Collecting Watches As An Investment
People make personal connections with watches that few other products can match. We use watches every single day. They are functional, can make a fashion statement, and often have an emotional value that draws in their owners. Those elements combined are what make wearing a watch such a pleasure.
The amount of money you invest will also contribute to your feelings about your timepiece, but what if we take away the emotional aspect for a minute and focus purely on the money? People are constantly looking for different ways to invest their hard-earned cash. Are watches a good investment? What about in times of economic uncertainty?
Why You Should Start A Watch Collection
Watches Last A Lifetime
Although the high price point of some watches may deter collectors, it often means that a look is of very high quality. A high-quality watch will last a lifetime and far beyond with proper care and maintenance. A quality watch will have an expertly made movement that can last for decades. This means that, in theory, someone would only ever need to buy one good quality watch. This one watch could then be worn every day, for any occasion.
However, watch care is vital to ensure the longevity of a timepiece. The wearer should send their watch to an authorized repair facility for regular maintenance. That will ensure that the watch's water resistance is maintained and that the movement is correctly cared for. Investing in a look with a higher price point will be outstanding value in the long run as it is much more likely to last for decades than a cheaper model.
An Elegant Addition To Any Outfit
Many watch collectors would argue that no outfit is complete without a watch. A watch adds a smart and stylish edge to any outfit. Many watch wearers enjoy adding a watch to a suit for smart occasions such as job interviews and weddings. A watch is a subtle way of expressing personal style and showing that you care about having a bright appearance. Other watch enthusiasts will likely notice a high-quality watch on someone else's wrist and acknowledge and appreciate the effort.
When choosing a watch, selecting one with a classic and timeless design is advisable. This will ensure that the watch will not go out of style or become dated as the years go by. Additionally, it might be best to choose a watch with a simple color palette to ensure that it will pair well with any outfit for any occasion. You can never go wrong when adding a watch to an outfit, making this a great reason to invest in a watch.
A Potential Investment
Investing in Watches
A Growing Investment
Similar to the vintage car and furniture markets, the watch industry has seen an increase in the number of investors trying to make money buying and selling watches, mostly at high-profile auctions. The most notable example is the 2017 Rolex Daytona Paul Newman auction that Paul Newman himself previously owned. This watch sold for an astronomical 17.75 million USD. The auction featured a selection of 50 watches that pretty much all sold at incredible prices.
Does this mean every watch sold at auction will appreciate going forward? Not necessarily. Few watches will soon double or triple in value, and many speculative prices are based on the hype surrounding certain models. There is no rational explanation for the prices paid at these auctions, but as the saying goes, "a fool and his money are soon parted."
Most watches sold for enormous sums come with a story such as "this watch was owned by a celebrity, the first watch in space, or the only one of its kind." They're all generic stories without any personal link to the investor. However, these exact stories increase the value of already expensive watches that are only accessible to a select few. To even have a chance of buying one of these exclusive timepieces at auction, you need to have deep pockets and good connections. Hopefully, you can connect emotionally to your timepiece beyond its monetary value. These emotional connections are what make the watch industry so unique. Who gets emotional about exchange-traded funds? Watches are not only tangible but also carry sentimental value, which is why they are less susceptible to economic ups and downs. Time moves more slowly in the watch world; sometimes that is an advantage. The financial markets do not affect nostalgia. This is especially true for coveted vintage models, which are limited in number. Collectors who have gotten their hands on such precious timepieces are far less likely to sell them out of panic.
A Sure Investment
Perhaps you're looking to invest in a nice watch that you will wear. In that case, you're probably interested in buying in a more accessible price range and finding a timepiece that will at least retain its value. Only a few watch brands—specifically, watch models—will see an increase in value based solely on their scarcity and because they are proven classics.
These watches are not considered classics without reason. They are all testaments to excellent watchmaking, have become icons for their brands, represent a significant shift in the watch industry, and make up the best stories that link people and watches.
Rolex sports watches are the most famous example. If you're trying to get your hands on a new Rolex Submariner, Daytona, Sea-Dweller, or GMT-Master II, you will have to wait in line with everyone else. If you are looking for vintage Rolex sports watches, however, you will find they have held their value or increased over time, almost without exception. They are a pretty safe long-term investment.
Another watch that has seen a steep increase in value is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, especially the Royal Oak Jumbo and its successors. Royal Oaks is in high demand because they represent a revolution in watch design and technology and are everything a luxury sports watch should be. When it was introduced in 1972, the Royal Oak didn't make a huge splash; however, opinions have slowly but surely shifted for the last five decades, and now this watch is one of the biggest icons in the luxury watch industry.
A vintage Omega Speedmaster Professional is yet another good investment. Also known as the "Moonwatch," it comes with the most inspiring and impressive story a watch could ever have. Not only is its story proof of its technical excellence, but it's also one of the most famous watchmaking histories. Prices for vintage Speedmaster Professionals have risen gradually, meaning they are still very safe investments.
Two other technically excellent classic watches worth investing in are the Patek Phillippe Calatrava and the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. However, it's worth noting that some investigation will be required to understand which specific models are unique and likely to be highly sought-after in the future. That being said, the research is what creates a special relationship with watches and makes people appreciate them even more. It's where a large part of the pleasure of owning a watch lies and is ultimately even better than knowing you've made a sound purchase.
The next group comprises potential classics that may increase in value over time. It's incredibly fun to speculate about which watches will turn into iconic classics and generate demand that results in rising prices. This requires much more study and imagination than the other groups we have discussed. You will have to familiarize yourself with each brand, their models, and what makes their designs and technology unique.
Popular watches from well-known brands are often relatively safe and stable investments. At worst, you will take a small loss. At best, you will earn a sizable chunk of money. Some potential examples include the IWC Portugieser Chronograph, the Omega Seamaster, the Panerai Luminor, and the TAG Heuer Carrera.
This group of watches will take you on an adventure that the other groups can't offer. On this journey, you will create your outlook on which watches will appreciate going forward. Go out and find a gem no one recognizes as the perfect watch, and then enjoy if you hit paydirt.
While that may sound grand and exciting, it also requires patience. Watch prices don't usually dramatically increase over months or even years. If you believe in a special watch, you'll need to hang on to it for a long time before you can get a return on your initial investment. But if you make a good prediction, it will undoubtedly bring a smile.