Watch enthusiasts the world over can fall in love with a particular watch for a myriad of reasons. It might be a technical innovation, appealing design, personal connection, or amazing story that draws them in. However, a timepiece’s appeal doesn’t necessarily stop there. They are luxury goods after all, and as such, certain watches also have investment potential. Making money by trading watches can be a lot of fun, but you could also lose a lot of money if you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into. Let’s take a closer look at what makes watches good investments and what you need to know before buying an investment timepiece.
Knowledge is power when it comes to investing in watches. Individuals who know about brands, models, and their histories have a good idea of which watches may be good investments in the short and long term. It’s not easy to speculate about which models will appreciate in value, but that’s where good background knowledge plays an important role. Let’s dive in a bit deeper and see what’s out there in terms of new and vintage watches.
Investing in New Watches
Investing in new watches is the comparatively easy way to make money. It’s worth keeping in mind, however, that there aren’t many watches that will increase in value the moment you leave the watch boutique. Your best option at present would be to get your hands on a stainless steel Rolex sports watch like the Rolex Daytona or Rolex Submariner, a stainless steel Patek Philippe Nautilus, or a stainless steel Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ‘Jumbo’. If you do, your investment is pretty much guaranteed to make some money simply because current demand is outpacing supply. Though this is also the problem with these models; basically, everyone wants one and only a few people can get their hands on one.
Other new watches that you may be able to make money on are limited edition watches. The only way of knowing whether a given limited edition will make money is to know something about the industry and demand for certain models. The obvious problem with limited edition watches, however, is that if the numbers are limited and demand is high, it can be impossible to get your hands on one. If you’re one of the lucky few who manages to buy one, you have the option of selling right away or holding on to it to see what happens. You may be able to make a lot more if you wait, but there are no guarantees and you have to overcome the temptation of selling it immediately for a quick profit.
Investing in Vintage Watches
The other option is investing in pre-owned and vintage watches. While this can be a lot more fun, it’s also a lot more difficult. The same brands are in high demand in the vintage market. Some pre-owned or vintage Rolexes, Audemars Piguet Royal Oaks, and Patek Philippe Nautilus models exceed the prices of newer models, so you’ll still need a lot of cash on hand to buy one. All you can do after that is hope for the best in terms of demand and value appreciation.
Some other vintage watches that have seen an increase in value recently are the industry icons. One example is the Omega Speedmaster Professional. Over the course of more than 50 years, many different Speedmaster Professional models have been released, each adding to the Speedmaster legacy. Increasing interest in all the various models has led to significant price increases across the board. A hurdle to making money here is that you need to know a lot about Speedmasters, including the appearance of different models and the stories behind them. Appearances can be quite the tricky part. Seeing as many Speedmasters are vintage watches, they don’t always come with the original parts, which may drastically decrease the watch’s value. You need to become an expert on the model specifications to know if you’re making a wise move.
In addition to the more obvious models that are in high demand, there are tons of other timepieces that are worth a lot due to their being limited releases, having celebrity associations, or simply because they are one-of-a-kind watches. Whatever the case may be, you would still need to know your stuff and have a good amount of money available to spend. The competition for rare timepieces like these can be intense because there are a lot of people looking to invest in this kind of watch. The most common way of getting your hands on one of these watches is to buy it at auction, which could be a good option for you if you have very deep pockets.
The last – and probably most fun – way to invest in watches is to try and speculate about which watches will become classics in the future. To be successful with this type of investing, you need to know quite a bit about watches in general, but also have a good sense of historical trends. While this type of investing can involve quite a bit of work, it is usually the most fun and less financially demanding than other means. Obviously, your chances of losing money are a lot higher, but the amount of money involved is probably a lot smaller. Besides, who knows what will happen. You might just end up owning the new icon that shoots up in price or at the very least, you’ll have an interesting personal collection that tells your own unique watch story.