By Keith W. Strandberg
Even he was once duped. Years ago, John Cormier, an experienced watch collector, purchased a watch that purported to be something it wasn’t. When he figured it out, he fumed. Today, he’s setting out to help others avoid his past mistakes. In 2010, from a small office in Miami’s Dupont Building, he launched WatchFacts.com, a company promising to do for watches what Carfax does for autos: be a reliable, independent clearinghouse for trustworthy information about pre-owned pieces. His timing, not surprisingly, was impeccable: though his business is international, in recent years South Florida has become one of the world’s top markets for luxury watches.
Cormier, a Louisiana transplant, remains an avid collector, with his own impressive collection. “I have a watch for every activity,” he says. “During the week, I’ll wear a Rolex, either a Submariner or a Daytona, because it’s durable, recognizable and pretty benign. If I am going out, I will wear my Audemars Piguet Royal Oak or Offshore. When I travel, I will wear my Patek Philippe World Time 5910 or my A. Lange & Söhne.” He continues: “My favorite is my Lange. What I like about it is that you don’t see a lot of them, but when you do, people who know appreciate it.” His advice to others in the market for pre-owned timepieces? “Before you buy it, have a watchmaker who knows the brand check the watch. Make sure it is authentic,” he says. And of course, “make sure it’s tracking time properly.”