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Are Limited Edition Watches A Good Investment?

Tom E. from Belgium asks:

Is it a good idea to buy limited edition pieces of entry level brands to maximize value retention?

I’ve invested in 2 fairly expensive watches the past 2 years (expensive by my standards, meaning USD 2000+). One is an Hamilton X-Landing GMT, the other an Oris Col Moshin. Main reason for buying is I love ’em, but it would be nice if they are still worth something in 10 years.

Limited edition watches have become a sort of marketing game over the last 10 years. The limited edition watch was once much more of a rarity. Brands would produce them once in a while as a dedicated limited set for some particular purpose. The reality however is that most all watches are a “limited edition” because the brand makes them for a while and stops. The idea of an “edition” is what is now mostly missing as brand just call any limited production watch a limited edition. The entire concept of the limited edition has become totally perverted.

Watches produced as a planned series for some occasion can sometimes retain or grow in value, but it really depends on the piece, and more importantly the brand. These days there are so many limited edition watches out there than people mostly don’t care unless the brands or specific model is highly desirable. Brands use them to test out designs and other new features. They are rarely used for the original intended purpose of what a limited edition is supposed to be.

We can’t universally say that limited edition watches are a good value or a bad value because it really depends. As for entry level brands you might have a tiny advantage when it comes to future value retention compared to non-limited models. Of course, they will have to be desirable unto themselves. The term “limited edition” in and of itself doesn’t make anything more or less valuable.

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