Secondo: Second hand at its finest

The Manila Times
November 20, 2003
By Terrie B. Fucanan

DON’T be easily put off by the word “second hand.” When it comes to watches, jewelry, and art pieces, one shop will definitely lure you to its counters for giving a new meaning to pre-owned valuable items. That is, “second hand but of good quality.” Not to mention very affordable.

Secondo Pre-owned Time, & Pieces, located at the Goldcrest Building in Glorietta 2, Makati, has an ample display of branded Swiss watches, jewelry and artworks sold in very good condition at lower prices.

Having opened just last summer by partners Junjun Lopez and couple Beth and Mike Dizon, the store intended to offer items that are not easily found in other pre-owned shops. In the case of watches, Secondo has about 20 brands of hard-to-find models, some of them coming from other countries and not released here in the Philippines. While other pre-owned stores have more Rolex watches on display, Secondo begs to differ “by also sourcing other brands of quality watches,” said Mike Dizon.

Brands include Rolex, Cartier, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Breitling, Audemars Piguet, Omega, Franck Muller, Hublot, Breguet, Bulgari, and A Lange among others. Most of the items found now at Secondo are watches, but there are also a good number of pre-owned diamond jewelry and artworks.

Secondo sources its merchandise through a large database of people who love to collect such items. When it’s time to augment the display, the shop owners set appointments with those in the database and offer them to sell their watches, jewelry, or art pieces on consignment basis. Secondo also offers a combination of consignment and loan agreement, wherein it can offer a maximum loan value price to the supplier and just charge the amount when the piece gets sold.

How can you be sure that the pieces are of good quality? For the watches, Secondo brings them to their respective service centers for examination and price assessment. The actual retail price is determined, and it is from here that the watch owner dictates an asking price. For instance, if an original, slightly used Vacheron Constantin watch was originally brought for P1 million and the service center confirms it, Secondo could sell the watch for as low as P400,000 based on the owner’s asking price. And since the watches as earlier said are barely used (some were not used even), the purchase actually gives good value for your money.

“Previous ownership of the watch is also considered in our assessment, not only authenticity,” Mike said.

Proof of the good quality of watches found in the store is Secondo’s ability to join its items in international auctions. A Rolex timepiece with diamonds and mother of pearl worth P3 million is now on its way to the Christie’s auction in New York. Another Rolex watch, a limited edition Breguet, and a Patek Philippe will be auctioned in Sotheby’s London this month.

As for assessing jewelry, Mike runs a chain of pawn-shops that has taught him which items should be highly appraised. “We don’t use pawnshop prices here, however, when we appraise jewelry for Secondo, since most of the items really com-mand a high value. Some diamond jewelry were even imported and customized,” he said.

For the paintings and other art pieces found in the store, the owners of Secondo sells them for trusted family friends and relatives using the same consignment agreement that they use in selling watches and jewelry. There were Joya paintings sold at P120,000 each, and now waiting to be bought is a J.M. Arellano oil painting that dates back to 1934. There are also gift certificates by Marks and Spencer and SM sold at dis-counted prices.

Another difference of Secondo from other pre-owned stores is the openness of its owners to changes and trends. For this holiday season, Mike said they are trying to beef up the inventory and look for more non-Rolex watches that they could put on sale. This is to lure more buyers to the store, but as Mike said, he and his business partners aren’t afraid of competition.

“I’m never afraid of competitors,” he said. “I actually discourage people from impulsive buying and tell them to consider other stores too. The good feeling comes though, when they return and still opt for our watches. This makes us love the competition, because it makes us source our watches better.”