Watches are hot. Waitlists are a key-word if you try to order a new watch from an authorized dealer, and premiums are inevitable for many brands and models. While some watches sell for more than double their retail price, others lose half of their value when you take them out of the box.
How can we know which models will appreciate and which will depreciate?
There is no way of telling. An impressive example is the story of the Paul Newman Daytona. When the Paul Newman Daytona was released in 1969, the watch was considered ‘ugly’, and was almost impossible to sell. Some pieces were offered basically for free if you bought a Day-Date or any other precious metal Rolex.
Today, that same Day-Date of that time can be bought for around roughly €10.000, while the ‘worthless’ Paul Newman Daytona gets auctioned for at least €300.000. This is of course an extreme example, but you get the point.
What To Look For
In today’s market, stainless steel is the way to go. Almost every steel sport Rolex is impossible to get without being put on a waitlist for years. Pieces like the 116500 Daytona and GMT Pepsi sell for three times their retail price on the grey market. Some AD’s even closed the lists for some models. That’s right, you ask a dealer to be put on a list and they say ‘no’.
In today’s market, the best watches to ‘invest’ in are steel sport models from Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe. The Vacheron Constantin Overseas is getting lots of traction as well lately, so keep your eyes open for that model.
This is of course just wild speculation. The market could turn any minute and the bubble could burst before you know.
The same thing happened to two tone watches in the nineties. Thirty years ago, bicolor watches were where the hype was. If you didn’t wear a tacky two tone bracelet, were you even relevant? Today, the field has totally shifted, and some two tone neo-vintage watches are sometimes sold for lower prices than their stainless steel brothers and sisters. For example: The Rolex Daytona 116523 two tone currently sells for half the price of their stainless steel counterpart of the same year. This is ironic, since the list price of the two tone was considerably higher than the stainless steel Daytona.
Moral of the story: you never know what will happen. It’s best to leave the speculations on the side and just have fun. Buy and wear what you love.