of Switzerland initiated its U.S. rollout of the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned program last month and said the reception so far has been “encouraging.”  
The U.K.-based retailer announced the development last week alongside the release of its results for the first quarter of fiscal year 2024, ended July 30.   
The quarter was marked by a strong performance in the United States, where revenue grew 10 percent at constant exchange rates to £163 million ($207 million). Watches of Switzerland said an increase in sales volume drove the growth. 
The retailer launched the Rolex Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program in the U.S. in mid-July.  
Rolex SA announced plans to begin certifying pre-owned watches in late 2022, marking a major shift in policy for the luxury giant and making waves in the lucrative secondhand watch market.  

The company certifies secondhand watches that are at least three years old, and they are available for sale only through official Rolex retailers.  
The program launched at Bucherer boutiques in Europe and the United Kingdom before coming to Tourneau/Bucherer stores in the U.S. this spring. 

Watches of Switzerland said its clients have “react[ed] positively to the authenticity and guarantee of quality that the Certified Pre-Owned seal represents.”  
It is on track to launch the program at its U.K. stores in September.  
Also during Q1 in the U.S, Watches of Switzerland opened a new multi-brand store at the American Dream mall in New Jersey while a renovated and expanded Mayors store reopened in Dadeland, Florida. 
The company also opened TAG Heuer and Grand Seiko stores in Topanga, California.  
 Related stories will be right here … 
Globally, Watches of Switzerland’s first-quarter sales were down 1 percent to £382 million ($484.7 million), which was in line with company expectations. 
Luxury jewelry sales (down 15 percent) dropped more than luxury watch sales (down 2 percent), reflecting in part the overall slowdown in jewelry sales.   
E-commerce sales slipped 2 percent.  
Looking to the year ahead, Watches of Switzerland said it is not changing its guidance for the year; it still expects sales to reach £1.65 billion to £1.70 billion ($2.09 billion to $2.15 billion), with year-over-year growth of 8-11 percent at constant exchange rates.  
Despite the bullish outlook, the retailer said it doesn’t expect consumer confidence to improve in the back half of the year. It bases its guidance on how much supply it anticipates getting from key brands, as well as store openings, closures and renovations.  
In FY 2024, Watches of Switzerland plans to open 20 stores dedicated to single brands in the U.S., U.K., and Europe. It also plans to expand a number of mono-brand stores, including the Rolex boutique at The Mall at Millenia in Orlando, Florida, this fall.  
In addition, the retailer expects to open a multi-brand showroom at One Vanderbilt in New York early next year.  
Commenting on the quarterly results, CEO Brian Duffy said, “We expect to return to more normalized growth rates in the balance of the financial year.  
“Our full year guidance for another year of strong growth remains unchanged, underpinned by our supply visibility, client Registration of Interest lists (for in-demand watches) and strong pipeline of showroom openings, refurbishment and investment, as luxury watch demand continues to outstrip supply.” 

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