The watch industry had a headstart on resale compared to the rest of the fashion industry. Buying and selling secondhand watches, both personally and through authorized dealers, has been part of the culture of watches for over a century.
But now, watch brands are starting to take a cue from other brands in the fashion space by opening their own in-house resale channel. The latest is Timex, which on Wednesday launched a program called Timex Rewound, focused on taking back old watches from consumers and either reselling or upcycling them where possible.
The program was in development for the last two years, according to Shari Fabiani, svp of brand and creative at Timex. The impetus for the creation of Timex Rewound was twofold, she said.
“First is: How do we prevent people from just throwing away their old watches?” Fabiani said. “These watches can be passed down to generations. They last a long time. The second thing was the rise of vintage and thrifting. When times are tough, resale can be a nice entry point into the brand for people who want to get into it.”
The program will take back any watch, not just Timex watches. Those watches will be repaired, refurbished and resold, if possible. If not, they’ll be recycled with the parts reused in future watches. The watches are marked with the quality of their condition, with most watches on the site so far being in excellent condition, and prices range from $25-$100. Customers who send in a watch, whether it’s Timex or not, get a 20% coupon for their next Timex purchase.
Fabiani said Timex opened the program to accepting all watches because there isn’t enough of a culture of sustainability and responsibility in the watch business as a whole.
“I used to work in footwear and apparel, and those sectors are more at the forefront of this business,” said Fabiani, who formerly worked at Timberland. “There is a big opportunity for watch companies to keep their products out of landfills. I can’t speak to what every other brand is doing, but until others get into the space, we will keep accepting any brand of watches.”
Rolex is one of the few other watch brands to offer an in-house resale option, which it announced in December of last year. Another watch brand, the certified B Corp Solios Watches, offers a recycling program similar to Timex’s.
Timex Rewound will be marketed primarily through the brand’s social channels, Fabiani said. Timex is owned by the Timex Group, which brought in more than $1.4 billion in annual revenue last year.
The move is part of Timex’s overall sustainability strategy, which includes a goal of having 50% of its products made with sustainable materials by 2024. Those materials include apple peel, ocean waste and parts made from from ground-up watches collected through the new Rewound program. Timex also aims to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and to halve its emissions by 2030.
“Resale isn’t a silver bullet solution to sustainability, but it is one way that brands can become more sustainable,” said Adam Siegel, co-founder of the resale tech company Recurate. “When you realize that a product can be sold twice or even three times, it creates an incentive to make higher quality, longer-lasting products.”
Fabiani said that the sustainable ethos will extend beyond the brand’s resale program.
“A lot of water is used to tan leather for the straps, so we’re moving toward a waterless tanning process,” Fabiani said. “Shipping by air uses a lot of emissions, so we’re moving to shipping by sea. It takes a lot of time and effort to be sustainable, but it’s something we have to do.”