Rife with thousands of premium timepieces and 175 million active buyers worldwide, the auction, resale and retail site is a major target for counterfeits. But the new offering aims to give high-end shoppers some confidence in their purchases, with third-party professional authenticators sniffing out the fakes.
“EBay has the largest selection of luxury goods — from rare and designer handbags to fine wristwatches — and we know this community wants an added layer of trust and confidence when buying in these categories,” said James Hendy, senior director of eBay Authenticate. “We’re adding third party authentication to this inventory because we know the importance buyers place on trust for high-value purchases.”
The new offering is an expansion of eBay Authenticate, a service that launched last year for the luxury handbag category. The program identifies genuine luxury products with an “Authenticity Verified” label. At this point, nearly 7,000 watches from more than 30 luxury watch brands have been checked and labeled, including models from Rolex, Patek Philippe, Omega, Audemars Piguet, Breitling and Panerai.
The expansion looks like a massive undertaking. According to the company, a watch is purchased on eBay’s U.S. site every five seconds. And new items, priced from $500 to more than $50,000, enter the marketplace every day. Given that, the company expects the program to expand rapidly — likely up to 10,000 luxury watches in a matter of weeks.
Watches across secondhand, vintage and new product listings are one of eBay’s top-selling product categories. Top sellers in the marketplace include:
- Rolex Submariner
- Rolex Daytona
- Rolex GMT Master-II
- Omega Speedmaster
- Omega Seamaster
- Panerai Luminor 1950
- Breitling Navitimer
- Patek Philippe Nautilus
- Patek Philippe Calatrava
- Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
- Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore
- IWC Portuguese
- IWC Pilots Watch
- Hublot Big Bang
- Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso
EBay also takes stock of its most popular watches across the globe:
- Rolex GMT-Master II “Pepsi” Stainless Steel
- Rolex Daytona Black and White Dial Ceramic
- Rolex Daytona Black and White Dial Stainless Steel
- Rolex GMT-Master II “Batman” Stainless Steel
- Rolex Submariner “Hulk” Ceramic
- Panerai “Bronzo”
The most expensive models, the company said, are the Patek Philippe 5711, F.P. Journe Chronometre Bleu and Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15400.
Although eBay’s claim to fame goes back to its auction roots, the reputation doesn’t match the reality of the site’s composition today. Eighty percent of its merchandise is new, the company said, and 89 percent of eBay’s items are sold via Buy It Now listings, which doesn’t require bidding.
That could offer some peace of mind for consumers suspicious of auction sellers. But savvy shoppers — particularly those who shop on rival Amazon.com — know that even official-seeming retailers or resellers are no guarantee of authenticity.
The e-commerce giant and other retailers are beset with fake goods. According to research firm Gartner L2, Amazon customers reported 5,101 counterfeits over the past two years.
For its part, Amazon denies those findings. But it’s harder to deny that the problem has become a major industry: The 2018 Global Brand Counterfeiting Report predicts that the sale of counterfeit goods will soar from $1.2 trillion last year to $1.8 trillion by 2020. That’s an increase of $600 billion.
Clearly, eBay is trying to make sure that those dollars aren’t coming from its platform.