Sunday, March 3, 2024

Cristiano Ronaldo Joins Billion-Dollar Luxury Watch Trading Platform Chrono24

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Famed soccer legend Cristiano Ronaldo has announced an investment in the watch trading platform Chrono24 through his company, CR7 SA.

It’s a perfect match: Chrono24, widely acknowledged as the top online marketplace for high-end timepieces, has announced a financial alliance with Ronaldo — one of the most influential athletes in the world — and an avid luxury watch collector known for his discerning taste in horology.

The football superstar’s investment amount wasn’t made public, but with earnings surpassing $136 million in 2023 as noted by Forbes, it’s likely substantive. Ronaldo joins a host of distinguished Chrono24 investors including Bernard Arnault’s family investment company, Aglae Ventures, General Atlantic, Insight Partners, and Sprints Capital, all of which were contributors to Chrono24’s $118 million Series C round in August 2021. The Series C round propelled the company into the billion-dollar valuation league, a testament to the brand’s strength in the luxury resale watch market.

‘No one brings passion for luxury watches to the world stage quite like Cristiano’

Ronaldo brings his substantial following and marketability — he was named by SportsPro as the most marketable athlete of 2022.

The revered soccer figure shared his enthusiasm. “As a long-term watch collector and regular user of Chrono24, it’s a pleasure for me to become a shareholder in the company now,” he said in a statement. “Chrono24 unites millions of watch lovers from all around the world to share in their passion, together – that global unification is something I know well and am thrilled to be a part of.”

“No one brings passion for luxury watches to the world stage quite like Cristiano,” said Chrono24 CEO, Tim Stracke. “He has already solidified his place as one of the greatest athletes in history, and as an investor shows astute knowledge of world-class luxury and technology. That coupled with his authentic, proven passion for watch collecting makes him the perfect teammate as our company moves further into global expansion and our next chapter.”

pre-owned rolex watch
Courtesy Rolex

Chrono24 connects dealers and collectors from across the globe; the Germany-based company has progressively transformed the way enthusiasts buy and sell luxury timepieces by providing a secure, transparent, and highly accessible marketplace.

With a massive global offering of more than 500,000 watches sourced from more than 3,000 dealers in over 100 countries, Chrono24 has revolutionized the traditional brick-and-mortar luxury watch shopping experience. It accommodates 30,000 private sellers, showcasing new, pre-owned, and vintage watches, which translates to an expansive range that caters to the varied tastes of watch lovers.

Billion-dollar valuation

Significantly, Chrono24 has always prioritized transparency and customer trust. The platform provides a “Trusted Checkout” service, acting as an intermediary between buyers and sellers to guarantee safe, secure transactions.

Since its inception, Chrono24 has had an impressive growth trajectory. It reached a milestone of unicorn status following a $118 million Series C round in August 2021, confirming its position as a leader in the luxury watch market with a valuation exceeding $1 billion USD.

TAG Heuer Formula 1 x Senna
TAG Heuer Formula 1 x Senna | Courtesy

The company, with a staff of more than 500 employees spread across offices in Karlsruhe, Berlin, New York, Miami, and Tokyo, continues to lead the charge in online luxury watch sales. Despite this global footprint, the organization remains committed to its founding principle — bridging the gap between watch lovers worldwide and their next treasured timepiece. With a unique blend of technology, market knowledge, and a customer-focused approach, Chrono24 has truly become the world’s watch market.

The high-profile addition of Ronaldo to Chrono24’s investment portfolio follows the company’s Series C round and its 2019 Series B financing.

Resale luxury watch market

The luxury watch resale market is an expanding and dynamic segment of the global luxury goods industry. Traditionally, the purchase of high-end timepieces was dominated by brand-new retail sales. However, a shift in consumer habits, the growth of online platforms, and the rising appreciation for vintage and rare models have substantially invigorated the resale market.

High-end watches have long been seen as status symbols, indicators of refined taste, and sound investments. Now, these timepieces are also appreciated for their heritage and craftsmanship, with vintage and rare models growing in popularity. The rise of online marketplaces, like Chrono24 and Watchbox, has made these watches more accessible to a global audience, democratizing the luxury watch market.

For Panerai, It's Always the Right Time to Be a Responsible Business
Panerai ambassador Jeremy Jauncey | Courtesy

Unlike new watch sales, which can be constrained by the manufacturing capabilities of luxury brands, the resale market offers a vast array of choices. Buyers can find everything from pre-owned contemporary models to vintage timepieces that are no longer in production. The latter can often appreciate in value over time, making them an attractive investment opportunity.

The global pandemic also played a role in bolstering the luxury watch resale market. As consumers became more comfortable with online shopping, many turned to trusted resale platforms for their luxury watch purchases. Additionally, the economic uncertainty triggered by the pandemic has highlighted the investment potential of high-end watches, which can retain or even increase in value over time.

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