Loupe This

A custom-built, real-time auction engine and online community for luxury watch enthusiasts and collectors.

Tech Stack:

  • Ruby on Rails
  • Next.js
  • Redux
  • Sanity
  • Cypress


Sanctuary Computer worked with Loupe This to build a realtime auction platform for luxury watches. The result is elegant, bespoke software, accountable for orchestrating large-sum financial transactions.

Project Overview:

  1. 1.

    We consulted with the design partner, Century Studio, running technical feasibility studies against their initial concepts.

  2. 2.

    We built a real-time auction engine, a highly polished frontend web experience, and a host of community features to support social interaction between users on the platform.

  3. 3.

    Loupe This launched in 2021, and we have continued to build new features and support their evolution as their audience grows.

Phase one, engineering consulting to inform the design process.

Account management, bid placement, and multi-stage payment flows can feel unsexy. Loupe This wanted to create an elevated experience to reflect the luxury of the products they sell, consistent throughout all customer touchpoints. We worked closely with the design team to come up with refined solutions to all the most technical parts of the Loupe This web experience. The result is an experience more akin to Cartier than eBay.

Phase two, building a custom real-time auction API.

As we began this project, we scoured the landscape for existing software that we could trust to reliably build upon. When we were unable to find anything, we were excited for the opportunity to build something new.

Defining the rules of the game

Defining the rules of the game

We worked with Loupe This to define the specifics of their auction logic. The bidding process is similar to the standard online auction format, however it deviates in a few key ways that keep the Loupe This auction program both exciting and secure. The specifics are detailed in the Loupe This How It Works page.

We built the core auction API using Ruby on Rails, backed by a Postgres database and a Redis cache layer. We coupled this with WebSocket and standard HTTP endpoints.

A best-in-class web experience.

After building the foundational API, we embarked on building a premium user interface. We leveraged NextJS to build a combination of statically-generated content pages and interactive real-time auction pages. Content editors used Sanity CMS to compose modules for long-form content pages, as well as to populate auction pages with rich media and narrative.

A trusted network and social hub for collectors

Part of what makes the watch community so special is a deep appreciation and enthusiasm for the craft of fine watchmaking. On each auction, Loupe This users dive into the details of watch specifics, discussing and even scrutinizing the unique characteristics of each sale item.

We built a comment system and suite of moderation tools to support the Loupe This community and this lively online discourse.

Phase Three, the gears are turning

Loupe This launched in 2021 and immediately garnered attention in the luxury goods space. After their initial launch success, we continued to iterate and build new, customer-facing features and behind-the-scenes workflow improvements to support the Loupe This team.

Evolving operations

The Loupe This admin back-end is custom-built to support all the Loupe team’s workflows. From content uploading and photography, to comment moderation and order fulfillment, the admin back-end is set up to do it all with ease. As the team has grown, we too have evolved their operational infrastructure. Our improvements have had significant impact on the team's efficiency and their ability to deliver for the Loupe This community.

1 o’clock, 2 o’clock, sold!

Today, Loupe This facilitates entire live auction experiences, placing credit card holds on higher-value items, sending out email and SMS reminders for when auctions are about to close, allowing users to follow auctions for reminders and updates, and facilitating post-auction order fulfillment.

We also built a custom weekly email recap builder, making it easy to compose and send weekly emails to customers right in the Sanity CMS.

To date, Loupe This has completed over a thousand auctions, including a record-breaking auction sale of $1.6m. Where will they go from here? Only time will tell!