69: Danny Govberg, Watchbox CEO: Tech Didn't Kill the Luxury Watch Business After All

 
 Watchbox CEO Danny Govberg had a watch face custom painted with his family on it. It took the artist 400 hours.

Watchbox CEO Danny Govberg had a watch face custom painted with his family on it. It took the artist 400 hours.

Everybody loves a David and Goliath story. The problem is, in business these days, the David is usually a family business, and the Goliath is some technology-juicing giant. Goliath is usually winning. 

So here's a story that returns to classic form: Danny Govberg is the CEO of Govberg Jewelers in Philadelphia – and he's also the CEO of Watchbox, an app and website that's shaking up the world of luxury watches. By Govberg's count, he's selling at a rate of $200 million worth of watches this year between the two businesses, much of it in brands like Rolex, Patek Phillipe and Omega – brands that run in the thousands and tens of thousands of dollars per watch. And he says he's growing more than 30% a year. 

All of this is happening while the popular narrative is stacked against him. Supposedly hardly anyone wears watches anymore, and for those that do, the Apple Watch and Samsung Watch are running roughshod over the market. Well? That's not the whole story. 

I met Danny Govberg at the Breitling Boutique on Madison Avenue in Manhattan – you'll hear the sounds of the store and some construction next door. We talked about how the business evolved from his immigrant grandfather's beginnings as a watchmaker, and why technology is growing his old family business while it's killing others.