Tyvärr finns inte vårt magasin på det språk du valt.
07/25/2022
 5 minutes

Watch Collecting vs. Watch Investing: which is better?

By Jorg Weppelink
Collecting-vs.-investing-Magazin-2-1

Watch investing is a hot topic. If you’ve been interested in the world of watches over the last three to five years, then you are aware of the ever-increasing prices of many timepieces. Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Omega – all of these brands have seen prices rise for many of their models. When it comes to Rolex, this upward trend applies to pretty much all of them. But ever since April of this year, we have started to see prices for some models come down slowly. Have we reached the end of the big price bubble? Obviously, we will have to wait longer before we know if this is the beginning of a significant price drop or only a temporary stagnation of watch prices. But it will be interesting to observe how this affects buyers who are considering purchasing a watch because they expect a return on their investment. 

Does watch investing mean making big money?

Over the last decade or so, investing in watches has become all the rage. It started with vintage timepieces. We saw watch collectors investing in vintage watches, not because they were primarily interested in the stories and technical prowess of these models. No, vintage watches turned out to be a safe investment that could lead to returns of 10% or more per year. As a result, we have seen auctions where iconic vintage watches have changed owners for astronomical prices. The most famous one was, without a doubt, Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona, which was auctioned for $17.8 million. But it didn’t stop with vintage pieces that had investment-worthy status akin to the art or wine auctioned off by big auction houses. Many people saw the potential of rising prices and jumped at the chance to make some money. But it really wasn’t as easy as buying just any vintage watch or any Rolex model and selling it shortly after for a large profit. In order to invest in watches and get a return on your investment, you need proper watch knowledge – even with a brand like Rolex. Now that prices are slowly dropping, the market for investing has become less attractive.  

The Rolex Submariner "Hulk": a good investment?
The Rolex Submariner “Hulk”: a good investment?

Should you become a watch investor?

So, what to do next? Will your love for watches be a thing of the past? While investing in watches has definitely had its impact over the last five to ten years, watch collecting has been a serious hobby for much longer. If you look beyond the monetary value of watches, there is a whole world of magical technology, compelling stories, and incredible brands that add a lot more to owning a watch than just its price tag. If you are willing to put in the time and effort, owning and wearing a watch can be a truly fulfilling experience and one that introduces you to mesmerizing wonders, as many enthusiasts have come to find. Getting to know the different manufacturers and their legendary models and discovering your personal favorites is an adventure in itself. And after you’ve found the timepieces that intrigue you, being able to add them to a collection and wear them is an even bigger joy. You are wearing a piece of watch history that is potentially connected to even greater historical milestones. Just think of the Speedmaster “Moonwatch,” the Omega Seamaster “Bond,” or the Rolex Explorer, whose legacy is tied to Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay’s expedition to the summit of Mount Everest.  

Legendary Timepieces With Timeless Stories

Then there’s the endless string of celebrities whose names are connected to different watches. Miles Davis and his Breitling Navitimer, Gianni Agnelli and his Omega Seamaster PloProf, Andy Warhol and his Cartier Tank, Rafael Nadal and his Richard Mille, John Mayer and his Rolex Daytona, Kanye West and his Cartier Crash, and the list goes on. Lastly, there are of course the personal stories that watches tell as they move from one owner to the next within your family. And if your parents or grandparents did not pass along their timepieces to you, why not start your own collection for the next generation? You can start a watch story that will become more colorful as your life develops, and you collect more and more experiences. When the moment comes to pass on your timepiece to the next generation, the stories tied to the watch will hopefully mean as much to your children as they do to you. But for this to happen, you will have to wear your watches instead of putting them in a safe, waiting for them to increase in value.  

Omega knows how to sell the story of the Speedmaster.
Omega knows how to sell the story of the Speedmaster.

The Difference Between Investing and Collecting 

This aspect of wearing a watch is especially interesting when it comes to the difference between investing and collecting. If I had to name one strange thing about watch investing, it’s the willingness of investors to lock their watches away in a safe and wait until they increase in value. Watches are practical instruments that can withstand challenging environments and the wear and tear of daily use. It’s literally what they are made for. To put a watch aside as a precious collectible contradicts its functional nature. Additionally, it makes it impossible to connect the watch to a potentially great story that adds so much more to its overall value. Emotional value, not monetary value that is. Given that prices are coming down for a lot of popular watches, it could be worthwhile to look beyond the monetary value and start wearing your watches to experience what makes them so great in the first place. It might even trigger the watch bug that will make you want to start collecting watches.  

Collectors Profit From Lower Prices 

If that happens, you might end up being happy that prices for a lot of watches are slowly decreasing. After all, watch collectors profit from lower prices rather than higher prices. You might just be able to get your hands on the watches you love for an affordable price. And who knows? Over time as your collection grows and you look to swap out some pieces for others, you could possibly make the money you wanted to after all. It will be a journey, and a great one at that if you are willing to dive deeper into the world of watches and if you don’t let the thought of profits guide your way through watch history, design, and great stories. So, if you’re ever worried you might not get a return on your investment, think instead about wearing the watch and becoming a collector. It might open up a new perspective on watches altogether. This leaves me nothing more to say than: happy hunting!  


About the Author

Jorg Weppelink

Hi, I'm Jorg, and I've been writing articles for Chrono24 since 2016. However, my relationship with Chrono24 goes back a bit longer, as my love for watches began …

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