Good Investment Watches Around $10,000 – $25,000?

Anatole G. from Australia asks:

I am interested in investing in a few watches of around $10,000- $25,000 per watch. I already have a few that I wear day to day. These extra ones would be mostly investment. I've been looking on the internet with great interest and there is a lot of information.

Would you be able to help me by pointing me to few good resources to learn more about investing in watches. My time frame would be between a few years 2-3 to 10+ depending on the watch and how much I enjoy it. Are there website with auction results?

If investing in watches should a person not wear them to retain the value? Thank you for your assistance.

Max here: Generally, investing in watches is a bad idea in my opinion. This is not to say that watches do not appreciate in value or that some watches from a few brands retain or exceed their retail value, it's simply that there are many other investment opportunity that are more predictable and of better value than timepieces.

Of course, this is just one opinion. However, note that I say this as a lover of timepieces with a substantial collection worth substantial money. However, while I can't claim that any of my watches have doubled in value or achieved 50% increased over the past two years, it's easy for me to point at at least four stocks in my portfolio that have... My gold watches, if they have increased was due to the value of gold that kept increasing, until recently...

If the stock market is too scary for you then simple investment vehicles like bonds, index funds, and even gold or silver bouillon may be better alternatives IMO.

While it's tempting to look at the auction watch market and be mesmerized by the high dollars that some Patek or Rolex are fetching, they are rare and I would say the only two brands with some predictable appreciation for their timepieces. A few other brands: think Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin and maybe A. Lange & Sohne and Panerai will predictably lose less value after retail (and maybe increase), generally, watches are like cars, the moment you leave the retail store, you are down 20% or more in value. At the very least.

So, why do I have a collection? Well, for me it's because I enjoy wearing my watches. I have many because I enjoy each and every one of them. If I don't then I give them away as gift to family or sell them sooner than later. At this present time, my collection, a modest 10 pieces is made up of watches that I would not part way with and that I wear as often as I can. Naturally, I wear the gold watches less often and have a couple pieces for more formal occasion. However, the point is, I use all of them as often as I can.

To sum up, I collect watches because I enjoy wearing them. If one model in my collection increases in value, then cool, otherwise, I don't care since I got it because I really like it and I wear it. Rare exception to the rule are pretty much all Patek Philippe and some Rolex models which in the long run have high probability of increasing in value. That is one reason (not the main reason) why these two brands' watches are high on my list, every time I am ready to acquire a new piece...

Finally, vintage watches (for the right price) may be an "investment." However, it's tricky since you could be getting a "franken" watch, the engine may have issues, and presumably if the watch is selling for more than a few $1000 then the owner did his/her research and knows the value. Just search eBay, takes a few minutes. So, unless you know the brand well and have means to examine or authenticate the vintage watch, the same rule above applies. I buy vintage because I love the history, the old design, the uniqueness, the technology of the time, and love having that on my wrist from time-to-time.

That's my philosophy. You don't have to agree with it, but wanted to be clear. Hope this helps.

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  • Lesthepom

    I am with you on this one the only watches I have seen increase in value within your life time anyway are watches from top brands and very small limited editions and most of these tend to be in the 100s of thousands rather than 10s of thousands
    No doubt there are watches out there that will go up in value may be you should start that web page with watch prices for the investors James list has lots of watches for sale in your price bracket but don’t forget that sneaky import tax GST on anything over $1000.00

  • DG Cayse

    IMO, the only watch items worthy of investment, in this price range, are those with documented provenance.
    Without that, buy what you like and wear it.

    Leave the ROI part to those who are already in the game.
    Just my opinion.

  • MarcTravis

    If you are “investing” in watches to make some extra cash, and actually succeed, consider yourself lucky.

  • Henry-L

    I agree totally.  Watches are bought for one’s enjoyment.  If one wants to use watches as an investment vehicle, there are plenty of ways to invest your money with a positive return other than doing it with watches.

  • King Midas

    I can’t think of a worse investment (financially speaking) than watches.

  • Mike Darwin Brown

    Stick with Rolex or Patek! Maybe AP, but recently…….