Buying a piece of history

Business World Weekender
Aug 20-21, 2004
By Raoul J. Chee Kee, Senior Reporter

When one invests in a well-maintained, pre-owned watch, one could end up buying a piece of history, perhaps even a Patek Philippe owned by Winston Churchill or a bejeweled watch previously owned or given as a gift by the sultan of Brunei.

So said J. Michael Dizon, co-owner of Secondo Pre-owned Time & Pieces when asked what the thrill was in purchasing a pre-owned watch.

The shop at Goldcrest Village Square at the Ayala Center has been open for two years now and caters to a clientele that he described as “people like me and my partner Junjun Lopez who have a passion for well-made watches and appreciate their complications [or movements].”

“Before we opened the shop, the only pre-owned brand most people even considered buying was Rolex. While I’m not discounting the fact that Rolexes are good investments, we were open to other luxury watch brands.”

Aside from Rolexes, Secondo has watches from Cartier, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Breitling, Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-leCoultre, IWC, Omega, Harry Winston, and Officine Panerai, among others.

Interestingly enough, the store also sells Rustan’s and SM gift (at a discount) certificates as well as framed paintings by local artists like Araceli Dans, Cesar Legaspi, and Juan M. Arellano.

It turns out that aside from Secondo, Mr. Dizon also owns and runs three pawnshops, Agencia de Empeños de Makati, Inc. Ten percent of the watches for sale at Secondo were unredeemed by their previous owners.

“We wanted Secondo to serve more as an exchange where one can find good deals. For example, if an owner wants to sell his watch as soon as possible, then he has to price it lower that its actual value. That’s why we recommend the interested buyers come into the store at least once a week just to get an idea what’s available.”

Those who are wary about buying a pre-owned watch because the parts might no longer be original will be pleased to know that Mr. Dizon is determined to professionalize the business.

“Whenever we are approached by someone who wants to sell a watch at the store, we tell the person that he has to have it checked and repaired, if needed, at the official service center. Just to make sure, we see to it that he is accompanied by one of our staff. Since several of the official service centers are located within walking distance of the store, it doesn’t pose too big a problem.”

The Cartier service center is located at the top floor of Rustan’s Makati while the Rolex service center is just in front of the old Greenbelt.

Mr. Dizon said that while a third party (like the service centers) may guarantee the authenticity and, sometimes, previous ownership of a particular watch, it is still the responsibility of prospective buyers to research on any piece they are interested in buying.

He suggested that neophytes interested in collecting or just buying a vintage watch might want to focus on three brands namely Rolex, Patek Philippe and Breguet although he quickly added, “It really depends on what you’re interested in or what catches your fancy.”

At Secondo, watches can range from a low of P10,000 for a Rolex, an Omega or a Cartier to as high as P3-M for an 18-K Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar.

For Inquiries, call 894-0282.