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Kieran Richardson is a former professional footballer who played for England and top clubs including Manchester United, Aston Villa, Cardiff City, Sunderland and Fulham. An avid luxury watch collector since his teens, Kieran set up Broadwalk Group, a marketplace and broker of pre-owned, high-end watches after he retired from football in 2017. Here Kieran talks to Enness Global about football, his business, investment watches and his personal watch collection.
My passion for watches started when I was young as it was passed onto me by my dad, who was also a collector. On my 16th birthday, he gave me a Cartier Tank, which sparked my interest in watches. Receiving that watch made a real impression on me and shows the power watches can have – they’re so special and memorable. Since then, I’ve bought watches to mark all the big occasions in my life, like when I got married or when my kids were born.
It was a pretty natural process. I’m genuinely passionate about watches, and I’ve been collecting them since my football days. I bought my first watch when I was 18, and I've been buying them ever since.
A lot of the people in my circle also love watches, and when we’d talk about them, I’d hear how frustrated they were that they couldn’t source the models they wanted. I always loved hunting down watches or buying rare models, and I started seeing that there was probably a market for me to turn my passion into a business. When my professional football career ended, it was a natural next step to focus on watches.
There’s a lot of demand for what we do as a business, and Broadwalk Group has already been really successful, which reflects that need in the market. I’ve already brought five other people into the business and I’m really proud of what we’re doing and how we’ve grown. At the end of the day, though, I love watches, so nothing I ever do for Broadwalk Group seems like work.
Broadwalk Group is a highly curated marketplace for collectable and pre-owned luxury watches. You can find out more about these pieces on our website. We source and sell all kinds of top-end pieces no matter the brand, but our expertise is Audemars Piguet, Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Richard Mille watches.
There are more similarities than you’d think because football is very regimented. You’ve got to be really disciplined and ready to give it all. Footballers have to be in specific places at a certain time, you have a very strict schedule, you have to put the work in, and you have to deliver. I’ve carried on that mentality and dedication into my entrepreneurship journey, and it’s helped me a lot.
I have lots of friends who were or are sports personalities, and there are lots of watch collectors in the football industry. I think the fact that I’ve got quite a public profile as a businessman also helps – we deal in really rare, high-end watches, and the people we work with find comfort knowing I have a high profile in the industry and can’t just disappear with a watch. My passion for watches is well-known, and people trust me because of it, which is a massive plus.
Investors like watches because they are a tangible asset. Watches travel easily, they’re fast and easy to sell, they increase in value, and you can enjoy wearing them. We’re actually seeing quite a few investors move away from collecting cars to investing in watches instead for some of these reasons.
Of course, sometimes the watch market corrects, but when this happens valuations usually drop a little bit but there’s not a huge crash. I'm yet to see a significant crash in the brands we deal withThen valuations slowly start to increase again. The fact that historically watches haven’t had huge corrections is an attractive proposition for investors.
In terms of investment, Richard Mille and Patek Phillipe pieces are going through the roof in value, which is very attractive to investors. People always want what they can’t have, and these brands are playing the supply and demand game really well. Patek Phillipe made only 170 of the Tiffany Nautilus 5711 final collection, for example. When Patek Phillipe announced they would discontinue the range, demand for the final collection and pre-owned models soared. It’s such a beautiful watch with the recognisable Tiffany blue, and lots of collectors and investors really want it in their collection, which has driven the price and desirability up.
More generally, at the moment, we're seeing massive demand for pre-owned, rare watches with coloured dials like the Patek Phillipe Nautilus collection, and these can make good investments if you like more unusual pieces. If your style is more classic, you can’t go wrong with something like a steel Rolex Daytona. They appreciate over time – maybe more slowly than other brands, but they’re usually a solid bet. They’re not too in your face or flashy, which can appeal more to some collectors than other models.
When it comes to collecting and investments, I tell my clients: you've got to buy what you like and what’s within your budget, even if you know you want to sell the watch for a profit in the future. I have some watches that are a bit eclectic, but I buy them because I love them – I’m not thinking about their resale value the whole time, and I’m comfortable with that. I know other collectors who do the same, and it’s important to choose watches you like, and you’re happy to own. It’s your money, your watch, and your wrist. Don’t invest in something you don’t like.
I have a wide collection of different watches, and the styles and brands are really varied. Some of the watches I bought were for investment or for fun, and others marked a big occasion in my life. For me, collecting isn’t about having expensive pieces. It’s really about putting together a collection of watches that I love and that have meaning to me, whatever that meaning is. Take my rose gold Rolex Daytona for example: compared to some of the other watches in my collection, it isn’t the most unusual or expensive piece, but I love wearing it. Owning watches I love is what my collection is about for me.
The revaluation of central London property has been amazing. I own a little bit of property and my London real estate has performed much better than properties I’ve held elsewhere. I see London as one of the best places to own property for that reason.
I’d love to own a holiday home somewhere – maybe the Caribbean. I also travel to America a lot, especially Miami, which is such a great city. I don’t know the US property market as well as I know the UK's, but it would be great to own a property in America one day.
We’re working on our youtube channel ‘BROADTALKS’ right now, which is a lot of fun. It’s about football and watches, and we can’t wait to bring it out – we’ve got some great guests on, and I hope it’ll be well received. Apart from that, I want the business to continue to do well, and above all, I want to carry on having fun with it.
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