25th Anniversary

Time for a Change: Turning a Passion for Vintage Wristwatches into a Thriving Online Business

By: eBay News Team

Alejandro Monroy shares how he left the corporate world to become an international luxury watch seller on eBay.

Editor’s note: In celebration of eBay’s 25th anniversary, we’re spotlighting a seller every week from our global community in our Mini Stories column through 2020.

Whether it’s the thrill of chasing down that perfect timepiece, an interest in detailed mechanisms or simply the appreciation of fine craftsmanship — vintage watch aficionados often slide from buying just one watch to collecting many. For seller Alejandro Monroy, he took that hobby one step further and transformed his personal passion for watches into a full-time profession and successful store on eBay.

Alejandro spent his early career at some of the biggest consumer product companies in Mexico City, earning an MBA and developing deep insight of consumer behavior along the way. In 2007, Alejandro left the corporate world to help support and lead his family’s business of jewelry manufacturing machines.

While working with fine jewelry, Alejandro developed an abiding love for vintage wristwatches. “Collecting and selling wrist watches involves centuries worth of history and tradition, since people began to measure time!” he said.

“Omega watches have always been my favorite, because they have accompanied man to the moon," he said in reference to Buzz Aldrin’s Speedmaster watch on the Apollo 11 mission. Indeed, he admired the Omega brand so much that he started to research and collect them himself; the very first watch he bought was an Omega Constellation.  Before long, he had amassed a well-honed collection of 200 watches, varying across brands and types.

Then in 2008, Alejandro opened his eBay store to sell some of his timepieces as a hobby and a way to make a little extra money. By the time he got started on the platform, Alejandro had accumulated a collection of 300 individual pieces. Despite his initial plans to simply sell watches as a side gig, Alejandro quickly became committed to selling on the marketplace as he saw his sales grow.

“I never thought this would be my main line of business,” he said. “I was lured in by the sheer size of the eBay marketplace and by the possibility of selling items all over the world. I found strengths to develop my business because of the type of watches I sell; there is a great demand for these items.” Within a year, Alejandro had left his full-time corporate job to dedicate his time fully to his eBay store.

Over the past decade, Alejandro’s watch selection has spanned the entire gamut of vintage and pre-owned contemporary and fine watches — including brands like Omega, Cartier and IWC Schaffhausen — which he sources from antique markets.

Alejandro Monroy Infographic 1600x900Alejandro Monroy Watch Exterior 1600x900

Omega Automatic watch exterior

Alejandro Monroy Watch Interior 1600x900

Omega Automatic watch interior

One of his favorite eBay stories over the past decade was selling a vintage pocket watch from the 18th century. Having purchased the watch for $50 at a local warehouse, Alejandro auctioned off the watch on eBay for $3,000. “I’ve accumulated a lot of great stories, but I remember that sale in particular!” Alejandro said.

To meet the demands of running a successful online business, Alejandro leads a team of four employees who help to manage his store. His extended network provides assistance with deliveries, taxes, technical support and purchasing watch pieces and accessories.

“I never imagined that I could make a living by selling watches on the internet and building a strong reputation in such a competitive market,” said Alejandro. “It is very satisfying to know that many people respect you for the work you do. Every day, I do business with new clients. Through my online business, I have been able to sell in distant countries like Asia and the Middle East due to the global reach of eBay’s marketplace. eBay makes it easy to contact suppliers of spare parts for my products that are not easy to find in my own country.”

With an average sales growth of almost 10%, Alejandro has been a top 10 Mexican seller for the last eight years in terms of sales volume and has reached more than 40 different markets around the world including the U.S., U.K. and Germany.

Alejandro’s secret to creating a successful international business? “Make your passion your business,” he said.

Empowering entrepreneurship and creating economic opportunity for all has been our philosophy at eBay since we were founded 25 years ago. Our marketplace has been enriched by the hundreds of thousands of independent small businesses and entrepreneurs worldwide. We win when they do. Learn more about how we partner with our sellers.