In order for a business like Janis Trading Company to grow, it’s vital to have strong relationships with great retail sales partners. These partners help bridge the gap between manufacturer and customer, physically, and virtually, by bringing both the product and the service around it closer to the end-user. Our relationship with these handpicked, boutique retailers is a special one because their excellence in delivery allows us to focus on what we should be as a manufacturer - developing a great product.
Today I want to feature our newest European retail partner, SeriousWatches in the Netherlands, and the store’s owner, Kaj Niemeijer. My friend Kaj is our exclusive retailer in the EU, and has helped introduce NTH to new fans overseas. If you are in the Netherlands, be sure to make an appointment to visit their showroom!
Kaj is “serious” about the watches he sells. The brands that he offers are selected based on quality and design. He consciously offers a limited amount of brands, as he believes that quality, price and most of all personalized service are very important. He wants to fully support what he sells and would rather do a handful of brands properly, than sell 80 brands and not be able to offer the very best service.
SeriousWatches ships anywhere in the world for free! And they pride themselves on personal service. Kaj says, “We know that if you are making a purchase online, you may have many questions about the look, feel, and other specifics you can only answer by holding the piece in your hand. That’s why we make YouTube videos and 360-degree pictures of all of our watches. We’re always happy to help!”
In addition to the warranties from the brands he sells, he offers a two-year warranty on all watches purchased from his online shop, using manufacturer service centers and their own certified in-house repair center.
When a customer orders with Serious, they’ll find that Kaj and his team take pride in the unboxing experience and package the watch properly. Hopefully, you’ll appreciate the personal touch!
We are so glad to have Kaj on our team-- We love the way he does business.
Here are 5 Questions we asked Kaj about his business. Things we thought you’d want to know. Happy reading!
1) What made you want open an online watch boutique?
Loving watches! Even at a young age, I was saving up for years to be able to buy a certain watch that I really wanted and appreciated the beauty that some brands are able to create. After finishing university and working in a completely different field I noticed that certain watches that I wanted to buy weren’t available for sale in my native Netherlands or even in Europe. I saw an opportunity to combine my passion for watches with business. I taught myself how to make a webshop during the evenings and in 2011 I opened up a web store (that looked dreadful by the way!). After a year I quit my day job to focus fully on SeriousWatches and fast forward to 2018 and we have a professional web store, showroom and a dedicated staff of 7. What I noticed is that an online store opens up so many more opportunities than a brick & mortar store. We now serve customers from over 40 different countries, from all walks to life, with a wide collection of watches.
2) How do you decide which brands you want to carry?
It’s a combination of a lot of factors. The first part is that the watches need to look good. Regardless of quality, regardless of price, no one will buy a watch if it looks like a train wreck.
Then it’s a combination of the people behind the brand (e.g. Chris is a very passionate person that works tirelessly to produce remarkable watches but also stands behind his products and offers good service), quality, price and customer appreciation. We also tend to focus on mechanical watches.
With a watch, people spend money on a luxury product to simply make themselves happy. As a dealer you always need to keep that in mind; no one actually needs a watch. That’s a lot of trust in us to not sell them bad products. So we want brands that we can be proud of. A lot of customers we actually consider more friends than customers after knowing them for years and you wouldn’t want to make a bad recommendation to a friend, right? The watch needs to put a smile on the face of the new owner!
3) What’s your “grail” watch? And why?
Ahhh, that is a tricky one! We have several limited edition watches produced exclusively for SeriousWatches, so those are very special to me. But aside from our own brands, it would most likely be a Patek Philippe 5712. It’s an unusual watch in terms of layout and the micro-rotor is lovely. It’s the right mix of exclusivity, horological-merit, and wearability to be considered a grail.
We have a policy at the office that we only wear our own brands during business hours, so it would definitely be wasted on me!
4) One interesting fact about your business?
Our next Limited Edition will be with NTH! :-)
5) What new buying trends are you seeing? EU vs States vs Asia?
In recent years the differences between countries, for us at least, have been getting smaller. Even though people disagree on a lot of things around the world, with watches we see so much shared passion and enthusiasm, regardless of background. I think it also has to do with people connecting on watch forums, Facebook communities and so on and getting inspired.
Generally speaking, however, I think that many brands are coming back from the ‘bigger is better’ theme and sub-40mm dress watches and 40mm divers are becoming more popular again. Coloured dials (e.g. blue and green) are still going strong. And of course, vintage-styled watches are still going strong!
Good news! Kaj still has some of our favorite watches available, despite being sold out in other regions! As of this writing, Serious watches still has a few NTH DevilRays and NTH Subs in stock, including the Barracuda Blue, Näcken Renegade, Näcken Modern Black, Näcken Vintage Blue, Tiburón, and Zwaardvis. You can see his inventory at: