Portuguese football star Cristiano Ronaldo has made a strategic investment in Chrono24 GmbH, an online watch trading platform. By acquiring a stake in the company, Ronaldo is taking advantage of the growing market for pre-owned luxury timepieces. Chrono24, which is based in Germany, was valued at over $1 billion in a financing round held in 2021. Ronaldo joins existing shareholders such as private equity firms and the family investment vehicle of Bernard Arnault, the chairman of LVMH.

According to Deloitte, the market for second-hand watches is expected to expand by 75% by the end of the decade, reaching $39.6 billion. LuxeConsult, a Swiss-based analysis and consulting firm, even predicts that revenue from pre-owned timepieces could surpass sales of new watches by 2033. This investment aligns well with Ronaldo’s reputation as a collector of luxury watches, with brands like Rolex, Jacob & Co., Girard-Perregaux, and Franck Muller in his collection.

Tim Stracke, the Co-Chief Executive Officer of Chrono24, clarified that Ronaldo’s involvement is not an endorsement or marketing agreement. Instead, Ronaldo has invested his own money into the company. Chrono24 is currently the largest dedicated online marketplace for luxury watches, featuring up to half a million timepieces listed by dealers and private sellers at any given time. The platform earns fees from each transaction and has achieved double-digit operating margins.

In recent months, there has been a significant fluctuation in prices for highly sought-after luxury watches such as those from Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet. While these watches experienced a surge in prices in 2021 and the first quarter of 2022, they have since fallen considerably and are now at near two-year lows, according to data from online trading platform Subdial. As a response to the downturn, Chrono24 made adjustments by reducing its workforce by 13% and restructuring certain operations in January.

However, Stracke pointed out that prices for many Rolex models are starting to stabilize, while popular watches from Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet, like the Nautilus and Royal Oak, are still experiencing slower declines compared to last year. The influx of supply that initially drove prices down is now diminishing, resulting in a decrease in the number of Patek Nautilus watches offered for sale on the platform since January, even as demand for the timepiece remains steady.

Useful links:
1. Chrono24
2. Deloitte