How to Invest in High-End Watches for Profit


How to Invest in High-End Watches for Profit

For those without experience, investing in watches can be a difficult business.  As soon as a watch leaves a store it loses value.  While some watch brands retain value better than others, and some watches become valuable because they are rare or unique, an investor needs to research what the market wants.  At the end of the day, a watch is only worth whatever the market is willing to pay.

Watches are an investment because they are viewed as more than a simple time piece.  They are often worn as a symbol of status and wealth.  This is as true today as it was when the watch was first conceived in Europe in the 15th Century.

If you are considering investing in watches for profit, but don’t know where to start, the tips below will head you in the right direction.

How to get started

Firstly, you don’t need to be super rich.  On a modest budget you can start buying and selling watches for profits.  Successful watch investors generally have the follow attributes:

  • Budget:  A budget of over $10,000 (some people start a lot less, but the larger the budget the more choice you will have).
  • Research:  They have the ability to undertake detailed research on specific watches, industry trends, and trade volumes.
  • Patience:  They are happy to wait for profits.  While you can make money quickly if you get a good deal on a watch, some dealers have waited up to 20 years to get a solid return.
  • Passion:  All watch investors have an underlying passion and interest in watches.

Undertaking research

If you have a good budget, are patient and have a passion for watches, then it’s time to start your research.  Start by speaking with watch dealers.  Even ask one to be your mentor.  No one has more experience in the price and trends of watches than someone making their living through them.

Secondly, start attending auctions.  This will help you to network, understand which watches are selling, and will give you an idea on price.  Also, research online.  Visit watch selling websites and participate in watch forums.  You will be amazed at what information you can find, and what information people are willing to share.

Your research will show you the best watches to buy for profit, and will also help you to identify rare and unique watches with high resale value.  Remember though, research is an ongoing task.  There is always something new to learn.

Where to buy watches?

Once you have undertaken your research, it’s time for the fun part – buying watches.  For watches under $5000, check sites such as Jomashop or Amazon.  For watches over $5000, approach individual dealers or attend specialist auction houses.

The price you pay for a watch will ultimately affect your profit.  To get the best price consider the following:

  • Individuals:  Individuals generally offer lower prices than dealers.  You can also capitalize if the person needs to make an urgent sale.
  • Collectors:  Collectors are a good option if you are looking to buy multiple watches.  Discounts often apply when you buy more than one watch.  This helps with the reselling price margin.
  • Dealers:  You can get good watches from dealers, but they will negotiate hard on price.  They know the industry very well.  Also they are willing to wait to make a sale.  If you are looking for a long term investment then this can be a good option.

Where to sell watches?

There are a range of options to sell a watch.  If you are dealing with watches under $5000 then EBay, Craigslist and Luxury Watch Forums are good options.  You can also sell to dealers, but chances are the profits are going to be less.

If you are selling watches over $5000, then it’s best to go to a well known auction house.  While you will lose a percentage of profits, chances are you will be able to sell the watch quickly and for more money.

What makes a watch a good investment?

To be a good investment a watch needs to retain value and be unique.  Some of the key factors to consider are:

  • Vintage:  It’s always a good option to go vintage.  The older a watch the rarer it is.  Always check the quality, and stick with brand names.
  • Unique and Special Occasion pieces:  If you buy watches that are rare or made for a special occasion, then you can stand to make a significant amount of money.  Uniqueness adds value.
  • Brand names:  Good brand names tend to hold their value better.  Brand’s such as Rolex, Hublet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Blancpain, Patek Philippe and Brequet, are all suitable. 
  • Contemporary male watches:  There is money to be made in these watches, if you choose the right ones.  Choose a luxury brand, and one that is mechanically complex and limited in number.

What watches should you not invest in?

Generally ladies contemporary watches are not good to invest in.  These watches are often viewed as a piece of jewelry rather than a unique watch.  This makes the watch less important from a historical perspective and affects its long term value.  So stay away from these watches to start.

In summary watches can be a good investment.  In fact, they can be a lot better than a standard savings account.  However, you do need to build a sizable budget and do your research first.  If you can these two things, then you will be on the road to success.

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