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It’s about time: eBay now authenticates luxury watches

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Buyers looking to purchase a luxury watch on eBay will now be able to click a little easier with news that the online marketplace is expanding its eBay Authenticate programme to include sought-after wristwatch brands.

[NEW YORK] Buyers looking to purchase a luxury watch on eBay will now be able to click a little easier with news that the online marketplace is expanding its eBay Authenticate programme to include sought-after wristwatch brands.

Casual browsers and dedicated horology fans can now peruse an authenticated selection of more than 30 luxury watch brands, including Rolex, Omega, Breitling, Audemars Piguet, and Panerai, via the site's Authenticate page, which marks approved timepieces "Authenticity Verified."

The authenticated watches straddle new, vintage, and pre-owned categories on the site, with nearly 7,000 items, according to eBay. The service has also been expanded to include such European markets as Germany and the United Kingdom.

"We're adding third-party authentication to this inventory because we know the importance buyers place on trust for high-value purchases," said senior director of eBay Authenticate James Hardy in a statement issued on Wednesday. With authenticated watches priced from US$500 and up, eBay projects that the programme will grow to showcase more than 10,000 luxury timepieces in a matter of weeks.

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Launched in 2017, eBay Authenticate first covered the luxury handbag market, giving peace of mind to shoppers willing to spend more than US$500 on items from major brands Bottega Veneta, Chanel, Celine, Dior, Balenciaga, Fendi, Goyard, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Valentino, Prada, Burberry, Saint Laurent, and Hermès.

The watch programme follows the same protocol as that for handbags. Sellers must create a listing for the timepiece on the site; if the item meets eligibility requirements, eBay will contact the owner to offer its authenticity service.

Sellers choosing to opt in must send the watch to eBay, where independent experts can verify it. If approved, eBay will list and then ship the watch, if it's sold. If the watch is not authentic, eBay will return it. Online resellers Poshmark and TheRealReal offer similar authenticity programmes.

Regarding price, eBay says its independent experts wlll price items at the higher end of the estimated market value at a number attained after researching similar items sold on eBay and other sites within the previous 90 days. If the watch is sold, the seller will receive 80 per cent of the sale price.

The secondary watch market is a US$5 billion industry that constitutes one of its top-selling categories, according to eBay. The company says a watch is sold every five seconds on the site and lists the Rolex GMT-Master II "Pepsi" Stainless Steel as the most sought-after watch globally.

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