Wristwatches As An Investment

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Mechanical wristwatches were twice predicted to be “dead.” In the 1950s, when the American company Hamilton released the first-ever watch with an electronic display. And in the 2010s, when there was a surge in the popularity of smartwatch technology (which actually appeared back in 1972). Both times, the luxury watch market successfully survived a short period of turbulence, and in the last 5-6 years, experts have noted record growth in sales around the world. We’ll tell you what this is connected with and why classic wristwatches are one of the most reliable types of investments in our turbulent times.

Mechanical wristwatches – timeless classics

If we compare mechanical watches with smartwatches, we have to note that they seriously lose in terms of functionality. Mechanical watches do not show weather forecasts or notifications, cannot track vital signs, and cannot be used to make calls or go online. In fact, mechanical models perform only two functions: they show the date and time.

At first glance, it seems that mechanical watches have become hopelessly outdated over the past centuries since 1810 (and it was then, according to some versions, that the first wrist chronometers appeared). However, the market saw record growth in 2021, with total auction sales worldwide reaching $527 million (54% higher than 2020). And such interest in seemingly outdated technology is quite simple to explain. Over the past half-century, wristwatches have lost their purely practical function, turning into a symbol of status and image. And one of the most reliable mechanisms for investing.

Mechanical wristwatches as an investment

According to Knight Frank, mechanical watches ranked second in the ranking of luxury goods investments in 2021, showing an average annual increase in price of 16%. According to Market Watch experts, this trend will continue until 2028, and mechanical wristwatches will remain one of the most valuable assets in an investor’s portfolio. Interest in watch auctions is also growing. So, last year the influential auction house Phillips sold items worth a total of $25 million. The most expensive lot was the Omega Speedmaster “Tropical Broad Arrow,” which went under the hammer for $3 million (by the way, this vintage model is over 64 years old!).

Key players

The Swiss watch industry accounts for more than 54% of the international market: of the 1.2 billion watches sold per year, an average of 29 million were created by Swiss watchmakers. The most recognizable brand in the world, of course, remains Rolex, however, if you look at the statistics on market shares, the situation is somewhat different. Thus, 18% of the market is occupied by the Swatch brand, 16% by the Richemont holding, and Rolex is only in third place with 12 percent of the market share. Following them are the American Fossil and the French conglomerate LVMH (each of them occupies 5%), as well as Japanese citizens (4%) and Seiko (3%).

Mechanical wristwatches
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Independent watch manufacturers

Investors are showing interest not only in major players but also in independent watchmakers such as George Daniels, Roger Smith, Christian Klings, and Philippe Dufour. Last year, Swiss watchmaker Philippe Dufour set a historical record among private manufacturers: one of his models was sold for 5.2 million US dollars.

The most expensive models

According to the Knight Frank Index, the Rolex Daytona model claims to be the main investment in 2022. Following it are the Explorer and Submariner (also Rolex). Sales of vintage Rolex watches remain strong, indicating that historical models continue to be a more desirable investment than modern options.

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Women’s wristwatches

Wristwatches claim the status of the main investment in luxury goods not only among men but also among women. And if male collectors’ watches are more a matter of image, then women’s models can be called a real masterpieces of jewelry art. Thus, the most expensive women’s mechanical watch was sold at auction in 2014 – the Graff Hallucination model, studded with the rarest colored diamonds, was sold for $55 million. Popular jewelry and watch houses also include Chopard, Cartier, Harry Winston, and Piaget.

Women's wristwatches
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On our platform, we have made a selection of Luxury watches online from top brands. Models from Rolex, Omega, Hublot, Ulysse Nardin, and other brands will not only be a profitable investment but also an ideal addition to any fashionable look.

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