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Is The Smart Money Still In Watches?

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It’s a question that is asked of our specialists by all our high net worth clients who have wristwatch collections – whether that be a few ‘accidental’ investments or hardened collectors who purchase an item…. open the box and admire the marvel of what they have in front of them…… and then hide it away in a safe never to be seen again, that is until they need it to be valued or to provide proof to their authorised dealer that their name should be top of the list for that new GMT that us mere mortals have to wait more than a decade to get hold of.

As with most things of this nature, it is not an easy answer.

If I were to ask one of my extremely learned colleagues “Is the smart money still in art?” then the ensuing conversation could probably last hours, would definitely involve strong language, and ultimately would end with everyone having a subjectively correct answer.

Whilst we cannot predict the future, if the last decade has been anything to go by (including 18 months of complete global turbulence) the market has been strong beyond any comprehension that us watch enthusiasts could have possibly thought about 20 years ago.

Rolex, Rolex, Rolex.

The GMT MASTER II ‘Batman’
Brand new retail price – £7,750
Secondary market price – up to £17,000

Without doubt, the most recognisable brand of luxury watch in the world and probably the one that most people still aspire to own. Their marketing is exemplary, their product line is still world beating in many areas and owning one still makes you feel special…..but, the problem is actually owning one.

If you have mustered the courage to enter into one of their boutiques to actually try on some of their timepieces, you will notice that you are being visually credit scored by both the assistant and security guard making sure that you really should be in here……but when you finally see that Submariner that you have dreamt of since seeing Timothy Dalton in Licence to Kill (Insert Connery & Dr No as required) you know it was all worthwhile, but just as you reach for your wallet, the blood drains from your face and you feel like Patrick Bateman trying to book a table at Dorsia.

You cannot buy a brand new Rolex Submariner.

Really.

Seriously.

The SUBMARINER (No date 41mm)
Brand new retail price – £6,450
Secondary market price – up to £12,495

The Rolex waiting list has almost achieved a mythical status amongst watch collectors with times of 25 years quoted in some places for certain Daytona models, however with the Submariner, you may be in luck and possibly could have that watch on your wrist in under five….but should you?

Included are three examples of watches with their brand new price, and what you would have to pay – today to get hold of one on the secondary market

The DAYTONA COSMOGRAPH (40mm Oystersteel)
Brand new retail price – £10,500
Secondary market price – up to £25,000

We could talk about examples such as the ‘Pepsi’, ‘Coke’, ‘Kermit’, and ‘Starbucks’ (seriously) models and show even larger increases in value, however this should give an overview on why your clients need to have their watches valued on a regular basis, and it’s not just Rolex – Patek Phillipe and Audemars Piguet, many other high end brands command eye watering prices on the secondary market.

So is the smart money still in watches?

We shall leave you to decide!