Getting tired of your usual watch? Now you can trade it in for a brand-new Breitling. The esteemed Swiss watchmaker has partnered with Crown & Caliber, the online retailer which lets you buy and sell pre-owned luxury watches, to launch an online platform where you can trade in your luxury watch and receive credit towards the purchase of a Breitling timepiece. That makes Breitling the first major Swiss watchmaker to accept pre-owned watches for a new model. The platform is now live, and you can access it on the Breitling website.
“In the industry there was a lot of talk about the secondary market,” Thierry Prissert, Breitling USA President, told Men’s Journal. “We needed to embrace it in a way that satisfies our customers.”
With the launch of the platform, Breitling has entered into the booming pre-owned watch market—by some estimates, a $17-$20 billion industry—in a big way, although Crown & Caliber handles the process of appraising the timepieces. The companies first crossed paths at Baselworld, the watch and jewelry trade show, a few years ago, but began to work on the new platform in earnest starting last year.
For Prissert, working with an established partner like Crown & Caliber was the best way for Breitling to get into the secondary market. C&C already handles sales of many pre-owned Breitling watches and has a reputation for selling high-quality timepieces. But the company’s knowledge of watch sales was a big draw, too. Since its launch in 2013, C&C has processed over 40,000 transactions and built a massive database in the process, including not only how much certain watches sell for, but also how long they’re on the market.
“Virtually any watch that we see,” Hamilton Powell, CEO and Founder of Crown & Caliber, told Men’s Journal, “we will have historical sales pricing on.”
“That was the convincing factor,” Prissert said, adding that the partnership saved Breitling from having to figure out the pre-owned watch market from scratch. As any watch aficionado will tell you, it can be a difficult arena to navigate—shady sellers and fake watches abound. That makes established, legitimate retailers like C&C all the more valuable.
The new launch comes at an exciting time for Breitling. The company revamped its website last year and only recently began selling some of its watches online. The goal with these new initiatives is to give watch buyers more options in how they find and purchase a timepiece, Prissert said.
With trade-ins specifically, both Powell and Prissert view the new platform as a way to catch up with other industries that have long accepted trades to knock down the price of a new product. If you want to buy a new Mercedes, for example, you trade in your current ride and get a better deal. Now you can do the same with the watch sitting in your drawer.
“We wanted to be able to offer customers the same optionality that’s existed in other industries,” Powell says.
With trade-ins, Prissert also sees an opportunity to make Breitling more accessible for people who are looking to put something new on their wrist, but might balk at a several-thousand-dollar price tag.
“It’s also to open the brand to new people that would be very much helped by a good gift certificate credit amount,” he said.
Of course, you already have to be sitting on a pretty nice watch in order to really bring the price down. But if do you have a quality model, a trade-in is a good way to try out something new, and doing it through Breitling ensures a relatively seamless transaction.
How It Works
For someone ready to upgrade, the process is simple enough. Head to Breitling’s trade-in page and choose your watch’s brand from a dropdown menu (the company currently accepts over 30 different brands). Then, fill out a form, upload some images of your timepiece, and submit it. The information goes to Crown & Caliber, where experts review the form and assess the value of your watch using the company’s database. Based on the condition of your ticker and how others like it have sold, the company generates a quote and replies to your submission in one business day.
If you accept it, you’ll get a shipping label to mail your watch to C&C’s processing facility in Atlanta, and once it’s received, you’ll get confirmation of the offer. From there, you can either have the company cut you a check for the value of the watch, or you can get a voucher towards the purchase of a new Breitling model.
Take note: There’s also a sweetener if you choose the voucher. According to Powell and Prissert, Breitling will add a premium on top of your watch’s quoted value if you opt for store credit. Although they wouldn’t provide specifics, Powell said it’s “a meaningful percentage,” of the quote. Try making that happen with your local Mercedes dealer.
New Watches to Look Out for Right Now
With several new watches debuting this fall, now’s a great time to get your hands on a Breitling. Here are the details on our favorites.
Unveiled at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch in Lemoore, California, the Superocean Automatic 44 Outerknown is a collaboration between the watchmaker and Slater’s apparel company, Outerknown. It’s an update of Breitling’s classic Superocean dive watch, which was first released in 1957. It comes with a 44-millimeter stainless-steel case and a ratcheted unidirectional bezel—a key feature that allows divers to time their dives accurately. It has a green dial and the hands, numerals, and indexes have a luminescent coating for easy reading in low-light conditions. The launch also included a new Econyl strap made from recycled nylon that will work with any Breitling timepeice, and the strap comes in a range of colors for a rugged look that can match any outfit.
The new Avenger collection launched in September, and these watches are built to the highest standards of reliability and durability and come with some serious performance chops built-in. We like the Super Avenger Chronograph 48 Night Mission, which features a tough, shock-resistant 48-millimeter titanium case that’s designed for use even while wearing gloves. The blue dial’s large numerals are inspired by the stenciled numbers on aircraft carriers, and they’re coated with a luminescent film to make them easy to read no matter where you are. A blue leather strap secures this bold military-inspired watch to your wrist.
This watch is packed with aviation history. We’ll start with the name: It’s a reference to the de Havilland Mosquito, a legendary WWII-era British warplane made almost entirely from wood. Design-wise, the Aviator 8 is also a nod to the on-board clocks that Breitling designed for planes back in the 1930s and 1940s and the company’s famed Co-Pilot watch, which was beloved by aviators for its large, easy-to-read numerals. The watch is powered by a Caliber 01 movement made in-house at Breitling, and it comes with a brushed stainless-steel bezel over a handsome black dial with silver chronograph counters. The red and orange accents on the hands add a pop of color, and there’s some history behind them, too: The colors are inspired by the military roundels painted on Mosquitos during the war.
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