Why your watch could be your best investment | Really Simple Money


Collectable and antique markets go through some bizarre cycles.

Who knew that the old first generation MacIntosh computer was worth hanging onto, with some now worth around $500,000, or those vintage video games. If you were into Zelda and scored what is now a rare edition, you could be sitting on close $1 million based on recent US auctions.

A few years ago people were junking old Australian cars like Valiants and Holdens, now they are considered “investible.”

One section of the luxury market which is having a moment right now is antique watches and apparently its at a point where an older one on your wrist is worth more than buying one brand spanking new.

In fact, experts reckon that the market for pre-owned watches is set to overtake sales of new watches in the next few years.

Consulting firm McKinsey are forecasting that the market for pre-owned watches, which was worth $29 billion before the pandemic, will be worth $47 billion by next year.

Watch expert Bani McSpedden, who has the distinguished title of “Watch Editor” at the Australian Financial Review, notes how the fortunes of UK based pre-owned watch company Watchfinder have changed in the current market.

Back in 2012, Watchfinder were selling just over $25 million in pre-owned watches each year, and by 2018 this had soared to $220 million. 

It caught the attention of industry icon Richemont, which bought the company and has rolled out Watchfinder stores in many global cities synonymous with luxury retail, from Zurich to Milan to Hong Kong, giving it space in its boutiques. It hasn’t happened in Australia yet, but McSpedden says it might not be long.

Of the brands Rolex has always been at the top of the tree, although McSpedden says prices have bee down recently while those of other brands like Patek Philippe, Omega and Audmars Piguet are also highly sought after.

luxury watch heirloom

US magazine Esquire had a special on investing in watches recently, and name checked these brands along with Breitling, Jaeger LeCoultre, Tag Heuer and Longines, among others.

Interesting, many of these companies are bringing out re-issues of classic watches from the second half of the 20th century – at extremely high prices – which says its not just the ages of these watches which is desirable, it’s also the style.

Watchmaking is a dying art, apparently, so these older timepieces are now highly esteemed for their craftsmanship and this is being reflected in prices.

So, if you have an old watch languishing away in your bottom drawer, or there’s an old family heirloom lying around then it might be worth dusting it off and checking its value.

 As time has ticked by it might have soared in value and that trinket on your wrist could be worth a small fortune. Might be time to cash in and use your phone to tell you the time for a while. 


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