albert and joshua ganjei

European Watch Company 30th Anniversary: Letters From The Family — The Past, Present, And Future

Celebrating a 30-year legacy is no small feat, and it’s also not something easily summarized by anyone who has not been a part of this organization since its inception. For that reason, we turned to Albert and Joshua, allowing them to speak to this momentous occasion.

From Albert Ganjei

Dear European Watch Company friends, clients, and supporters — this year marks the 30th anniversary of the European Watch Company. My staff, family, and I have had the opportunity to reflect upon all that we have accomplished in the last 30 years, as well as where the company is headed in the future. We appreciate your support and friendship and look forward to continuing to provide the finest service to our friends and clients in the watch community around the world.

Modest Beginnings 

European Watch Company’s story began in 1991 when I was looking to venture out of the engineering and computer science fields. Watch collecting had been a passion of mine, but I never thought of it as a career. Prior to starting EWC, I had a 26-year history in construction, computer R&D, and marketing CAD/CAM software at Computervision Corporation. While traveling worldwide, I always planned my trips to Europe to end at the watch fair in Basel. Overall, I managed to attend for twenty consecutive years. Having three young children and a wife with a corporate job of her own, at some point I thought of changing my career.  I met a few vintage collectors at a trade show, and opened the first store on Newbury Street with the help of a manager, while I maintained my computer programming position.

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Our very first location, 164 Newbury Street

With my wife and I both working high-tech careers on company payrolls, we borrowed money from our family, and I started working at the shop on Saturdays, trying to learn watches and sales from my staff. Soon after, the demand rose, and I left my computer work behind. I personally wrote our first website and database using simple HTML code in 1994. I brought to the business the concept of integrity and proper client relationships — lessons I learned from the corporate world, and something that was unheard of among other pre-owned watch retailers of the time.   

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The original team at 232 Newbury street

Despite EWC’s modest beginnings, my unique philosophy helped distinguish the brand from other retailers in the industry: for others, watches were a way to generate profit and maximize margins. Retailers were not buying out of appreciation for the craftsmanship, or the history of a brand. Others were instead focused on the bottom line. Since I had a computer and manufacturing background, I really appreciated the intricacies of fine watchmaking. 

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Albert at 232 Newbury Street location Circa 1994

My first visit to a watch manufacturer was to sell software to Piaget. Despite being offered watches of lower quality brands with better margins, we avoided bringing on watches that did not pass my quality standards. I did unthinkable things at the time, like removing factory faux alligator stamped straps and replacing them with the real deal, which ate into our margins only to improve our clients’ experience. This unrelenting commitment to client satisfaction and product quality remains at the core of EWC’s operation today.

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Fine alligator straps put on new watches

Steady Growth 

Over time, clients became friends, and demand for fine Swiss watches grew. Through connections in the wholesale market, I began bringing in higher prestige watches that meet our strict quality standards. As servicing and supporting our clients was more important to me than margins, I always said “yes” when others said “no”, and took in repair jobs that nobody else wanted to do just to build relationships and establish trust — one small job at a time. Thirty years later, the owners of those small repair jobs remain some of our most loyal clients and friends, some of whom have decided to sell us their entire watch collections simply based on the exquisite service they received some thirty years ago. 

In 2011, I was thrilled to watch the business turn into a family operation when my oldest son, Joshua, joined full time. Joshua has developed the skills to take our small company to the next level. I have full confidence in his ability and I am sure with his energy, and my white hair, our company will continue to succeed.

Albert Ganjei — President / Owner 

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Albert and Joshua tour old Geneva and watch manufacturers

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From Joshua Ganjei

While I thought I was here to temporarily help out after I graduated from Boston University School of Management, I quickly got sucked into the watch world. It only took about a year to realize that the business could become a great long-term opportunity for my career. Right away, we began investing heavily into our digital presence and built up a tremendous social media following, which allowed us to take advantage of the booming vintage market. Coming to work was never a burden — we were having fun (and still do)! 

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Having a good time with the team

I was quick to identify our key strengths in the marketplace, and pushed our expertise of the past 18 years, further enhancing our competitive advantage. Our sales grew rapidly, and we were building relationships with the world’s most affluent collectors. Shortly after, we decided to make our dedicated European Watch Co iOS app, which showcased our inventory seamlessly from the palm of your hand. The app was one of the first on the iOS store of its type, and is still loved by many today. 

Over time we started venturing into larger ticket items, including many rare and unique pieces. This move was appreciated by our loyal clients who understood the significance of these pieces, and were quick to buy them up. On top of the special pieces, it was important for me to keep the inventory fresh and exciting in order to keep our visitors engaged, all while differentiating EWC from other retailers who often have stale (and boring) inventory. While Dad and I certainly had our fair share of disagreements, we were aligned on our fundamental company values: providing the best customer service possible, curating an inventory of high quality pieces from top manufacturers, maintaining our trusted name for collectors, always acting with integrity, and nourishing and loving our amazing team who are an extension of our family. We feel blessed to have such a dedicated and loyal team — the cornerstone of European Watch Company’s success.

In 2021 we moved to our new and larger location, still located on Newbury Street in Boston Back Bay where we were originally incorporated back in 1993. We welcome you to visit us in person on your next trip to town. 

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Our new showroom at 137 Newbury Street, 4th floor

30th Anniversary and Continued Expansion

Today, in 2023, we are celebrating our 30th anniversary in business. Take a look around on the watch market — there are very few retailers who have been in business this long (I can actually only count 1 other). To mark this important milestone in our history, we have entirely rejuvenated our online look and feel to more accurately reflect where we want to be positioned in the marketplace — as a luxury retailer offering competitive pricing, while prioritizing best-in-class service, and establishing a trusted platform for collectors all around the world to transact and explore exceptional timepieces.

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Our new logo, font and colors

As the watch market begins to cement itself as an investable asset class next to fine art and rare cars, European Watch Company is committed to staying at the forefront of the market, providing access to the newest and most important watches ever made. 

You will see on our new website that most of the pages are timestamped to reflect the accuracy of the inventory that we carry. Our website and selection is updated many times daily, with new additions and recently sold watches, unlike the majority of the watch retailers on the market today. We pride ourselves on having the best photography in the world which portrays the quality of the watches we offer, and gives our customers an accurate representation of the timepieces they will be acquiring. With our new website, you will be able to see more photographs, in higher resolution, of all of your favorite watches on any device. Whether you are browsing for fun, looking to make a trade or a new acquisition, or if you’re in the market to sell your entire collection, European Watch Company wants to be the resource you can count on.

Looking Forward

Our priority for the future is to continue doing what we do best — staying focused on buying, selling, and trading the best watches in the world with integrity and trust. As the secondary watch market continues to build momentum, European Watch Company will be here to be your friend, your mentor, and your trusted platform to transact with wherever you are in the world. In a landscape where so many retailers are concerned only with profit, European Watch Company remains true to the original values upon which it was established: prioritization of the best customer experience, born from a genuine love for the watches we sell.

We are very much thankful to all our loyal customers, friends, and our amazing and empowered team. Without your generosity and trust, this story would not have been this sweet. We cannot wait for what the next 30 years will bring!

Joshua Ganjei — CEO 

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