For those who appreciate fine craftsmanship, a watch is so much more than just a timepiece. While Haute Horlogerie is a status symbol, it can also be a valuable asset to add to your portfolio. And, investing in luxury mechanical watches can be very lucrative, if you know which models to look for. Unfortunately, not all timepieces will increase in value as they age. Furthermore, no one has a crystal ball to predict the future. So, there are no guarantees on which models will prove to be good investments in time. However, certain factors can help you determine the best watches to invest in 2022.
What Defines a Luxury Watch?
Luxury is often in the eye of the beholder. While there is no single accepted definition, Haute Horlogerie literally translates to the “high-art of watchmaking.” This term typically describes luxury watches from the most highly skilled watchmakers and recognized brands. Each timepiece is a carefully constructed work of art made from the highest quality materials.
The intricate design and master craftsmanship distinguish the mechanical luxury watches from mass-produced quartz timepieces. The complex mechanical movements showcase the watchmakers’ mastery of their skills. And as you can imagine, this level of craftsmanship usually comes with a high price tag.
What Determines If a Watch Worth Investing in?
A well-made watch is already a valuable asset that often retains or drastically appreciates in value over time. However, some are worth much more than others. If you aren’t an expert in vintage watches or an aficionado of modern timepieces, there are many factors to consider when evaluating the best watches to invest in 2022.
The brand is the first indicator that you are looking at a high-quality watch. Some brands like Rolex, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Omega, and Audemars Piguet have withstood the test of time. They continue to perform well and have many loyal customers. And, many models from these renowned watchmakers have seen a huge increase in value over the years.
Another factor affecting value is scarcity. The rarer the timepiece, the more valuable it becomes. Therefore, the rules of supply and demand dictate that as the supply becomes more limited, the demand will also increase. This can equate to huge profits if you own a rare or vintage luxury watch.
Therefore, it’s wise to keep in mind that there is greater demand for models with fewer examples. Limited edition pieces, vintage watches that were unpopular when first released, or watches from smaller, independent brands who produce fewer models make them good candidates for investors. However, it’s the one-of-a-kind pieces that will hold the highest value.
Like all collectibles, the condition will greatly impact the price as well. Even if you have a rare model, no one will want to buy it if it’s beyond repair. So, watches that have a cracked dial, rounded edges, pitting and rusting in the movements, or other major damage will not hold much value.
Even if the previous owner completed repairs, you want to verify the service records and ensure that it contains authentic parts. These issues could make the difference between a sound investment and a waste of money. Although a watch appears to be in good condition, it has little resale value if it is heavily refurbished.
And, let’s not forget that there are many convincing counterfeits out there. Even the savviest collector can be fooled by a good reproduction.
Finally, a timepiece with an interesting history or heritage will also come at a higher cost. This is especially true if there are celebrity associations or ties to other important public figures, such as Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona which sold at auction for $17.8 million.
However, some collectors prefer to focus on vintage watches, which gain this signifier after 25 years. An already rare watch can become infinitely more valuable over time as other examples are lost, destroyed, worn down, or discontinued.
Unfortunately, these models must be purchased second-hand. Investors choosing this route should go through a reputable dealer, someone you trust, or a seller that has a good reputation. Anyone who isn’t trying to scam you will be transparent about its condition, verify the work that has been done, and provide a service history to ensure proper care.
20 of the Best Watches to Invest in 2022
Knowing where to begin can be overwhelming for those who have never invested in luxury timepieces. With so many brands and options, you may not know where to start. Fortunately, there are plenty of online resources for horologists of all levels.
Based on reviews from the experts from online magazines like Chrono24, analysts at the European Watch Company, and enthusiasts who manage their own dedicated blogs, these are 20 of the most popular models and best watches to invest in 2022.
- Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo
- Patek Philippe Nautilus
- Vacheron Constantin Overseas
- F.P. Journe Elegante
- Czapek Antarctique Terre Adelie
- Tudor Heritage Black Bay
- Rolex Submariner
- Omega Seamaster
- Panerai Luminor
- Omega Speedmaster
- Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
- Tudor Submariner
- Grand Seiko Spring Drive
- Breitling Navitimer
- A. Lange & Sohne Datograph
- Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso
- Longines Flagship
- Tag Heuer Carrera
- Cartier Tonneau Cintree
- Vacheron Constantin Cornes De Vache
Marking the Minutes
Keep in mind that some of these suggestions are pure speculation. However, when you see the same recommendation from several sources, you know you’re getting a quality timepiece. While loyal brand customers will argue the merits of each model and watchmaker, any one of these watches would be a valuable asset.
However, you shouldn’t base your decision on the price alone. You don’t have to purchase the most expensive watches in the world to find a good investment. And, there are no guarantees that your watch will drastically increase in value. So, you should choose something you love and would enjoy owning.
Even for those who don’t have six figures to spend, there are many more affordable options that prove profitable in time. With proper care and maintenance, your timepiece will be an asset that you can pass on to the next generation.
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Jenny Smedra is an avid world traveler, ESL teacher, former archaeologist, and freelance writer. Choosing a life abroad had strengthened her commitment to finding ways to bring people together across language and cultural barriers. While most of her time is dedicated to either working with children, she also enjoys good friends, good food, and new adventures.