Govberg Jewelers has been a Philadelphia standard for nearly a century. Its diverse business includes repairs, pre-owned watches and buying timepieces. Third generation Danny Govberg has expanded the watch business and led innovative marketing approaches such as co-locating in a high-end men’s clothier and next to Apple. Known for his philanthropic endeavors over a wide range of local charities, he recently sat down with Elite Traveler Editor-in-Chief Douglas Gollan during a visit to New York to talk about why mechanical watches continue to be a high growth sector.
Elite Traveler: What brands specifically do you service?
Danny Govberg: We started over 90 years ago as jewelers by my grandfather, and about 20 years ago we switched into the watch business. Since then we have grown our watch business, and now we have one of the best selections of watches in the country. We deal with over 50 brands from Patek Philippe to Rolex to Cartier and most of the other leading brands in the watch world today. We have also ventured into buying pre-owned watches and have made a real market there because a big population wants to buy pre-owned watches. We also buy watches from people who want to liquidate, because they just don’t wear them anymore. In addition we service over 1,000 watches a month in our watch repair facility.
ET: What brands specifically do you service?
DG: We deal with over 100 brands and we have 16 watchmakers to do repairs. We have two locations in Philadelphia. We are a little gem of a store in Philadelphia, but we really have become a watch Mecca.
ET: When we talk about watches there are a lot of watch retailers out there. What do you think makes your business different or special?
DG: I think it is our product knowledge and service. If someone wants to trade in a watch we can do that very quickly. If someone wants to sell us a watch we can assign value. We also carry 50 brands, so we offer a large selection of luxury watches. Our forte is that we are a one-stop shop for anything concerning a luxury timepiece.
ET: Are most of your customers from Philadelphia?
DG: We have many customers from Philly, but we have collectors from all over the world. Over the last 20 plus years we’ve worked with hundreds of collectors.
ET: You are the third generation in the jewelry and watch retail business. Did you always know you were going into the family business?
Yes I did. I started working when I was thirteen at that point I knew I was going into the jewelry business.
ET: For those Elite Traveler readers who haven’t caught the watch bug yet why should they be become interested in high-end luxury watches?
DG: It’s about telling the story about who you are. Some people appreciate watches for the ego of the name and some appreciate watches for what’s under the hood. Others buy watches because of the way it makes them feel, and how it reflects their style. So there’s many ways to enjoy a watch.
ET: What goes into these watches? What makes them so special?
DG: I think what makes it special is the accuracy of these timepieces. You would need magnifying lenses just to look at a single screw, it’s that small. These watches are made using over 100 years of technology, and they are continuing to make the watches smaller, more accurate, and with more functions. It’s a constant competition to see which company can create a better watch.