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Mechanical watchmaking has timeless appeal, but buying channels are constantly evolving. Nicolas Hildenbrand, the founder of Watchdreamer.com based in Switzerland, wants to make the dream of watch ownership accessible to the largest number. Watchonista recently met with Hildenbrand to discuss his concept.
In the internet jungle, watch offers abound. It is hard to untangle the web between non-guaranteed secondhand, counterfeit, and grey market. Entrepreneur Nicolas Hildenbrand wants to create a new way, clear and guaranteed, by associating only with authorized retailers – or even with brands directly – and offering 0% credit funding, unheard of in Europe. Let’s discover Watchdreamer.
Nicolas Hildenbrand has loved mechanical watches for decades. But he admits: “There are many models I dream about, but prices are often quite high, and I need to think about it many times before giving in into buying." His idea of selling online with a credit stemmed from there.
Once the contract signed and sent back, Watchdreamer sends the timepiece within 24 hours
Hence, the dashing CEO went on to find partners – retailers and brands – to establish this new sales opportunity with scheduled payments. The solution exists in other countries, but credit rates are often elevated and mostly on second-hand watches. Watchdreamer’s goal is to enable the possibility of ownership at the right price.
The main goal of the young founder is to render the process as easy as possible for everyone. The watch enthusiast can now choose among the hundreds of watches offered on the site. The current number of meticulously detailed listings sits at over 900! After you find your dream watch, you simply need to pick the desired number of payments you want to make (from 12 to 48 months). The happy customer then simply fills in his personal details and uploads a copy of his ID card. Within an hour, the answer comes whether the funding is accepted or not! Once approved, Watchdreamer automatically generates a sales contract which is sent to the ecstatic new owner. Once the contract signed and sent back, Watchdreamer sends the timepiece within 24 hours to the defined address. Remarkably simple and efficient! !
It's so easy in fact that Watchdreamer has decided to fix an age limit at 25 years old for all orders. Why? Nicolas explains in full transparency: “Young people from 18 to 25 rarely have a credit track record and limited revenues. It would be very easy for them to get into too deep of a debt. Watchdreamer also has a responsibility in the way we sell”. Laudable concern indeed. ».
The watches visible on watchdreamer.com are all available immediately
This 0% credit frame only applies to amounts lower than CHF 11’000. Beyond that point, standard credit practices take over...for now. As the young entrepreneur specifies: “Our model is developing, and the aim is to increase this limit as our partners realize our clientele is serious. We are already on our way to raising it within the next three months”. ».
One of the most significant advantages of the site is that all the watches visible on watchdreamer.com are immediately available for sale. How is it possible? The supplying partners – all authorized retailers – send their stock daily. There is no waiting for weeks once the object of desire is identified! A real plus for the final customer. And the business model seems to satisfy more and more people. Another proof that the online sales of mechanical watches can work. A revolution is definitely on the way.
It didn’t take long to show results either. Since its launch in November 2018, monthly traffic is over 75,000, and Mr. Hildenbrand aims at 100K per month as early as June. Sales wise, growth is there already with close to 100 timekeepers sold in April. Watchdreamers' final customers and partners are thrilled! Evidently, the company answers an actual need. Indeed, nowadays there is a limited number of people who can lay out $10, 15 or 25,000 USD in one shot. On the other hand, those able to hand out $150 to $300 USD per month over 48 months are plenty. This creates a much broader potential target.
Who are the clients, and what do they buy? Nicolas reveals, without big surprises: "Our clientele is largely male, aged 25 to 50. The core business is around $8 to 12,000 USD. Our best-sellers are brands with young and dynamic images like IWC or Breitling, followed closely by Hublot and Zenith. Of course, the inescapable large players, Rolex and Omega, are right there as well. What is interesting to note is that 80% of the deals are made on mobile!” ! ».
The Watchdreamer revolution is on track. The offer is growing as brands and retailers realize the new distribution channel the start-up is opening. Not surprisingly, local offices are planned for opening in France and Germany as of next September.
Undeniably, the unique financing flexibility that Watchdreamer offers seduces the final customer. But the concept's relevance runs much deeper. Public reference prices are maintained, so brands are happy too. This is not a new 'grey market' player, but truly a new distribution channel. Likewise, for retailers, Watchdreamer brings a new way to sell to a clientele much larger than the one in their habitual customer area. In the end, everybody wins. And that's the stepping stone of Watchdreamer. We told you the revolution is here! !