The very first thing to clear up is that Paul Altieri of all Bob’s Watches isn’t Bob of Bob’s Watches or remotely related to Bob.
Based in Huntington Beach, California, Altieri’s profitable online business raked in $21 million in earnings in 2016 and is currently considering figures of anywhere between $25-30 million for this year. Unlike other online watch dealers, Bob’s Watches revolve entirely around a transparent Rolex Exchange system — modelled on a stock market – where the current purchase and market values for every Rolex version are posted.
With 21 employees, two million page views and 800 company transactions a month, I ask Altieri what are the secrets to his enormously successful company, why’s Rolex the go-to brand for pre-owned watches and what will occur when — and if — big watch brands decide to market online?
The very first thing to clear up is that Paul Altieri of all Bob’s Watches isn’t Bob of Bob’s Watches or remotely associated with Bob.
Based in Huntington Beach, California, Altieri’s profitable online business raked in $21 million in earnings in 2016 and is currently looking at figures of anywhere between $25-30 million for this season. Unlike other online see dealers, Bob’s Watches pivots entirely around a transparent Rolex Exchange system — modelled on a stock market – where the present buy and sell values for every Rolex model are posted.
With 21 employees, two thousand page views and 800 company transactions a month, I inquire Altieri what are the keys to his enormously successful company, why’s Rolex the go-to brand for pre-owned watches and what’s going to happen when — and when — large watch brands decide to sell online?
Altieri: We have been among the largest, or probably the largest, trader of watches online, largely Rolex, but also other high-end luxury brands. The reason I got into the business was that I saw firsthand that no one was grasping the net — nobody was acknowledging its existence and doing it the perfect way.
Before I got into the business, pricing online was kind of ok, I do not wish to mention dishonest, but very non-transparent. I knew the internet was changing and had already changed a number of industries so I said, why not the watch industry? Of course, it was eventually going to happen, so I figured I might as well be the one to perform it.
I kept hearing consumers yearning for a better way to find out the trading value or market value of their vintage or pre-owned watches. So I said, why not just post all the prices, the buy-and-sell value of a watch, like on the stock exchange? This was an experiment, it hadn’t been done before, but it is an experiment that worked!
TJE: How can you supply your Rolex watches?
Altieri: People find us. They’ve either heard about Bob’s Watches or they go on the internet and do their homework. People are more sophisticated now when they search and shop online than they were five or 10 decades back, and Google does a really, really good job of finding the legitimate players in virtually any industry for any item.
So to answer your question, people locate us and we receive our watches from customers and offer them back to customers, so there are no dealers involved, whether we’re purchasing or selling. Because there are no middle men in the combination, we can provide razor-thin value to our clientele.
TJE: How do you build customer confidence?
Altieri: Although this might sound like a cliché, it was not about creating a lot of cash. Our model from the beginning was”let’s just do that right, let us be the good guys, let’s be honest, let us be open, let’s be transparent”. Let’s make the consumer feel good as, let’s face it, we’re dealing with the web, and they can not see the product so if there’s an issue or a issue, we have to step up and take care of it. If it means taking a wristwatch past five times, we will do it.
That I think it’s something you build up with time, it doesn’t happen overnight. You can’t buy trust and you can’t buy respect. You have to earn it, 1 day at a time, 1 customer at a time, one transaction at one time.
TJE: What would be your best selling Rolex models?
Altieri: Right now, it’s the ceramic and steel Rolex Daytona launched at Baselworld 2016, (model 11651), the model we call”the hottest watch money can’t buy”. If you walked into a Rolex dealer today with a stack of 100 dollar bills, he wouldn’t be able to sell you the watch because he doesn’t have it.
The Daytona is sexy, and the new GMT-Master II, aka the Batman view, below, with its black and blue color scheme, can also be a hot-seller, and the elderly Daytona models are becoming collector’s items because Rolex isn’t making them any longer.