Why is now a good time to invest in luxury watches?
For decades, luxury watches have been a passion and hobby that people have explored to great lengths and have, in the process, amassed sizeable collections that are now worth far more than what they paid.
Today, an increasing number of collectors and enthusiasts have taken an interest in the high-end watch business, making timepieces a great purchase whereby your money is stored in a safe, tangible and wearable asset.
As more enthusiasts continue to take an interest, the luxury watch market will only continue to strengthen over time by simple virtue of the laws of supply and demand.
A great example of inflation is Patek Philippe’s decision to discontinue the 5711 Nautilus blue dial. In 2015, this was a watch valued at around £22,000. As collectors began increasingly appreciating the 5711’s history, design and quality of build, the value increased to around £27,000 in 2017 and then shot up to over £50,000 in 2019.
Following Patek Philippe’s decision to discontinue the 5711, prices skyrocketed to £75,000 and are continuing to climb given the hype surrounding the release of the 5711 with a green dial. Someone with the foresight to purchase a 5711 in 2015 would have experienced a return of around £50,000 or roughly 240% over the last six years.
Comparing this to the lousy 2% interest rates offered at your high street banks, watches seem like the smarter and more obvious choice.
How do you help a customer find a timeless piece?
Being one of the biggest pre-owned watch dealers in the UK, we benefit from having built an extensive and exclusive network of traders who can provide us with the ability to source almost any watch a prospective client is looking for.
Being a prominent dealer in the ever-evolving market also provides us with inside information that we can convey to clients to help make the most informed decision possible when buying an investment piece.
At Time Trader, we strive to go above and beyond for our customers by travelling as far as necessary and leveraging all of the tools we have at our disposal to source the exact watches our clients are looking for, however rare and exclusive they may be.
What are the key factors when investing in a luxury watch?
When investing in luxury watches, there are a number of factors buyers should be aware of. The first is the condition of the watch.
While this may seem rather obvious, there are many pitfalls consumers can unfortunately fall prey to. Avoiding watches that are in poor condition or are over polished is very important.
Both of these factors hinder the watch’s ability to be a worthwhile investment without spending a significant amount of time and money to restore the piece.
Another important aspect to consider is the contents. While vintage watches may not necessarily have their original box and papers, enthusiasts are looking to purchase modern watches that are full sets, meaning the watch comes with its original box, papers, tags and links – if it is a watch on a metal bracelet.
Thirdly, collectors should consider the seller from which they are buying. The expression ‘buy the seller’ is especially important in the watch world as some private sellers can unfortunately engage in rather unsavoury practices.
Here at Time Trader we pride ourselves on our service before, during and after the sale is completed. We strive to provide consumers with the most accurate and up-to-date information while sourcing the watches they want, at the best available price and in the best possible condition.
At the end of the day, if you are spending your hard-earned money, we believe it is wise to have the most informed opinion possible.
Given our extensive network and expertise, we have the ability to provide consumers with all the necessary information to make the most informed decision possible.
Now we are able to return to shops, would you advise customers to shop in-store rather than online. If so, why?
While we recommend purchasing watches both online or in-store, there are pros and cons to both. Buying online can be quick and easy – the location of the seller is no longer important, however, you do lose the ability to see the watch in the flesh.
Visiting a store can be a great experience in itself and you can handle the watch, try it on for size and make sure it looks exactly like it does in the photographs.
Whether you make the purchase in-store or online, we always recommend doing some research on the seller if possible beforehand.
Reading customer reviews and speaking to previous customers can be a great way to safeguard yourself.
Your top tips for anyone gifting a luxury watch?
Having a watch engraved with a special message or date to commemorate a moment in business or a more personal event such as a wedding anniversary or a birthday, adds to the sentimentality of the timepiece and allows for the gift recipient to appreciate it even more. We believe this makes the perfect gift, and can help you make this a reality.
What can you tell us about current trends shaping the market?
Perhaps the most prominent trend in the market is the desire for steel watches, namely steel sports professional watches.
Watch brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet have all witnessed incredible secondary price increases in their steel watch models.
The demand for steel sports watches is decades old and will continue to remain strong in the future. The main reason is that watches in steel are more durable, hard-wearing and less prone to wear and tear than watches in precious metals like gold or platinum. Therefore, collectors and investors alike have the ability to wear the watches and not have to worry as much about losing value.
Buying stainless steel watches from major watch brands are foolproof ways of being able to enjoy your money and generate a good return in the process.
Alternative materials for watches is another trend shaping the market at the moments, and has been a success for brands such as Richard Mille and Audemars Piguet, for example.
Take Audemars Piguet’s decision to release a Royal Oak in a full ceramic case and bracelet, or Richard Mille’s work with exotic materials like NTPT Carbon. Such watches have become extremely collectable due to the difficult and rather laborious process required to create the case and bracelet out of such materials.
These are just a few examples of trends shaping the market and ones our clients have benefitted from financially by buying watches from us before the current watch market boom.
Your hero ‘luxe’ product?
The stunning Patek Phillipe 5980 in rose gold will always be a favourite of mine. Everything about this watch is made to perfection.
I’m a massive fan of its black gradient dial, a true chameleon it’s really more of a smoky brown or graphite grey. It’s rose gold applied markers with luminescent material along with the white accents of the monocounter chrono-register, provide the perfect contrast.
The satin-brushed finish along with its contrasting highly polished areas around the bezel, crown, case back, bracelet and chamfers is perfect and make it one of the best looking watches in 18K rose gold. A life-long investment to say the least.