Danny was recently over in Switzerland visiting our new offices in Neuchâtel and sat down with Patrik Hoffmann to discuss the vision and the future of WatchBox. Danny always had a vision to be located in the heart of the watch industry and for pre-owned watches to become a global commodity. Fast forward some years, and his vision comes to fruition. Tune in to listen to the full conversation with Danny and Patrik!
Patrick Hoffmann [00:00:06] Danny Govberg from the United States, I'm so happy to have you here at Watchbox Neuchâtel. This is your idea, which is now a dream that came true. Tell us what you think about this new Watchbox office here at the banks of Neuchâtel.
Danny Govberg [00:00:24] You know Patrick, for basically for years I've always wanted to have an office in Neuchâtel because I always looked at it as the center of the watch industry. It's the base of where everything takes place. You have the artisans, you have the manufacturers. Basically, everything flows through this little town. And for years I've been coming here and I always dreamed of having an office. I never thought I would have one actually on the lake where it's almost like a vacation for me coming to visit.
Patrick Hoffmann [00:01:03] Now, Govberg Watches is more than a hundred years old, 102 years old, with a long history. Watchbox is an offspring. Tell us how that connection came from Watchbox.
Danny Govberg [00:01:16] Well, we always had an entrepreneurial spirit at Govberg since I've come into the business around nineteen eighty five. So what happened was watchbox a couple of years ago pre-owned got so big as a part of our business and I saw what was coming that I decided to spin it outside of govberg and create like a real startup within one hundred and two now year old company. That way pre-owned could go global where govberg could not be global because I'm not in the primary business all over the world. Where a pre-owned watch basically has no boundaries in the world of wristwatches. So Watchbox now is becoming a global pre owned watch brand. When somebody receives the watch, any watch that would come from Watchbox is at the highest standard and it's outside now of govberg so that we can go global.
Patrick Hoffmann [00:02:17] So that means it has a lot to do with trust and to be proud when somebody receives a timepiece or buys a timepiece from Watchbox.
Danny Govberg [00:02:26] Right. What I wanted from Watchbox was a global standard that anybody that receives a watch from Watchbox knows it's authentic. But more than that, it's practically new. That you would not even really realize when you put it on your wrist that it is not a new timepiece because it's at that standard. The strap is new. The watch has been overhauled and polished to a really fine quality where it's working perfectly. It comes with a warranty. It's a standard that the world can be proud of.
Patrick Hoffmann [00:03:05] Now, I would like to pick your brain because you're a visionary. You have some clear ideas and you have some visions. I said before, Govberg is more than one hundred years old. What is you saying about a watch being two years old, five years old or a hundred years old?
Danny Govberg [00:03:26] Well, that's the beautiful thing about timepieces and the beautiful thing why I believe preowned is going to actually rule the wristwatch world someday because the consumer really doesn't understand pre owned timepieces. They just look at them as used. With a negative connotation, but in reality, you have to realize a wristwatch once born should last a minimum of one hundred years. As long as you take care of it, so because of that, nobody will ever throw away a fine timepiece. Nobody buys a Rolex, for instance, and throws the Rolex away in 10 years. So a Rolex that is born today will last let's just for argument's sake, say, one hundred years and even more if you take care of it nicely. So when people talk about preowned a watch that's four years old, that's been well taken care of, can be polished a new strap can be put on it, sometimes it doesn't even need to be polished because it's been so cared for and worn so few times that it's like a four year old child. Nobody looks at a four year old child and says he's old or she's old. So when the consumer realizes the benefit of buying a timepiece that's four years old, 10 years old, even 15 years old, what they're going to find is it’s really no different, absolutely no difference than buying a new timepiece. The only difference is you get instead of choosing from 40 or 50 current models, you get to choose many times from five hundred to 1000 models. You get to be really unique. And you also often get a superior value. Since when you buy a new timepiece, one hundred percent of the depreciation of that time piece takes place the very minute you walk out the door. But if you buy a pre-owned timepiece and you hold it and you buy it from the one day or four years later, it doesn't go down in value, it only goes down in value the most the very day you receive it as new.
Patrick Hoffmann [00:05:50] Danny, you have that saying from beach to tux. What do you mean with this?
Danny Govberg [00:05:59] About a year ago, maybe a little less, 10 months ago, it started to hit me when I saw a phenomenon that Rolex watches, all the sports models, started to just sell out. Where it became like standing room only to get one. Almost like you have to wait months to get a timepiece, which in my 30 years just never happened like that, maybe with one model. And then I started to realize when I started to look around the other brands we carry, Patek Philippe Nautilus and Patek Philippe Aquanaut became the same. Even crazier, Patrick, hard to get. And then Audemar PK, their sports line, the Royal Oak, for the most part, became waitlisted in order to buy a timepiece. And then if you look at the highest end Richard Mille, it's the same thing. You wait to get a one hundred thousand dollar timepiece. So it started to hit me. What did these brands or these models all have in common? And what they had in common was simple. You could wear, for instance, a Patek Philippe Nautilus to the beach, you could play tennis with it. You could then go on a boat and then you could put your tux on and go to a wedding. Wearing your Nautilus.
The young man gets a watch from his father or from his father in law because he's getting married. He gets a basic entry level steel model Datejust and he wears it to the beach with pride. He wears it to a party. He wears it even maybe on the tennis court. And then he's going down the aisle the day he gets married and he's wearing that same watch. So more and more today, a watch has to be able to take you to the beach. And when you put on a tie and jacket or a tuxedo, you have to be able to wear it. And I think what's doing that is when you look at Richard Mille, they'll have a five hundred thousand dollar watch being worn by Rafael Nadal. He's playing tennis in it. But then when he's celebrating his victory, he's wearing that watch with a tuxedo on also. So I've coined the phrase from beach to tux to show a transition taking place a little bit in the industry that the hottest models of today and I believe will continue into the future are going to be watches that are much more versatile than sometimes watches in the past that could only be worn with a suit or for that matter, a tuxedo.
Patrick Hoffmann [00:08:51] Danny, thank you very much for that insight. And again, greetings from Neuchâtel, Switzerland.