BIG things were expected of Ramon Calliste. The former Man United starlet was labelled the next Ryan Giggs and trained with the first team with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney. Ramon Calliste is owner of Global Watches, a company that rakes in around £5m a...
BIG things were expected of Ramon Calliste.
The former Man United starlet was labelled the next Ryan Giggs and trained with the first team with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.
However, when it didn’t work out at the Red Devils the former Welsh wizard moved onto Liverpool and became their top scorer in reserve football.
Frustrated with his lack of first team opportunities, and taking on advice from then-Wales manager John Toshack, he moved to Scunthorpe in 2006.
But in a cruel, twist of fate, during his first preaseason game for The Iron Ramon dislocated his ankle, cracking a bone and severely damaging his ligaments.
After bouncing around at a few clubs, including Farnborough and Cambridge City, Ramon was conscious that the horror injury meant he’d never return to the same level again.
He turned his attentions to watches, and in 2013 launched Global Watches – a company that sells high-end timepieces, including Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Hublot.
Ramon’s business is now making approximately £5m-per-year, selling products to footballers, celebrities and other high-rollers.
“When I realised football wasn’t going to give me the life I desired, it was about setting up something else and moving fast,” Ramon, 32, told SunSport.
“I started to get involved in watches through contacts I had in the world of football.
“Once I saw it could become a viable business, I set up Global Watches in 2013 and it’s become a really strong company that’s now turning over millions.
“The idea is to keep it growing and hopefully sell the company in five or ten years time, just like Watchfinder did recently.”
LET’S GET PHYSIO Rob Hulse: Former Leeds, Derby and Sheffield United striker is now a physio working for the NHS in Dudley
Ramon admitted that he was a complete novice when it came to setting up a business.
But it helped having a contacts book of footballers, who valued his trust because of his past playing career.
“Running any business is very difficult,” Ramon said.
“When you’re dealing with high-value goods, there’s a lot of compliance and regulations to bear in mind.
“We do everything by the book here and it’s very important to be clear on what you’re doing.
“I was lucky it was very lucrative from the beginning. Some watches we sell can go from £250,000.
“Having my footballing history has also helped.
“I dealt with footballers in the beginning, selling them watches and I already had that trust there.
“Even today, clients come online and they see it’s me and they feel comfortable buying from me.
“There might be other companies that are stronger than mine, but because I played the game it does help the business.
“We have a bespoke service where we go out to the clients, and it’s not just footballers.
“We started with an office in Mayfair. Now, we’ve got a shop front in North London.
“When you can take your inventory to a room of footballers, perhaps ten millionaires, that’s better for all concerned.
“They prefer that service and it’s an easier chance to sell goods.
“I have a great relationship with the players and make sure they are looked after.”
On a regular day, Ramon revealed he sells watches from around £50,000-£70,000.
Occasionally, he gets a £150,000-£250,000 sale in a market where clients can make money from pieces that are collector’s items.
“They appreciate, watches have become commodities,” Ramon said.
“It’s nice for my clients to make money if they’ve bought a watch from me, if they want to sell the watch in the future.
“I see myself as a consultant. I know watches inside out and try to advise them on what to buy.
“So sometimes when my clients come to me with what they’ve want, I will tell them straight if it’s a good or bad idea.
“I don’t want any of my clients to lose lots of money, when they come to sell their timepiece.”
Going forward, Ramon hopes to open more stores to ensure Global Watches becomes a worldwide renowned name.
He’s also looking at getting into the property business and hopes to retire at the age of 50.
Looking back at his football career, Ramon spoke of how it all began without any regrets.
“I was watched by Man United scout Tony Hopkins for two years when I was at a high school in Cardiff.
“Originally, I signed for Coventry, but I didn’t feel happy there.
“I got picked for the Wales under-19s aged 13, and Coventry stopped me from playing.
“I found out that was because someone could’ve poached me if they’d saw me play and I impressed other scouts.
“I got out of that contract, went back to school and then I was off to Manchester United in 2000.
“When I got to Old Trafford I met Sir Alex Ferguson, which was an incredible experience.
“Seeing everything for the first time, I went into the famous room where everyone meets him.
“It was a special, I wasn’t fazed by much when I was young, but he still had the aura of a great man.”
Ramon didn’t play for the United first team, but he got his chance to train with some of their superstars.
“We didn’t always train with the first team, but sometimes we’d have five-a-side games.
“I aspired to train with them permanently, and it was amazing when I did get the opportunity.
“I trained with Rooney and Ronaldo, which was a big deal.”
He also saw Gareth Bale’s potential first-hand and knew straight away the Real Madrid winger was a star in the making.
“I remember seeing Gareth Bale when we had an under-21 Wales training session at Wrexham’s training ground.
“I didn’t really know who he was at the time, but knew he was at Southampton.
“But after training we were having a kickabout and I could see him practising free kicks.
“You could see from that moment that he was a special player. It was great to play alongside him and some other of the world’s great players.”
After Ramon was released from Old Trafford, he starred for Liverpool’s reserves.
He was their leading goalscorer in the 2005-2006 season, but left for Scunthorpe for first team opportunities.
“It wasn’t initially what I wanted to do, but Toshack told me I needed to play competitive football if I wanted to break into the Wales first team.
“I thought, let’s do this and took a contract. Preseason I got injured straight away and I never really recovered from it.”
Ramon’s horrendous dislocated ankle injury with ligament damage and broken bone to boot still plagues the entrepreneur.
“I have trouble with that ankle today,” he revealed.
“I see a specialist regularly and I’m probably going to have to have another operation.
“If I would’ve had the injury at Man United and Liverpool, I might have been alright.
“But because I had the treatment at Scunthorpe, I don’t think I got the right medical attention.”
In 2009, Ramon had decided he’d had enough. Spells at Cambridge City and West London Saracens in the Middlesex County Football League followed.
But by his mid-2os, his heart wasn’t in it.
“To come back, I would’ve had to look at going into semi-pro.
“That just wasn’t for me. From being the creme de la creme at the top and then being at the bottom of the chain, it wasn’t something that’s in my genetics.
“If I wanted to be involved with something, I want it to be the best.
“I thought, at that point, football was just a distraction and I needed to build a real life.
“In the end, football just wasn’t meant for me.
“With all the ability I had, it just wasn’t my destiny.
“I wouldn’t have met my wife, I wouldn’t have met my children because I wouldn’t have come to London at the time I did.
“That alone is the most important thing for me.
“You have to go through a hell of a lot of steps to get through life. I don’t regret anything that happened to me in football, I learned a lot.
“I still have great friends from that world, but it wasn’t to be.”
Visit the Global Watches website and see their collection for yourself.
Alternatively, you can follow them on Instagram and witness their stunning timepieces