It was simply a matter of time: independent investment company Fledge Capital has thrown its weight behind South Africa’s high-end online watch retailer, Luxury Time.
In the 19 years since Luxury Time was started by entrepreneur Adriaan Rootman, the company has established a strong reputation for offering pre-owned authentic timepieces by premier brands such as Rolex, Omega, Panerai, Cartier, Audemars Piguet, and many more.
Fledge Capital’s preference for investing in solid consumer brands with unique appeal means that this new Luxury Time partnership is a perfect fit.
Adriaan Rootman’s fascination with watches began as a child witnessing the daily ritual of his father carefully placing his own watch on the bedside table every night. As a teenager dreaming of creating his own future, Adriaan spent his pocket-money on internet magazines in CNA, and he realised early on that online selling was the way forward.
Following a trip to the UK to play cricket, he bought his mother a watch in Dubai duty-free, but back in Pretoria he discovered it retailed for three times the price in South Africa. This was his lightbulb moment: the opportunity to sell pre-owned luxury watches and to sell them online. So young Adriaan negotiated bulk buying of luxury watches at a discount with local shops and started trading. However, it was slow-going.
“Online credibility was always an issue,” recalls Adriaan. “remember 19 years ago, no one trusted buying high-end products through a website.”
In the first seven years he sold, at best, 50 watches but he did notice a trend: people regularly approached him about buying their old timepieces. Instead, Adriaan offered to sell them on a consignment basis.
“This was a very successful business model: I didn’t have to buy the watches, but had stock and could make a small commission.”
By 2014, Luxury Time had built up a devoted clientele, and Adriaan knew that premier watches were a winner. He started buying pre-owned watches and duly opened a boutique office space in Pretoria where customers could view their chosen selection in person.
“Fast forward another seven years and the demand for pre-owned watches – both buying and selling – has become a serious business,” Adriaan says. There were hiccups along the way, including a move into mainstream retail, but all were learning curves.
Now, Luxury Time operates a unique customer-first buying model: the potential purchaser selects favourite pieces from the online inventory, and Luxury Time arranges an in-person viewing at one of the company’s several discreet offices across the country.
However, Adriaan identified that he could grow the business significantly if he had more working capital to buy more stock/watches. Several investors expressed interest in investing capital into Luxury Time, but Adriaan was uncertain until his introduction to Fledge Capital. Founded in 2010, Fledge Capital is not a traditional private equity fund, but an investment company with permanent capital for private equity transactions. Its founders, property investor Louis van der Watt and investment banker Konrad Fleischhauer, shared a vision of investing in the “unlisted space”, and the company prides itself on partnering with entrepreneurs and management teams based on long-term potential, not short-term trading opportunities. Fledge has built an investment portfolio of upwards of R3 billion – including partnerships with King Price, Atterbury Property Investment, Oasis Water, Betterbond, Genric Insurance, Protea Capital Management, Dis-Chem, We Buy Cars, and USN sports nutrition – and holds a substantial cash war chest for future transactions.
Fledge Capital is now sold on Luxury Time’s 20-year track record and growth potential and has acquired a direct shareholding in the premium timepiece reseller. The investment will enable Luxury Time to expand its inventory and further develop its online presence, while enhancing its customer service capabilities – a timely investment indeed.
“Luxury Time is a remarkable business boasting innovation, high growth potential and a proven business model. With its attractive markets and data-driven strategies, it is poised for sustainable, profitable growth. We are eager about our collaboration with Adriaan to unlock the full potential of Luxury Time,” say van der Watt and Fleischhauer.
RELEASED BY CATCHWORDS FOR:
Adriaan Rootman, Founder, Luxury Time
Tel: 087 821 8899
FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO BOOK AN INTERVIEW: Kindly contact Bronwen Noble at 083 453 6668 or email@example.com.