Out of a nondescript Buckhead office, Hamilton Powell, a fourth-generation Atlantan, consigns some of the world’s finest watches: Rolexes, vintage Glashüttes, Patek Philippes. Powell, thirty-two, started Crown & Caliber in 2012, backed by his private equity fund, Powell Growth Capital. Until then, he says, if you had a luxury timepiece to unload, your only options were sites like eBay or “a guy with a pinkie ring.” He believes his online marketplace is the first of its kind, appraising, buying, cleaning, servicing, and selling watches within sixty days.
In the office, researchers tap away at computers to provide price quotes, specialists in funny glasses and lab coats tinker with the guts of the little machines, and refrigerator-sized vaults store baggies of the pricey goods; consignment values start at $1,000. The typical client is male, and a collector, watch nut, or regular joe with an estate acquisition. The company has grown from two employees to eighteen, and last month it launched an app, so you can now buy or sell from your first-class cabin.
This article originally appeared in out September 2014 issue.