Neiman Marcus is now in the vintage watch game.
The Dallas-based luxury department store has teamed up with Crown & Caliber, a startup specializing in consignment sales of pre-owned watches. From today, it is offering vintage and pre-owned watches at its online store, as well as at a pair of retail locations in Newport Beach, Calif., and Atlanta, where C&C is based.
Crown & Caliber started in 2012 and brokers sales between buyers and sellers of pre-owned watches. If you're looking to buy a vintage watch, the experience is as straightforward as it gets: You go to the website, browse the selection, and buy something that interests you. This is the kind of experience you'll find online at Neiman Marcus.
What sets Crown & Caliber apart is how it interacts with sellers. If you want to offload a watch, they'll appraise it, fully service it (so it's in top condition for potential buyers), and then agree to get you a minimum value if it sells. Typical consignment game. The bonus here is if it doesn't sell after an agreed-upon time, you get your watch back in better condition than when you turned it over to C&C.
Although more than 90 percent of C&C's business comes via consignment, they'll also buy watches outright—which leads to an unusual and exciting trade-in policy at the two Neiman Marcus retail locations.
Sales associates will be equipped with a proprietary app that lets them snap a photo and send details of a customer's watch back to Crown & Caliber for quick appraisal. An offer is then sent to the associate, and the customer can trade the watch in for a Neiman Marcus gift card. So if you're done with that old Rolex or Breitling, you'll be able to swap it for a new raincoat and some spring ties to go with a (non-navy) blue suit, or buy some opal jewelry and a sexy pantsuit for her. Or you can opt for a different watch.
Vintage watches have been available for years at Bergdorf Goodman Men's, the New York department store owned by Neiman Marcus, though not in partnership with Crown & Caliber. While Neiman Marcus in-store sales are currently limited to the two locations in California and Georgia, it will be interesting to see how the program evolves over the coming months and whether distribution extends to smaller, under-served markets, as well as places like New York and Dallas.
Until then, visit the Neiman Marcus pre-owned watch department online.