If you are asking the question, Which Watch Brands Hold Their Value, it’s an important one. There are over 1000 watch brands in the world. Around 985 hold no value at all.
As hard a truth that is to digest, it is sadly the case with watches when you consider them as investments. The watch brands below are known to hold value for multiple reasons but initially, we wanted to start by giving you the main brands that hold value best and in some cases due to rarity and editions, go up in value.
This can be from day one or after a certain time of being on the market. Here are the top brands in no particular order that hold value best. We will then explain why this is the case and in all cases this is true.
The Top Watch Brands Which Hold Their Value
Looking at the list above it becomes clear that most of the brands have over a hundred year heritage. This not only is a testament to their lasting power, it also is a confidence booster for previous and future buyers that the brand has withstood numerous wars, turmoils, cultural or sociological shifts and still remained relevant.
Whilst one or two of the brands may have gone down in terms of the volume they produce, most of the companies have kept on increasing in value. Some are now goliaths and singlehandedly are worth Billions of dollars in market capitalization. Others have gone on to be purchased by larger luxury conglomerates.
This not only gives them the financial backing to market and increase their presence in emerging markets it also gives them the expertise in marketing and production to muscle their way into what can be a crowded market.
Cartier is owned by Richemont for instance, the same company that owns IWC, Piaget, Van Cleef and Arpels, Chloe and A. Lange & Söhne.
On the other hand, Rolex is held in a trust which classes itself as a charity, not having to release its sales figures or production details, giving a certain air of mystery. Patek Philippe, for instance, is still family-owned, fending off past hostile takeover bids from larger conglomerates which want another star brand in their portfolio.
Another reason the brands above hold their value is due to the production volumes and systems the company employs. Without exception, every single watch brand in the list is manufactured in Switzerland and Geneva in most cases.
This Mecca of watchmaking is the perfect environment where new movements are concocted and produced, in most cases in-house.
There is a certain strategic advantage to being a manufacturer in Switzerland. Apart from banking on the Made in Switzerland brand, which has become synonymous with watchmaking, it is also a country that chooses to stay out of major conflicts.
A small but autonomous region in Europe allows it to control what it chooses to produce and export. A smaller populace and little competition in luxury watchmaking give the country strategic advantage of banking on its own history and heritage in watchmaking also.
When considering investing in a luxury watch it is important to see where was it produced and manufacturing in Switzerland is very different to manufacturing in China where a quartz movement can be made for less than half a dollar. Fact…
When it comes to materials, watches that hold their values are not always manufactured in precious metals or precious stones. Sure Platinum and Gold are noble metals which are finite in availability however, you will see bigger drops in prices on these watches in terms of value and in some cases, one can even negotiate a price on precious metal watches.
Oddly enough it is the steel counterparts in the more desired models that hold their values best. There is a simple supply and demand issue here. When you consider Rolex for instance, the stainless steel Daytona is far more desirable than the white gold one.
This is due to price and a larger market desire for the product and thus it is easier to move once a buyer or seller wants to exchange or sell the watch in the future. More than the precious metals, it comes down to the movements involved and the aesthetics. These are usually more interesting, require manual work and complications.
More complex movements in simpler materials are far more valuable than simpler movements in precious metals and gemstones and an iconic look can totally transform the financial success of a watch brand. The Rolex Datejust is a simple example of this.
When it comes to watches that hold value and go up in value. There is an interesting but unorthodox way of telling how desirable a watch is. Simply look to the number of fakes available in the market… Luxury brands as much as they hate the replica industry like to keep a close eye on it.
The reason they do this is because it is a good market tell of what brands and what models are desirable. Ever come across a fake Versace watch? Perhaps not. Ever come across a fake Rolex? Tons. This not only highlights how desirable the watch is for the masses it also allows the brand to know if it is still relevant. Oddly if you aren’t being copied, nobody wants you…
With the launch of any new watch by any of these brands will also send prices skyrocketing as there is a surge of demand for that watch. Keep a close eye on what new models the brand is launching and any in simpler metals but professional or classic shapes like Daytona from Rolex or the Santos 100 from Cartier in a new color way will get collectors and enthusiasts salivating.
These are usually great investments and will in most cases be worth more the minute you walk out of the store as they can become waiting list models very quickly. Keep in mind that even a goliath like Rolex which produces over a million watches a year has its work cut out.
In China alone, there are over a million millionaires with appetites to match. Smaller brands simply can’t keep up with demand and thus keep production controlled to avoid flooding the market with timepieces.
In fact, this was an issue in the last few years where there was too much availability of Swiss movements in the market and this did damage the reputation of some brands as it was easier to get watches that were previously difficult to get.
It is a subtle game of cat and mouse.
Keep production awkwardly low but just enough so there is the desire from the client but also you make a sale which is key. Brands like Hermes do this with their iconic bags like Birkin which also has a two-year waiting list.
Even Ferrari decided to reduce production this year alongside unprecedented demand. They highlighted it was to make the brand less visible and available.
It comes down to the simple saying “Boys want what they can not have!”
When it comes to collectible and valuable watches there is one thing which is a mark of significance. That mark is usually the certification the watch movement is given.
Most of the collectible and investment watches are not quartz movements. They are in fact mechanical or automatic movements.
The complexity of watches that have moving parts means that they are prone to losing or gaining time over the wearers lifetime. The brands listed above go through rigorous testing to ensure they meet the highest level of precision timekeeping.
Standards are usually set by independent graders and the brands aim to not only reach but in most cases surpass those standards to highlight their technical know-how and manufacturing prowess. Always look to where the watch was certified and by whom.
This is usually a very good sign of a precision timepiece and most of the above watch brands will try to get their watches a COSC chronometer certification to give the buyer confidence.
One final thing to consider when buying a watch even if you are thinking about whether it will hold value is if you like the look of it? There is no point buying something you don’t like!