What do You think defines Goldammer Vintage Watches? Is it the spectacular watches, the professional photography and customer service, high production quality reels, meticulously researched and well written blog posts, the extremely professional guys before and behind the camera? Most likely that we'd never exaggerate our own qualities, too... Whatever it is that you associate with us... that's our brand, our identity and in today's article I'll give you some insights on how we became what we are today.
August 23, 2023
A Watch Dealers Diary - Our Vision at Goldammer Vintage Watches
Marcus Siems @siemswatches
Collector, Author, Data Analyst
What do You think defines Goldammer Vintage Watches?
Is it the spectacular watches, the professional photography and customer service, high production quality reels, meticulously researched and well written blog posts, the extremely professional guys before and behind the camera? Most likely that we'd never exaggerate our own qualities, too...
Whatever it is that you associate with us... that's our brand, our identity. This is the single most precious asset that we nurture and grow. Your identity is what sets you apart from the pack and (hopefully) makes people understand why your passion is relevant. And this gateway, the interface between our thoughts and your experience is first and foremost our website and our online presence.
The Goldammer photography style, one of the reasons I got involved with them in the first place... From June 2021 - Photo @Goldammer.me.
To be perfectly honest, we're far from being professional consultants or web designers. We also never really seeked for consulting on our shop, brand or other related constructs. Marc and Felix have been working in sales before getting into the vintage watches... that is most of the experience that we can offer plus the year long trial and error. Nevertheless, we thought it might be interesting for you to see how we operate and how we think about communicating with and through the world of watches.
1) The beginnings
When Marc started Goldammer Vintage in January 2018 he was the brand, the expert and the sales rep all in one. It was a small enterprise fueled by Marc's own collection and a few savings. And the question that needed to be addressed from day one was: How can people (customers) new to this world understand why you pay so much for "used" and "old" watches? And the answer was knowledge, you need to present these timepieces for what they are: beautiful, unique and rare. High quality, understanding and visual appeal have to go hand in hand.
One of the very first posts on the Goldammer.me Instagram page from February 2018... Quite different watches and photography style. Not even 10:10 hands... Photo @Goldammer.me.
Visual appeal and high quality/originality were always paired, it's never been one without the other*. So Marc spent a lot of time on learning how to do good product as well as lifestyle photos of these little anachronistic treasures to best showcase their allure while at the same time studying all of the ins and outs of real, fake and Franken- vintage watches.
2) To be seen
However, no matter how good your products and ideas might be you have to get seen. You gotta turn over stock to grow and in the beginning how can you do that? On the one hand that comprises getting seen by vintage family and spreading the word on the concept. And on the other hand, this means to be visible to potential clients. If you start from scratch that's one of the major obstacles.
The quality of lifestyle photography keeps improving - July 2018. Photo @Goldammer.me.
Back in the day Instagram was still rewarding good photo quality and our standing on the social media front was improving ever slightly. In the first year we got to 1,000 followers, in the second year to 5,000. The third year (and a half) is when it went wild - social media followers increased from 5,000 to about 45,000 in about 1.5 years. The following year was comparably quiet going from 45,000 to 50,000 and just over the last year growth increased again going from 50,000 to 80,000. It's similar when we look at the website clicks throughout the years:
Figure 1. Distribution of website views (Goldammer.me) from January 2018 to today (August 21st 2023). The asterisk indicates the running month.
In the first year the website had between 600 to 1500 monthly(!) views. It took until May 2019 that we reached for the first time over 5,000 hits, and August the same year it went up to 10k. We hit 100k website views for the first time in late 2020. This by the way has also been the first and only time we paid for online ads (Nov. 2020 - Jan. 2021). Followed by a hiccup year the website started to grow in visibility again in the middle of last year.
2a) Your own webshop versus bigger platforms
This might be the perfect time to give our opinion about another issue that we as well as several other online (watch) dealers face: Should we invest our time and money in our own website or use the available platforms like eBay, Chrono24, etc.? We think all of them have their pros and cons and I'd like to address a few here.
The style is still varying and experiments are the natural cause of action. Trial and error to find your identity. From January 2019 - Photo @Goldammer.me.
On the plus side, bigger platforms can grant you a lot of reach from the get go. Particularly, on dedicated sites like Chrono24 you already have your target audience addressed, people can actually stumble upon your shop while browsing for a watch to buy. This is in our understanding very helpful in the early days of a new enterprise. You can establish yourself as a brand and with the help of a reviewing system start building trust in it too. It might be the initial traction you need: at Goldammer Vintage Watches for example we sold 95% of watches on larger platforms in our first year.
For the cons, we think that larger platforms cannot grant you the same intimate connection that you can get through your own webshop. It can only get you so far as a brand before you'd need to diversify. Platforms are interested in having as many listings as possible follow the same style, their style - this grants a certain standard of visual appeal but negates individuality. How can you experience an identity within these limits? It is thus pivotal for us to move away from these sites for the sake of our own brand.
Figure 2. Distribution of Goldammer vintage watches sold through different channels, 2022 & 2023.
As you can see we're still selling a relevant proportion of our timepieces through one of the major platforms (Chrono24) but this value is dropping year by year. In the end, our goal is to go below 10% on these platforms and be as independent as possible.
3) Growing the team
From the earliest days it was always the plan to make Goldammer an independent place for the most holistic vintage watch experience. Naturally, that's not a one man job. By now we're a team of five: Marc (the Founder), Felix (Head of Marketing and Face of our Youtube Channel) and Mama Goldammer (Head of Operations) as well as Martin (Head of Sales and Twitter/TikTok) and yours truly Marcus (Chief Editor).
The very first video on our YouTube channel from February 19th 2021. Look how young we were...
Felix was the first to join the Team in February 2021. Our YouTube channel has since grown from zero to over 6,500 subscribers and over 600,000 overall views. Shortly after I joined as a freelance writer and we published the first article in August 2021. Counting this one in as well I've written 84 articles since and we are reaching a monthly audience of over 14,000 readers by now.
To support all of us in our daily duties and keep the customer service standards high Marc's and Felix's mother joined the group in April 2022. Martin, a good friend of us, has been the latest addition to the roster in May this year and is a talented and experienced photographer.
The classic Goldammer style starts to solidify more and more. From June 2019 - Photo @Goldammer.me.
4) What is our brand?
All in all, we're at a pretty good point right now. We can all do what we love to do and on the side are keeping to grow as a business, too. We love to spread the admiration for vintage watches and bringing appreciation to a broader audience. All the content that we are creating - be it photos, videos, articles - down the line is dedicated to the passion, expertise and interest that we have for the matter.
Our shop, our website and all our multi-platform channels are meant to be an anchor of guidance in a turbulent ocean of information overflow. Our objective is to be a leading force in the field of vintage watches while being able to present the best quality vintage timepieces. We simply hope that our brand turns into legacy one day... Nothing more and nothing less!
And here we are, the origins of the classic Goldammer style. From February 2020 - Photo @Goldammer.me.
We're not here to give any starting business informed advice but we found a formula that worked for us. That is: Keeping it real, staying independent and believing in our vision. And never forget that a bit of luck is always involved. See you all in the comment section...
* That doesn't mean that we've been perfect from the start. For everybody in every field there's a learning curve.
All Rights on the text and graphics reserved to the Author.