The world might be going virtual, but that only seems to enhance the pleasure and power of tactile goods and the analog experience. Oil paintings. Classic cars. Vinyl records. And yes luxury watches. They all continue to thrive in the modern marketplace, rewarding their owners on multiple fronts and often increasing in value. Unlike their digital peers, the best of these well-made products retain a distinct and artisanal edge, the kind of which renders them both timeless and unique. Sometimes, they’re one of a kind or impossible to replicate, making them all the more singular and alluring. It’s then no surprise that certain luxury watches fetch astronomic prices as they become rarer with each passing year. But will that trend continue into the foreseeable future? Let’s discuss!
Furthermore, there’s usually an inherent risk to buying a luxury watch at one price and then trying to sell it for another. Scammers are ubiquitous in this industry and so are amateurs, both of whom might be selling defective merchandise, a watch with replaced components, or an outright fake. That’s why it’s important to know exactly what you’re doing and to buy from a source you can trust. Amongst the current online marketplaces, eBay is easily one of your safest bets. Not only do they offer services like Authenticity Guarantee (for watches priced over $2000) and Escrow payments (for watches priced over $10,000), but their selection is seriously off the charts. Keep reading for more on this below.
Putting risk aside, the luxury watch market has proven itself quite robust over the past decade or so. As a result, you can proceed with relative confidence as long as you know what to look for. Models such as the Rolex Submariner, TAG Heuer Carerra, or Omega Seamaster 300 continue to soar in value, whereas less desirable counterparts have flatlined. Why these particular watches? Because they’re expertly made, iconically designed, and offered by a legendary brand. Specific references are also unique to their respective time of release and quite limited in supply, all while demand remains high.
In a word: yes. You should invest in luxury watches, but only after performing extensive research and accumulating experience. The best thing to do is start as a collector, developing knowledge as you nurture your hobby without worrying about investment value. Eventually, you’ll become an expert, knowing where to put your money when seeking a return on investment down the road. In the meantime, you’ll have amassed a killer collection!
Which Watches Have Increased in Value Over the Years?
There are more watch brands now than ever before, which can make the industry somewhat difficult to navigate. As a general rule of thumb, stick with the best-known luxury brands, most of whom hail from Switzerland and come backed by decades (if not centuries) of experience and acclaim. In most cases, these watches are limited in supply from the get-go and often sporty by design.
Here are some quick examples of specific models that have increased substantially in value:
- Patek Philippe Steel Nautilus, Reference 5711
- Omega Silver Snoopy
- Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Reference 15202ST
- Rolex “James Bond” Submariner Reference 6538
- Rolex Daytona Reference 16520
Which Watches Hold Their Value Best?
When buying watches as an investment, your surest bet is to stick with established luxury brands such as the following:
Of course, not every model will hold or increase its value over time. Before you buy, consider some of the following variables:
- Is it a limited edition release?
- Is it a vintage model with an iconic legacy?
- Is it in top condition with all of its original parts?
- Is it being offered on a marketplace you can trust?
- Is it coveted by collectors?
- Did the brand manufacture everything in-house (including the movement) or did they outsource certain components?
- Does the watch have any exclusive features like a tourbillon or moon phase complication?
- Can you comfortably afford to buy this watch and then sit on it for years?
Why is the Value of a Vintage Rolex so High?
To be clear, not every Rolex soars in value soon or even long after its initial release. However, a wide number of the brand’s vintage sports watches have completely held their own in the secondhand market, occasionally fetching sky-high prices on the auction block. The reason is relatively simple: the best of these models are brilliantly made, incredibly iconic, and limited in supply. Some of them are tightly associated with high-profile celebrities or events (we’re looking at you, ‘Paul Newman’ Daytona) while others helped set the template for their particular sector. Take the Rolex Submariner, for example, which remains the benchmark for modern dive watches over 60 years after it was first introduced.
Where to Buy Luxury Watches Online?
With the ever-growing popularity of luxury watches, there has come an outright slew of online marketplaces. Standing head and shoulders above their peers are places such as eBay, which have gone the extra mile to ensure that you get what you pay for. The site also makes it just as easy to sell as it does to buy, allowing you to earn directly on your horological investments.
eBay Authenticity Guarantee & Escrow
Put simply, there’s no safer place to buy vintage luxury watches online than eBay and that’s before we get to their epic selection. What really distinguishes the marketplace as an absolute haven for secure purchasing are the two following programs:
- Authenticity Guarantee: Whenever you purchase a watch valued at over $2000, eBay backs it with Authenticity Guarantee. Once you pay, the watch is shipped to eBay’s third-party authentication partner, who performs a multi-point inspection before re-packaging the watch and sending it to your door via insured, expedited shipping with signature confirmation. They also provide an authenticity report, which does wonders for resale value down the road.
- Escrow: When you buy a watch for $10,000 or more, eBay will direct you to the third-party Escrow platform. Functioning as a completely independent intermediary, they’ll hold on to your payment for up to 7 days after you receive the watch. This gives you ample time to inspect or return the watch before your payment is released to the seller.
Between their limited supply, mechanical prowess, and living heritage, vintage luxury watches double as wise investments. With more millennials entering the marketplace, that trend is likely to continue. Nevertheless, passion, research, and patience are all more or less required, as is a safe marketplace where you can do business. For that and more, eBay has you covered.