Shortly after graduating from college in 2002, Huntington native Marc Frankel found himself having lunch with his classmates when he noticed an interesting watch on one of their wrists. Asked where his friend bought it, they simply replied “eBay”.
“All of a sudden I just thought to myself, ‘wow, I can sell these watches, I think I can do this’,” Frankel said. “One thing led to another, I contacted the seller and asked to buy ten watches from him. I went from selling a few pieces on eBay to launching my own website” and business, Island Watch.
Nineteen years later, Frankel has established himself in the watch community. The inspiration for Frankel’s online store came from watching his father work at his hardware store in Manhattan. After seeing the substantial amount of time spent on traveling, physically being at the store, and keeping up with rent, he realized staying online took many burdens off of his shoulders.
In order to keep in touch with his customer base, Frankel created a YouTube channel in 2012, obtaining 175,000 subscribers over time. About twice a week, Frankel will release a new video where he discusses new watch releases and has even filmed a series with over 80 videos called “Watch and Learn” teaching beginners all about watches.
“I answer a lot of questions, filmed tutorials on how to change a battery, size a bracelet, take off a case back, or even just explain the different materials used in watchmaking,” Frankel said. “I really try to keep everything engaged socially.”
He is also very well known on Reddit, and WatchUSeek and has Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages in an effort to create a sense of connectivity between him and his customers.
“I kind of keep in touch that way and try to give excellent customer service,” Frankel said. “I watched my father in his store and it was always good customer service that kept customers coming back so I continue that now even though I’m not physically seeing the person, I try my best to have their back.”
Island Watch features an extensive collection of watches on its site, selling big brand names such as Seiko and HEMEL, to his very own collection named “Islander Watches” which was created in 2019.
“I’ve grown slow and organically, but the biggest success I’ve had is launching my own brand,” Frankel said. “It felt like a great accomplishment.”
After hearing about Seiko discontinuing their most beloved diver watch, Frankel decided to create an homage to it by creating a similar design but with improved upgrades such as better crystal, movement, and bracelet.
“That kind of took off on its own, and by the end of 2020 Islander was the number one selling watch on my site. Now I’m up to 138 different models that I’ve made so far.”
Frankel continues to make new watches every week, with a few dozen coming out in the upcoming months. He tries to have at least one new release in the Islander line every month.
“The watch community is a microcosm, but it’s a very big microcosm,” Frankel said. “People who buy watches from me, enjoy more than just being able to tell the time. Watches are fashion accessories for men, they can wear a ring or maybe a bracelet, but that’s about it. For a man, it’s the watch and the shoes that people will say they usually notice.”
For more information on Island Watch, visit www.longislandwatch.com.