An Interview With FSOT
FSOT is pretty self-explanatory. For Sale Or Trade, usually referred to as FSOT, is a start-up company with the intention to ease the processes of buying, selling, and trading new and vintage watches. Although there are many places on the world-wide-web to complete all of this watch bartering, nothing comes close to FSOT. Today, I spent time with the two guys that lead (and founded) this awesome operation, Scott Grossman and Faisal Jamil.
QUESTION: What is your name, where are you from?
SCOTT: My name is Scott Grossman, and I am from the suburbs of New York City – Rockland County. I grew up there, and my family is still there.
FAISAL: My name is Faisal Jamil. I grew up living in several different cities, including Jeddah, Karachi, New York, and London. We moved around a lot for my dad’s job/business. Once I started working, I spent a significant amount of time in Tokyo and Bangalore. I can’t remember the last time I lived in the same city for more than a span of four years.
QUESTION: When, and where were you first introduced to watches?
SCOTT: I received my first watch, an Omega Seamaster 300m with a blue rubber strap, as a college graduation present from my parents and grandmother. I wore that watch every day for almost three years until I could afford my next watch. That was my first real experience with luxury watches. Ever since then, researching, buying, selling, and trading luxury watches has been an obsession of mine.
FAISAL: My dad has a passion for watches. His collection includes GP, Omega Seamaster, and a few Rolex models (Datejust, GMT-master, and Day-date). As a kid, I was always fascinated with his watches, particularly the purple-bluish dialed datejust. I would “borrow” his Rolex datejust when I was around 12 and wear it to school. As long as it was returned safely, he was none the wiser. :)
QUESTION: What is your role in this business?
SCOTT: I am in charge of day-to-day operations and overall direction of the platform.
FAISAL: I am responsible for FSOT’s business development and strategic relationships. As a small company, we tend to overlap in all areas.
QUESTION: Of all possible sectors to work in within the watch industry, why trading?
SCOTT: Two reasons - the first is I majored in business at Cornell University and have an MBA from the Stern School of Business at NYU. You quickly learn that there are opportunities when market inefficiencies exist. Right now, there are huge inefficiencies in the secondary luxury and collectible timepiece market. There is a lack of recognized secondary market prices and often, huge transaction costs. That is something we want to help change. The other reason is that it can be a lot of fun, and you get to meet a lot of interesting and successful people.
FAISAL: I had worked at Goldman Sachs for over ten years, and trading is a concept familiar to me. To have a good primary market, it’s important to have a strong secondary market. We want watch enthusiasts to have a structured platform to pursue their passion, without necessarily committing new funds constantly. We constantly meet watch lovers, who want trade up or trade down their watches due to their changing personal situations.
QUESTION: Why did you create FSOT and was it partly because you feel that the internet was previously lacking an organized watch trading platform?
S AND F: That’s exactly it. We actually met during a watch transaction. Instantly, we found that we were both interested in many of the same things and shared similar frustrations about the current state of the secondary luxury watch market. That’s when we decided to create a platform dedicated to the trading of luxury and collectible timepieces. The goal was to make a user friendly platform for a product we feel very passionate about. We used our experiences as both buyer and seller to create tools and features we thought would help improve the experience. We make listing watches easy. We offer image hosting, search tools, an integrated trading tool capable of cash adjustments to either side, and enhanced listing states, among other features.
QUESTION: What are your future plans and goals for FSOT?
S AND F: Too many to list! Priority number one is to continue spreading the word about FSOT! We will engage our users on features they would like to see and what they think could help improve the buying, selling, and trading experience. We truly believe our site will be one of the best out there for watch lovers. Eventually, we hope to add optional escrow services, authentication services, price comparisons/guides, and much, much more.
QUESTION: Do you keep a record of trades that occur on a day-to-day basis on FSOT? If so, what has been your site’s biggest deal (trade or direct sale) to this day?
S AND F: Yes, there is a record of all types of activities that take place on the site. Our goal is to utilize the data we have to publish various statistics in the future. Have you ever wondered what the average trading price of a watch is and how the condition affects it? What’s the best time to buy or sell a watch? How does seasonality affect secondary market prices? Those are questions we want to help answer. We’ve only been live for a few months now, but the biggest dollar transaction recorded was the sale of a Patek Philippe Calatrava 5196g in white gold.
QUESTION: What is your dream watch?
SCOTT: I love tourbillons. They truly fascinate me. One particular watch that I’ve always thought was really cool is the Ulysse Nardin Freak. Someday, I am going to own that watch!
FAISAL: The vintage Rolex 4113 is an absolute dream watch. It was produced in 1942. I like it for three reasons. The first is its modern sized case - it was produced in a 44 mm case, absolutely gigantic for that era. Second, the rarity. Only twelve were ever made! That’s as exclusive as they get. Lastly, the 4113 is the only split seconds chronograph model built by Rolex. In terms of complications, I love perpetual calendars. My favorites being Patek Philippe models (Ref 2499 and 5970). My guess is that it will be a lot easier to acquire the Patek’s than the Rolex 4113!
Luke Rottman (Executive Editor: thewatchadviser.com)