Chrono24 has proclaimed itself “The World’s Leading Watch Market”, and while this may or may not be one hundred percent true, they are one of the largest online platforms. But what do we really know about this digital store, and should you buy a watch from Chrono24?
When shopping on Chrono24, it is important that buyers understand that they are not buying a watch directly from the website. Instead, they are dealing with individual buyers and should take precautions to protect themselves from fraud.
All things considered, there is no good reason to avoid the website. However, buying from Chrono24 is a much different experience than if you were to buy directly from a dealership, and understanding the transaction completely is the best way to protect yourself from fraud and regrets later down the road.
Brief History of Chrono24
What is now the world’s largest online marketplace for new and used watches started as a side business run by two guys trying to make a bit of extra money. However, even with a less than impressive business model and an outdated website design, they had already positioned themselves as one of the leading online presences among watch lovers. For that reason, in 2010, Tim Stracke and a group of investors bought the small company. Today, according to the website, buyers can find more than 500,000 listings from more than 25,000 private and professional sellers worldwide.
But What Exactly is Chrono24?
Chrono24 is not an authorized watch dealer. Instead, it is an online marketplace that works much like eBay. The website gives sellers the tools they need to list and sell their items while charging sellers a percentage of the final sale price. Chrono24 makes money by hosting the listings and the sellers gain access to an instant audience with the benefit of knowing that anyone who is visiting the site is looking specifically for a watch.
Understanding that when you buy from Chrono24, you are buying from a private individual or business is important because it is your responsibility to take the necessary precautions to protect yourself from people who might use the site to swindle others.
Can Anyone Sell a Watch on Chrono24?
Anyone who has a luxury watch that they would like to sell can create an account and list their watch on Chrono24. There are two types of sellers that you will encounter on the website—private sellers and authorized sellers.
Anyone can register as a private seller and create a listing for free on Chrono24.
To do this, sellers register for an account, enter details about their watch into the system, and either accept the suggested price or set their own price. Sellers are responsible for describing the condition of their watch and must upload a photo of the watch set to a pre-determined time to show that they have the item in their possession.
However, these photos do not have to be used in the listing, and it is common to see photos that have been pulled directly from the manufacturer’s website. Beware of listings that do not have photos of the specific item, only have generic pictures, or only have one or two unclear photos as the seller may be trying to hide the condition of or some type of damage to the watch.
Businesses and watch dealers that want to take advantage of Chrono24’s audience can sign up to sell watches commercially. There are currently over 3,000 watch dealers using Chrono24 to sell their inventory. Businesses go through a verification process before getting a green checkmark beside their name. Additionally, verified sellers will pay for a package to sell on the platform and are typically more trustworthy than private sellers.
Are Watches Cheaper on Chrono24?
This is a highly debated topic and a question that does not have an easy answer, unfortunately. On the one hand, it may be possible to find a private seller who either wants to sell their watch quickly or truly doesn’t know the value of what they have and who has listed the watch well below the market value. However, you should always be aware of prices that seem too good to be true, because they just might be.
On the other hand, because of the fees associated with selling on Chrono24, the profit margin is very small, and sellers will sometimes list watches for more than the market value to cover the fees and shipping costs.
Generally, Chrono24 prices for used watches are fairly good and tend to sit right around or slightly below the market value. However, a good rule of thumb is to do your research, because while you may think you are getting a good deal, you might have been able to find it somewhere else for a little less. Additionally, although frowned upon, it is possible to make transactions outside of Chrono24, but keep in mind that when doing this, the website will not offer any protection on purchases made outside of their website.
There are multiple ways in which Chrono24 makes money from the purchases made on its website.
Dealers pay a fixed monthly price depending on the seller’s package that they choose. Additionally, they are charged a commission fee on top of this subscription price. Commission ranges from two to eight percent depending on the sale, and packages range from €69 ($72) to €1999 ($2077) a month. The fees are taken out of the final sale price. Although buyers are not charged any associated fees, the seller may increase the price to reflect the extra charges.
Private sellers do not have to pay a monthly subscription because they are not verified sellers. Instead, they are charged a one-time commission on any sale they make. The commission fee is 6.5%, which is quite low compared to other sites. For example, eBay charges a 10% commission fee on the final sale price.
While these fees allow sellers to list their items on the platform and offer some protection to the buyer through services such as the escrow account, they do not cover shipping, insurance, or fraud.
Buying From Chrono24
The act of buying a watch from Chrono24 is relatively simple. However, buyers are urged to take precautions.
Prospective buyers can visit the website by going here and browsing through hundreds of thousands of listings. It can be overwhelming, especially if you are not sure what type or brand of watch you are looking for, but the website’s many filter options can make it a bit simpler.
Once you find something that catches your eye, click on the listing to find more information about the item. The listing will include pictures and details of the watch. Look for listings with high-quality photos that do not look like they were copied and pasted from another website. Additionally, photos should show the watch from various angles to ensure there is no hidden damage.
In addition to good pictures, you should find a ton of information describing the watch. While you will find details about the watch itself, such as listing code, reference number, brand, model, movement, and materials, you should look for listings that include information about the seller as well. For example, dealers will often add information about their business, return policies, and other transaction details.
Another thing you will notice on the listing page is the price. There is often a smaller block of text under the asking price that will include added fees for insured shipping. Buyers may qualify for a payment plan through affirm, and you will find the monthly price on the listing as well.
Once you are satisfied and have decided that you want to go ahead with the purchase, you can click buy to purchase at the asking price or click suggest a price to make an offer. If you click the suggest a price button, you will be given an opportunity to read the terms and conditions. Be sure to read this carefully. Then enter your suggested price and your address before sending the offer to the seller. The seller will then respond to your offer.
Note: Any offer that you make through the suggest a price feature is a binding offer, and you are committed to buying if the seller accepts the proposal. However, there is no clear time in which the seller must respond. Be wary of using this tool as you may get stuck in a cycle where you are waiting for a response and therefore cannot make any future offers or purchases. Read the terms and conditions to find out more about how the feature works.
Buyers may pay in one of several ways, including with a credit card or through an affirm account. Additionally, buyers may opt to use trusted checkout. Trusted checkout is a fairly new feature, but one that was needed. Almost anyone can create a listing, and while there are protection methods in place, they are easy to slip through for someone who is committed to scamming others. Trusted checkout can help protect buyers by holding the money in an escrow account until the buyer has had an opportunity to get the watch delivered and fully inspect it themselves. If the watch does not match the description, is not in good condition, or is a fake, you can return the watch and the money will not be released to the seller. In addition to the trusted checkout, PayPal and some credit card companies may offer added protection as well.
Truthfully, Is Buying from Chrono24 a Good Idea?
Although we could not find any information for Chrono24 through the Better Business Beurue, they do have high ratings on other sites. For example, out of 1,677 reviews on Sitejabber, Chrono24 has a 4.8 out of 5 ratings. Additionally, Chrono24 was reviewed 23,807 times on Trustpilot and has a rating of 4.8 out of 5 there as well.
Although most customers have had a great experience buying from the site, there are those who found buying a watch through Chrono24 to be a nightmare. Ultimately, it seems to come down to who you buy from. Additionally, taking advantage of buyer protection services such as trusted checkout can decrease the chance of experiencing problems with your transaction.
If you are going to buy a watch from Chorno24, make sure to read the details thoroughly, research your purchase, research the seller and their reviews, and take advantage of the buyer protection tools.
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