08/19/2022
 4 minutes

3 Watches Under $10,000 With High Value Retention (That Aren’t Rolexes)

By Donato Andrioli
OFP-137-Wertstabile_Uhren-2-1
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Watches with high value retention are attractive to many collectors. At the end of the day, we all work hard for our money, and it’s nice if our larger purchases can hold their value, or better yet, appreciate. While market prices for luxury watches have dropped slightly in recent months, timepieces from Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet still remain out of reach for a lot of watch enthusiasts. You won’t find a popular model from Rolex’s current collection for less than $10,000, and you’ll have to pay several times that for anything from Patek or AP. With this in mind, I’ve selected three popular watches for under $10,000 with high value retention – and none of them are from the three manufacturers mentioned above. 

It doesn't always have to be a Rolex, Patek Philippe, or Audemars Piguet – why not an Omega?
It doesn’t always have to be a Rolex, Patek Philippe, or Audemars Piguet – why not an Omega?

The Pioneer: Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch “First Omega in Space” 

The first watch on this list is a true legend. It is a fairly accurate remake of the Omega Speedmaster ref. CK2998, aka the first wristwatch in space. In 1962, during the Sigma 7 mission, NASA astronaut Walter Schirra wore this timepiece (which he’d purchased privately) as he orbited the earth in the Mercury space capsule. The now discontinued remake comes very close to the original. First introduced in 2015, the “First Omega in Space” has a balanced, 39.7-mm case mounted on a brown leather strap. The typical baton and alpha hands are both nods to the original watch. On the case back, you’ll find an engraving of the 1962 Speedmaster seahorse.

Inside the case is the famous caliber 1861, the hand-wound movement that was worn on the Moon. The only indication that you’re looking at a modern timepiece is the domed sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating. And the best thing? There isn’t an overabundance of the “First Omega in Space” on the market; it was a numbered release and thus has the potential to appreciate in value. You can currently get your hands on a full set for just over $6,500. The original list price was $5,300. 

The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch "First Omega in Space" comes very close to the original watch worn by Walter Schirra.
The Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch “First Omega in Space” comes very close to the original watch worn by Walter Schirra.

The Best Rolex Pepsi Alternative: Tudor Black Bay GMT 

It’s already been over four years since the release of the Tudor Black Bay GMT. Both the “Tudor Pepsi” and the Rolex GMT-Master II “Pepsi” were launched in 2018, causing quite a stir among watch fans. All the excitement has calmed down a bit in the meantime, but two things remain the same: The Tudor Black Bay GMT is still performing extremely well in terms of value retention, and it’s still the best alternative to the Rolex Pepsi that money can buy. Not only is it significantly more affordable than the Rolex, but it also sets its own course to some extent. While the 41-mm case may be a bit large for some enthusiasts, everyone can agree that the Tudor exudes unrivaled vintage charm. The black dial has an appealing texture, the beveled case is gorgeous, and the big crown with its signature engraved rose is eye-catching, to say the least. The colors on the aluminum bezel are bright and offer a lot of versatility. The tone of the colors depends on the lighting conditions; sometimes it’s a clear “Pepsi,” other times the bezel appears darker, coming closer to the “Coke.” The internal specs are also great, i.e., an in-house movement featuring a GMT complication and a 70-hour power reserve. Moreover, the haptics are on point – proof of the manufacturer’s proximity to Rolex. I would personally recommend looking at new Tudor GMT models, as older versions are known for occasionally having problems with the date function. You can find new models for around $4,500 – an amazing figure for what you’re getting. 

The Tudor Black Bay GMT – still the best alternative to the Rolex "Pepsi"
The Tudor Black Bay GMT – still the best alternative to the Rolex “Pepsi”

The Unusual Icon: TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre Heuer 02 39 mm 

The final watch I want to feature today is an undisputed racing legend. While its angular shape may strike some as a bit unusual today, it was a game changer when it was first released in 1969. Named after the Monaco Grand Prix, the watch found its way onto the wrist of Steven McQueen in the film Le Mans. The TAG Heuer Monaco Calibre Heuer 02 39 mm is a great new edition of the beloved racing chronograph, and it successfully blends the model’s vintage charm with modern touches. The black sunburst dial is pure elegance, while the white subdials and red accents add a sporty touch. 

The technical specifications of the TAG Heuer Monaco – including its sapphire crystal, chronograph function, date complication, and 80-hour power reserve – fade into the background when you see the watch’s display case back. Here, you are afforded a breathtaking view of the automatic, in-house Heuer 02 caliber. The black leather strap perfectly complements the style of the watch and rounds out the overall package. The 39-mm TAG Heuer Monaco Caliber Heuer 02 is as close as it comes to a must-have if you have a penchant for this model in particular or racing in general. The market price for a full set still falls under $5,000. And while it may take you a little longer to find a buyer if you want to resell it down the line, if you can grab one for a good price now, the Monaco is very likely to hold its value well. Plus, you get the added bonus of wearing something that people don’t see every day.  

The TAG Heuer Monaco is an absolute racing icon, and this new edition is particularly beautiful to behold.
The TAG Heuer Monaco is an absolute racing icon, and this new edition is particularly beautiful to behold.

About the Author

Donato Andrioli

With the purchase of my Tudor Black Bay 41, I discovered a passion for mechanical watches. I am particularly drawn to iconic watches with long and exciting histories.

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