National Jeweler Network

Online Retailing

Christie’s enters retail with online watch store

May 22, 2014

This Patek Philippe Ref. 2551 is one of the timepieces available on Christie’s Watch Shop. It retails for $21,000.

New York--Christie’s is expanding its sales reach with the launch of an online retail boutique that will offer rare, vintage and luxury timepieces, the auction house said Wednesday.

Called Christie’s Watch Shop, the site will function as a retail store rather than an auction; each timepiece will have a set price, with no additional costs or buyer’s premium, and will be available for immediate purchase.

At least 30 watches will be available on the shop at all times.

Currently for sale on the site are wristwatches by Rolex, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Longines and Breitling, among others, with prices ranging from $3,500 to more than $200,000. Many of the timepieces come complete with original boxes and certificates.

The shop also features “The Vault,” a page of watch news, interviews and analysis from specialists; “Deconstructed,” an in-depth look at choice selections from the shop; and “Videos: Dialed In,” where specialists guide visitors through the entire collection, one watch at a time.

In addition, shoppers on the site will have the chance to connect directly with a Christie’s watch specialist through email or social media channels for questions.

This online selling endeavor is part of Christie’s ecommerce strategy, the company said, that will complement its global auction sales schedule as well as its bespoke private sales service.

“Christie’s Watch Shop is meant to engage our audience in a new format by presenting content and stylized photography, instructional videos on how to care for and build a watch collection and, most importantly, the ability to purchase immediately,” said John Auerbach, international managing director of ecommerce at the auction house.

The auction house also will promote the shop by advertising new additions on its Instagram account, @ChristiesInc, with the hashtag #WatchWednesday. New watches will be flagged.

The Watch Shop, which launched earlier this month, sold through 30 percent of its inventory in the first week, Christie’s said, with buyers hailing from the United States, United Kingdom and Switzerland.

“Every day, we are contacted by collectors, colleagues and friends asking us where we can get the best price on a vintage or modern watch,” said John Reardon, international co-head of Christie’s Watches. “The vision of Christie’s Watch Shop is clear: we will scour the world for the best examples of vintage and modern watches and offer them to our clients at the best prices for immediate purchase.”