The website that changed the watch world – An interview with Tim Stracke, co-Ceo of Chrono24
Watch & Bullion12 May 2017 | 4 min read
When I heard of the opportunity of writing a piece on Chrono24 I felt a Sense of nostalgia throwing me back to hours of discovering timepieces on the platform when I first started learning about watches. Before I watched my first ablogtowatch video, or read my first Hodinkee article, Chrono24 was my personal lexicon of choice for reference numbers, live pictures, and price points.
Established in 2003 Chrono24 offers more than 300.000 watches from sellers in over 100 countries. With a transaction volume exceeding 750 million dollars and a recent funding by Insight Venture Partners for 21 million euro in 2015 it is safe to say that Chrono24 has changed the landscape of the watch market for good.
Nowadays Chrono24 offers a market-wide transparency for prices and availability of watches. With dedicated features to cater to the specialities of trading with luxury watches, it has quickly outworked competition from eBay and watch forums to now being the clear nr.1 marketplace for watches online.
Behind these impressive feats stands a team of people. Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Tim Stracke, co-CEO of Chrono24.
Which watch do you wear the most?
The watch I wear the most is a Rolex Milgauss which was a present for my 40th birthday from my wife and my friends. I also often wear a vintage Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox which was a present from my parents.
What is the most popular watch on Chrono24?
Popular is a difficult word. We recently did a piece on this in our magazine . The most clicks clearly are for Rolex watches, particularly the Daytona is very popular right now. What has to be taken into account though is that there are also a lot of Rolex watches being offered on Chrono24.
When you, however, look at the clicks relative to the watches offered to determine what is considered the most interesting watch, things look different. In this Category, the Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon is the leader in our statistics, followed by the Hublot MP-05 LaFerrari and Hublot Bigger Bang respectively. Finally, among the Independent brands, Richard Mille is the clear winner.
What was the biggest challenge for you and your team when you began your work at Chrono24?
I think the biggest challenge in the beginning for us was to change the technical infrastructure so that it can be ready for strong growth in the future. The amount of traffic we get has more than ten-folded and we have 46 domains now compared to just one. That requires a reliable system!
Another thing we worked on a lot was to build trust in the platform. When Chrono24 was fairly new it was for most people mainly a research tool. With additions like trusted payment we manage to turn more of those people into buying customers
Where do you see the most potential for Chrono24 to grow?
A lot of areas! We want to grow stronger particularly in the Chinese and Japanese market. Additionally, we want to build on our mobile experience, and we are working on Finejewels24.com, our marketplace for jewellery
The watch industry is currently going through a bit of a slump. Do you notice any of that at Chrono24?
Well, we are still growing as a business, despite an overall contracting industry. While the market for new watches is going through some difficulties now, we believe that the market for vintage and pre-owned watches is only just beginning to grow.
How do the big watch brands feel about Chrono24?
It’s a bit of a love/hate relationship. We are however in dialogue with all major brands, and with increasing presence of brands in our Boutique section selling new watches directly through us, we feel the relationship is continuously improving.
Do you still have any dream watches that you want to see on your wrist some day?
Yes! I would love to own a Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox international. I have a lot of international calls and a watch which allows me to see all timezones easily would be quite helpful for that. I am also a big fan of the design of Greubel Forsey.
Last Question: What was the first watch that made an impression on you?
I remember the first watch that impressed me was a Swatch Red Ahead at the age of 15. It had a see-through caseback and I remember the mechanics of it fascinated me. The first real watch that I owned myself was an IWC Mark XII. I still own it remember being amazed at the technology, design, and brand positioning of IWC.
Many thanks to Tim Stracke and Chrono24 for helping us with this article. We are intrigued to follow its impact on the watch industry!