Timepiece Epicurean: How two friends turned their passion into profit

Timepiece Epicurean is an independent watch trader in Barnsley, specialising in luxury watches. The company is the brainchild of friends, Max Hayes-Allen and Martyn Kandrotas.

Max and Martyn’s business journey began over a decade ago, back in their school days. They had a shared dream of building their own business, rather than working for someone else. But, at the time, didn’t have a clear idea of what to do. They toyed with the idea of an email marketing business, capitalising on Martyn’s marketing expertise. Then, in summer 2022, Max’s passion for luxury watches since age 16 led to a spark of inspiration.

“We found a rare Omega watch listed on Facebook Marketplace for a fraction of its true value. We double-checked the serial number to ensure it was genuine, then bought the watch. We each invested £300 to buy it and made a £1,000 profit on the sale. That initial £600 is still our only financial investment in the business.”

Max Hayes-Allen

From there, Max and Martyn began building the business. Their next watch was a Tag Heuer which soon sold. But, several months later, they’d only made a small profit leading them to wonder whether it was more of a hobby. They persevered, and things began to change.

“We’d only made around £5,000 profit by July 2023. Then, the business began to take off and our profits started rising every month. We’ve made a £40,000 profit in the last eight months, and that figure keeps increasing.”

Max Hayes-Allen

Most customers find Timepiece Epicurean via social media. The company is active in buying and selling groups on Facebook, but also has a website and Google profile. To add more credibility to the business, Max and Martyn chose to become Limited in November 2023. Then, they registered for VAT in March 2024.

Breathing new life into pre-loved luxury watches

Max and Martyn’s attention to detail sets them apart in a competitive marketplace. They buy pre-worn watches and spend time breathing new life into them. It includes polishing out scratches and working closely with a watch maker in Manchester for services and repairs.

They also replace batteries with new and reseal the case back on. To ensure there’s no water getting in, they have a machine which allows them to do a water pressure test. Their watches are then sold with a 12-month warranty for repairs.

“We buy watches and get them looking almost brand new before selling them on. The work we do adds value, and we also check for authenticity. Watch owners often sell on eBay for a similar price, but without all the work and guarantees. Online sites can be full of fake watches too, which can be difficult for buyers to pick up. With our authenticity check and 12-month warranty, we give buyers peace of mind.”

Martyn Kandrotas

Currently, around 70% of Timepiece Epicurean’s customers are new buyers. Max and Martyn would like to encourage more repeat customers, especially as the calibre of their watches increases. One way they’re doing this is by offering a part-exchange service for those wanting to upgrade.

They’re also happy to source watches for customers. Max recently saw someone in a Tag Heuer Facebook group looking for a specific watch for his wife. Having seen one on sale, he bought the watch and contacted the individual, saying it could be ready for collection the next day. It led to a great review on Google. It’s a service they plan to promote more during their next advertising campaign.

“We work in the mid-price to luxury end of the market, dealing with watches we know will sell within a week or two. Our customers tend to be looking for Tag Heuer, Omega, Rolex, and Tudor watches. We’ve got great relationships with other traders, and often speak with each other if a customer is looking for a specific watch. We don’t see them as our competitors, we’re all in it together.”

Martyn Kandrotas

The Business Village gives credibility and a professional environment

Recognising the importance of a professional workspace, Max and Martyn decided to move from their home office. The Business Village gave them credibility and somewhere for customers to visit. Importantly, it also gave them peace of mind with 24/7 security.

“The Business Village is a great location, close to the town centre and less than 10 minutes to the M1. It’s easy for customers from further afield to come and look at a watch. The visitor signing in process gives us an extra layer of security. There are some bad people in the world of watches, especially when dealing with the likes of Rolex. We explain the signing in process means leaving their car registration number. It deters anyone with less than honest intentions.”

Max Hayes-Allen

Looking towards the future, Max and Martyn aim to continue their current pattern of growth. Their aspiration is to increase the calibre of watches they have for sale. And they want nurture their existing customers, helping to increase repeat sales.

Timepiece Epicurean is currently a two-person operation. But, when the time is right, Max and Martyn are open to bringing fresh talent onboard.

“Right now, we can run the business ourselves. But, as we expand, it will be good to get some creative digital support to help boost our social media. Bringing in professional support will mean we can take our business to the next level.”

Max Hayes-Allen

Website: https://www.timepieceepicurean.com/

Tel: 07375 226 689

Email: enquiries@timepieceepicurean.com