Silas Walton launched his second-hand watch business in 2014 and, fast forward to today, the e-commerce site A Collected Man has surpassed US$34 million in sales.
The pre-owned luxury watch market has boomed over the last few years, fuelled by a new breed of upscale retailers, an increased interest in sustainable fashion, and clients having more time (and, in many cases, money) to invest in their collections since the coronavirus pandemic brought about worldwide lockdowns.
According to the financial services company Kepler Cheuvreux, the second-hand watch market is already worth US$16 billion annually. During a Zoom call with Tatler, Walton explains why this is.
How did you become involved in the watch industry?
I don't come from a watch background. I was in business school and later law school, which is where I decided that career path definitely wasn't for me. I came to this industry as a relative novice, although my first two paycheques did go to watches when I briefly worked in a law firm.
Tell us about your most treasured watch.
My 18th birthday present was my great-great-grandfather's pocket watch. The very first thing I bought and sold in a flea market in France when I was about 13 or 14 was also a pocket watch, which I'd bought from eBay.
It sounds like you've always had a passion for watches.
I kind of had an unofficial background in watches but I definitely didn't consider myself a 'watch guy'. I just saw how things were changing in the luxury market and discovered that there was nothing particularly sophisticated for second-hand watch buyers and sellers online.