RIVER EDGE, N.J. — A wristwatch has long been more than just that for River Edge dad Wai Chin.
Like most people, he also catches himself checking the time on his smartphone. But it's just not the same.
Chin, formerly of Englewood, recently launched a luxury concierge business focused primarily on helping people buy luxury watches called Date@Six — mostly newly-engaged women for their future spouses.
"I felt there was no resource available to help them navigate through the thousands of options available," said Chin, who works in corporate finance for a toy company.
"I also personally remember how hectic it was to plan a wedding with my spouse. So much to do, so little time and so expensive.
"So I wanted to create a company that would help improve one aspect of wedding planning, helping people buy meaningful wedding gifts, by making the process easy and fun for them."
Chin openly acknowledges his obsession with watches, which he says began around 2008.
Most people use their cell phones to check the time, but Chin says there's more to a watch than telling time.
"There is significant meaning in something mechanical, something you cherish the rest of your life," he said.
"Wearing a quality wristwatch has really become a lost art form"
"There was a time in our history where being a gentleman meant you went to work in a 3-piece suit, you wore a top hat, a watch, and a pair of high quality leather shoes.
"There was a certain refinement in the way people dressed and presented themselves, which has sadly gotten lost over the course of time. I want to bring back some of that refinement."
Chin hopes his business will help people navigate a "snobby an elitist" industry. The first time he went to buy a watch, he immediately noticed everyone staring at him, probably thinking he couldn't afford anything in the store, he said.
"As I looked through the case displays of expensive watches, a salesman came up to me and looked down at my wrist and smirked at my inexpensive watch," Chin said.
"Obviously, I did not feel good about myself and I kind of wanted to just leave right there from sheer embarrassment. But I didn't."
Instead, he asked to try on a particular watch, and the salesman demanded to his license, Chin said.
He left feeling embarrassed, and never wants customers to feel the way he did that day.
"So my company eliminates this part of the transaction because clients deal directly with me and never with the dealers," Chin said.
The Date@Six service starts with a consultation. Then, the search begins.
Date@Six chooses three to five options for the client, and presents them at a second meeting.
"You'll then select which watch or watches you want us to pursue, and we'll begin contacting our network of dealers to negotiate the best price," Chin said.
"Once a price is locked in with a dealer, you'll provide us with the funds to buy the watch."
Lastly, the gift will be shipped back to Date@Six, who will inspect it for quality control, before collecting a savings fee from the client and then delivering the product.
Chin said he hopes to expand the industry by generating genuine interest in the world of watches again.
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