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Under The Hood: Quaid from Bezel

A discussion with Quaid, Co-Founder of Bezel - a 100% authenticated, tech-first marketplace for buying and selling luxury watches.

Hey Quaid! Very happy to be speaking with you. Let's go back to the beginning - what’s growth been like since Day 1? 

We launched in June 2022 and are just over a year old. When we launched, we had a total of $7M dollars worth of watches available on the platform. Inventory growth has been quite rapid. Today we have about $300M in total watch inventory. We’ve grown 50% month over month. 

How do you attract sellers to the marketplace? 

It’s all about relationship building! We’ve actually done no paid marketing on the sell-side. The $7M to $300M inventory value has been entirely organic and through word-of-mouth. We’ve built relationships with the largest, professional dealers and authenticators in the watch world to get our initial inventory. 90% of the watches that exist in the market today are owned by professional dealers. We went to the dealers and explained Bezel’s transparent payout structure and showed how Bezel can serve their business. We have a dedicated, seller concierge to answer any questions sellers have in the process. Our customer service is top-tier and answers buyers’ questions every step of the way. This has been a major value prop for our sellers.  We’ve also built significant trust in the watch world, and buyers feel comfortable purchasing from Bezel. From the sellers perspective, it's really just listing their watch on Bezel and the watch essentially sells in their sleep! 

What are you doing to attract customers on the buy side? 

We do traditional paid search on Google. We also leverage the voice of our investors since our investors are prominent people in the watch world. For example, Kevin Hart, Steve Aoki, and Michael Rubin are investors and watch enthusiasts, and we’ve built content with them about their watch journey. We have a content series called “Come Collect” and did a big interview with Steve Aoki.

We also spend a lot of time creating educational content. In the USA, there really isn’t enough storytelling happening around watches. The watch world is really intimidating, and there are so many first-time watch buyers that want to learn more and understand what watch they should buy, how they should take care of it, and so on.  We partner with a lot of watch influencers that are making incredible, educational content like Brynn Wallner and Ben’s Watches. We produced a selection of videos called Take Care and answered commonly asked questions. Showcasing the variety of watches that come through our doors always performs well. We sell watches from $2K to +$3M, so every day is new.

What’s the watch authentication process like? 

Our AOV is north of $11K, and we have a very robust authentication and verification process.  We’ve had to turn down watches because they didn’t pass our verification process. We had a watch sent to us that was actually stolen in a high-profile samurai sword robbery in London. It was a $50K watch. Other marketplaces would’ve sold that. There was no way we were going to sell a stolen watch, so we contacted the police about it. 

Why did you launch as an app before building

We launched an app first because the watch world is composed of 90% professional dealers, but there are tons of collectors out there who can’t just list on a marketplace like e-bay because they have no credibility or reviews. Bezel is a certified, trusted marketplace and the app is really seamless for sellers to submit a watch that they’d like to list.  After we launched the app, we focused on building and launching our website.

How do you ship watches? 

We work with FedEx, and everything is overnighted in our industry. Overnighting is also required from an insurance perspective. If you sold a watch through us, we would send you a pre-paid label & packaging instructions. You’d overnight it to us. The entire authentication process takes approximately two days. Once it’s authenticated, we list it on the platform. If it’s sold, we overnight it to the buyer. Once you get past a certain price point (usually over 6 figures) the watch will be delivered in an armoured vehicle. 

How do you manage cashflow? 

We raised an $8M seed round because watches are a highly considerable purchase unlike a cup of coffee, so there’s going to be some time in between purchases. The venture funding allows us to be very methodical with our customer approach.  We want to be with our customers when they buy their first watch and their 100th. We don’t think about everything on a per deal basis but instead an LTV - 20% of our GMV is repeat purchasers. 

What are some highlights in your tech stack?

Stripe for payment. 

Signifyd for fraud protection

Elasticsearch for search 

Ramp credit cards

Gusto payment