Tyming is Everything
Standing inside his new retail store, entrepreneur John Brozek waits for the delivery of a 5,500 lb, safe. He’s going brick and mortar. After years of success doing business on his website, QualityTyme.net, it’s time to have a place where he can display his vast inventory of rare and fine timepieces.
“I never expected it to take off like this”, says Mr. Brozek, a native Oklahoman.
The year was 1999, and the aspiring screenwriter was attending the University of Central Oklahoma. In a personal finance class, the professor gave out an assignment: write a report on a newly-launched website called eBay. When Brozek logged on to the auction site, he searched for Rolex watches, wanting to see what was being offered. After all, he had been collecting, buying and selling Rolex and other fine timepieces for years.
But his search revealed something he wasn’t expecting: counterfeit after counterfeit. Knowing from first-hand experience what made a Rolex genuine, he immediately sent messages to bidders, warning them of the scam. Soon enough, he got scores of replies thanking him for pointing out the fakes.
“People were so grateful that I had saved them thousands of dollars. They had no idea the watches were fakes”, Mr. Brozek recalls.
More replies came in, expressing the same appreciation. Then, a light went off.
At first, he wrote a 20 page manual detailing how to spot a fake, then he expanded it to 40 pages. He sold it on eBay under the title, The Rolex Report: Rolex or Replica?–Don’t Get E-Screwed. It was a the beginning of a unique career combining his love of writing and his passion for fine timepieces. Within a year, the book had grown to over 60 pages. Three years later, The Rolex Report became a 288 page hard-bound book, selling hundreds of copies on Amazon.com, eBay and his website in just a few short months.
And that was just the beginning.
Over the subsequent years, he has returned to the printer over 10 times and has sold over 50,000 copies to date. The success of the book brought calls from the National Pawnbroker’s Association, the National Association of Watch & Clock Collectors, and several jewelry appraisal organizations, all interested in hearing a lecture from the author. It was also the catalyst for something entirely different–a business where he could put his hands-on experience to use, servicing and repairing Rolex watches.
“We have serviced and restored thousands of Rolex watches over the past few years.”, Brozek says of his watch service and repair business, Quality Tyme. “I have clients from across the United States, as well as many international clients.” Helping his breadth of clients is Quality Tyme’s first-page Google ranking for search queries like “Rolex Repair” (his search ranking, he proudly points out, is solely “organic,” and he’s never once paid for any web ranking advertisements).
Soon, Mr. Brozek was giving more and more lectures. He attended dozens of watch shows in Las Vegas, New York, Orlando and Miami. He started going overseas, attending the BaselWorld Watch & Jewelry Show in Basel, as well as the exclusive SIHH (Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie) in Geneva, Switzerland. Each show, the entrepreneur buys and sells fine timepieces, ranging from Rolex to Breitling to Patek Philippe.
His book sales and speaking engagements have turned Mr. Brozek into an internationally-recognized authority on watches, but they’ve also paved the way for his new appointment-only retail establishment. There, the finest of his wares will be available to other enthusiasts and collectors. Mr. Brozek says his new store–located in the lobby of the prestigious Northern Trust Bank Building at 100 Second Avenue South, St. Petersburg, Florida–will be open to the public at-large by October.
Owen Richason is a retail business consultant, freelance writer and managing editor of the Finance Intelligencer. He is a former business writer for “Tampa Bay Business and Financier,” and his work has appeared in the Houston Chronicle and on Business.com.