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The Second-Hand Uprising

The founders of used watch retailer Watchfinder & Co have secured £6.2m of investment in their company from VCs. Aside from taking the business into the major league, what exactly will this cash injection achieve for the hitherto organically-grown internet startup? By MICHAEL NORTHCOTT.

[dropcap]C[/dropcap]o-founder and brand director of Watchfinder & Co, Lloyd Amsdon, has just travelled in from the firm’s Maidstone headquarters to meet for a coffee and a chat in the Royal Exchange.

For anyone who has not been to this area of London before, it is a small, pavilion-style collection of shops and cafes housed in an imperious neo-classical building that has stood opposite the Bank of England on Threadneedle Street since the Victorian era. There is a feeling of prestige as you walk through the St. Paul’s-style pillars and portico to enter the atrium inside. It is not a surprise that the founders at Watchfinder wanted their retail boutique located in premises of this ilk: you could as easily be looking around a Rolex-owned shop in Bond Street.

WF&Co.
WF&Co.

The visual cues and their intended effect are unmissable: expensive premises equals expensive lease, equals serious business, equals trusted brand. Watchfinder’s shop has smart branding, state-of-the-art window displays and graphics, a spacious in-store layout, and given its proximity to Bremont, Bvlgari, Theo Fennell, Omega, Watches of Switzerland, and Tiffany & Co., one gets the feeling this choice of location was quite deliberate.

Amsdon is sitting at a table in the atrium area just outside the shop, dressed casually – he is not the besuited corporate type you might expect of someone who has just secured an investment that would buy a house in Mustique. He begins the backstory to the company in earnest.

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