It has been argued that much like brand new cars, watches lose their value rather quickly after leaving the showroom. While this is sadly true in many cases, there are some luxury watches that hold value well – and there are a select few that will ultimately increase in value. Making predictions about what the market will do in the future is impossible, but looking at past trends can help you determine which watches hold their value best.
Here are 6 of the best watch brands that hold their value:
One of the leading watchmakers since 1905, Rolex is hands-down the maker of some of the best investment watches on the market. Of all the models available, the Deepsea and Submariner are excellent choices due to their resale value. Selling a used Rolex can bring the seller high returns.
Jaeger-Le Coultre is another popular watch brand with a beautiful design, and it’s considered to be a smart deal for anyone who is interested in investing in watches. The Maison has supplied movements to famous brands including Vacheron Constatntin and Audemars Piguet, making Jaeger-Le Coultre one of the world’s most iconic luxury watch brands.
Patek Philippe watches also have a tendency to Show high return on investment, with solid success when new or pre-owned. Many of Patek Philippe’s watches are unusual, with amazing features and interesting accents that result from the company’s policy of having its employees participate in the design process. If you can get your hands on an unusual Patek Philippe in great condition, then it is very likely to hold its value or even appreciate as time passes.
While less costly than some other luxury watches, some Omega models have a tendency to hold value well. The Seamaster Professional is a great one to consider, especially if you can get an older version without a ceramic bezel.
With over 150 years of experience making some of the world’s best luxury watches. The Swiss watch brand is definitely one that’s worth considering. Invest in flagship models like the Carrera and Monaco to increase your chances of profit.
Transocean, Navitimer, and Chronomat watches are in demand, and if you can get an older model in pristine condition, it has a good chance of holding its value well.
So what watches best hold their value?
Certain relatively attainable ($4,000-$9000) watches are known to hold their value extremely well—even appreciating in some cases. Interestingly, they’re almost all made by Rolex. “I hate to say it, but in this price range, vintage Rolex—and now vintage Tudor, ‘the working man’s Rolex’—are the best game in town if you’re looking for an investment-grade piece that doesn’t have to sit in the safe,” says Adam Craniotes, a watch writer, collector, and founder of Red Bar, a group of watch aficionados.
Everybody seems to agree on this. “Along with Patek Philippe [a brand typically outside of this price range], it’s the only brand that is able to maintain the high resale value with the majority of its products,” says Adams. “Rolex has spent decades creating the marketing image that a Rolex watch is a sign of success—it also happens to be a good watch.”
Rolex’s dominance on the second-hand market is the reason why Altieri structures his whole business around a single brand. According to Altieri, “They’ve held their value the best. 90% of what Bob’s Watches does is Rolex. They dominate the new market and the old market.”
Not all Rolexes mature equally, however.
“In general the watches that have done the best over time have been the sport watches: The GMT, the Submariner, and the Daytona,” says Altieri, who chalks this up to the more casual nature of a watch designed for a job or use, not a formal occasion.
One of the reasons for Rolex’s success in value retention, according to Adams, is that it has kept the product line small, enabling many of these watches to become household names. Omega, in comparison, does okay on the second-hand market, but has hurt itself by peppering the field with so many different models over the years.
The real reason you should buy a luxury watch
While the world of watches is unapologetically aware of value, money, and prestige, almost everyone in the industry—and everyone interview by Money—agreed on one thing: Buying one should be about your enjoyment of the watch itself, not the possibility of getting a return on your investment. Above all, it’s piece of jewelry you wear, something emotional and personal, not something soulless like an index fund or cache of bullion.
“I always tell people to buy something they like, not something for an investment,” says Altieri. “It’s not a bar of gold, you get to enjoy and wear it.”
“People should buy watches they want to wear,” agrees Adams. “Don’t ever get a watch that’s just going to sit somewhere.”
TIPS FOR INVESTING IN WATCHES
- First and foremost, remember that investing in watches comes with risks as well as rewards.
- While watches that hold value aren’t part of a traditional portfolio, and while gains may be much smaller, in today’s market it can be a lot of fun to look for the best resale value for watches on the market and decide which appeals to you most.
- Be sure to look for watches that appeal to your personal sense of style. That way, you’ll own something useful, beautiful, and well-made – even if the market takes a dive.
- While buying watches isn’t nearly as risky as betting on horses, it doesn’t typically bring jaw-dropping rewards. But if you strategize, choose carefully, exercise patience, and keep an eye on upcoming trends, you may be able to find yourself in the enviable position of owning watches that appreciate with time.