How to Invest in Watches - A Practical Guide to Smart Investment

Written by – Updated on April 23, 2024
How to Invest in Watches - A Practical Guide to Smart Investment

Investing in luxury watches can be a rewarding passion and an astute financial move at the same time. With the right knowledge and approach, you can build a collection of watches that grow in value over time.

This practical guide will provide you with invaluable insight into the industry, addressing key questions such as which watches are worth investing in, what brands to consider, where to buy them and how to protect your investments.

From understanding the significance of the Richard Mille RM27-04 “Rafael Nadal” to learning the best watch care practices and storage solutions, this article offers everything you need to know to become a successful watch investor. Discover the 20 Best Investment Watches of 2023, common pitfalls to avoid when buying from the secondary market and more.

Short Summary

  • When buying watches, research the brand, materials, type, condition, rarity, and market demand to make an informed decision.
  • Investing in luxury watches such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet is a smart choice.
  • Regular maintenance, handling with care, and insurance coverage are important steps to protect your watch investment.

What Watches are Worth Investing In?

When investing in watches, it is important to consider factors such as brand, materials, type, condition, rarity, and market demand. Limited edition and classic models from luxury brands such as Rolex, Omega, and Patek Philippe are often considered the most desirable investments. Additionally, watches from smaller independent brands such as F.P. Journe, as well as vintage models that were initially unpopular, like the original Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, can be great investments.

Investing in a watch that adds aesthetic appeal to a collection can enhance the enjoyment of the collection and potentially increase its value. When investing in a watch, it is important to do thorough research and consider the elements mentioned above. Knowing which brands, models, and materials are likely to appreciate in value over time can help you make an informed decision.

What Are the Best Watch Brands to Invest In?

Rolex Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet are some of the most desirable and well-known watch brands for watch investment. These brands have proven their ability to retain their value over time, making them an ideal choice for a watch investment portfolio.

The Patek Philippe Nautilus is an iconic sports watch, designed by renowned designer Gérald Genta. Its design is inspired by the portholes of a transatlantic liner and is crafted in stainless steel or 18K gold. The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is a timepiece with a legacy that dates back to 1963. It is highly sought after by collectors and is renowned for its exclusivity. The Vacheron Constantin Cornes De Vache Triple Date is a highly sought-after timepiece renowned for its exceptional craftsmanship and design. The Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 is also a smart choice for any watch investment portfolio.

When investing in a luxury watch, it is important to evaluate the most sought-after models within the respective brand. The Rolex GMT Master 16710 is a steel sports Rolex model that is renowned for its superior craftsmanship and timeless design. The model line features several options for watch collectors. One such variation is the "SWISS T25" dial, which comes with tritium hour markers and hands made before 1999. Collectors may also opt for the transitional "Swiss Only" dial produced in 1999, as well as the later "SWISS MADE" dial, which sports SuperLuminova hour markers and hands from 2000 onwards.

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15202 “Jumbo” was released in 2012 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Royal Oak collection. It is crafted from stainless steel or 18K gold, featuring an iconic octagonal bezel, a patterned dial, and white gold hour markers. The Tudor Submariner 7928 also has a few versions available, with the MK1 “square crown guards” variant being the rarest, with an estimated total of only 100 known examples.

Pre-owned Rolex 124060 watches typically range in price from $13,000 or higher.

Where to Buy Investment Watches

Investment watches can be acquired from a variety of sources, including brand stores, authorized dealers, and the secondary market. Purchasing from a brand store guarantees that you are receiving a genuine, new watch with a valid warranty. However, the cost may be higher than other alternatives.

Alternatively, purchasing from an authorized dealer guarantees that you are receiving an authentic watch with a valid warranty. Furthermore, you may be able to negotiate the price.

If you are considering a vintage or pre-owned model, a reliable dealer such as European Watch Company can provide an accurate account of the timepiece's history.

How to Protect Your Watch Investment

Maintaining your watch through regular cleaning, avoiding contact with chemicals, handling with care, and proper storage can help protect your watch investment and ensure its longevity.

Obtaining insurance coverage for luxury watches can provide invaluable protection in the event of loss, theft, or damage, safeguarding your investment. Specialty jewelry insurance, such as BriteCo, provides comprehensive coverage for luxury watches, including worldwide coverage with no deductibles. The cost of this type of insurance is typically between 0.5% and 1.5% of the appraised value, making it an affordable way to protect your investment against loss, theft, or damage.

How to Care for Your Watch

Maintaining your watch is essential to preserve its pristine condition and avoid the expense of restoration. To ensure your watch retains its optimal resale value, it is important to practice regular maintenance and care. This includes storing your watch in a dry, dust-free environment, avoiding contact with water and other liquids, and having it serviced and inspected by a professional at least once a year.

To ensure optimal care for your watch, it is important to avoid winding it on your wrist, overwinding it, or leaving it unwound for extended periods of time. Additionally, regular cleaning of the dial, bracelet, or strap is recommended to remove dirt and dust. Furthermore, it is important to avoid exposing the watch to water or moisture, and to store it in a secure location.

To ensure longevity, regular servicing of your watch is essential to ensure its optimal performance and to protect it from any potential damage or deterioration. Additionally, it can help maintain its value.

How to Store Your Watch

Storing a watch correctly is essential for its long-term preservation. To ensure optimal preservation of watches, it is recommended to store them in a cool and dry environment away from extreme temperatures. Additionally, using a jewelry box, padded case or safe can provide further protection. Regular watch servicing is also important for maintaining the accuracy of the timepiece and preventing any potential mechanical issues. Watch boxes, trays, padded cases, and safes are all recommended for the safekeeping of watches.

When storing a watch, make sure to avoid extreme temperatures and direct sunlight, as this can damage the watch's internal components and decrease its lifespan. It is also important to prevent moisture from entering the watch, as this can lead to rusting and corroding of the internal components. Additionally, it is recommended to store the watch in an environment that is dust-free, as dust can accumulate and interfere with the watch's accuracy. Finally, it is advised to keep the watch away from magnetic fields, as this can disrupt the watch's accuracy.

By taking these precautions, you can ensure that your watch remains in good condition and continues to run accurately. Additionally, regular watch servicing is also essential for maintaining the accuracy of the timepiece. By following these guidelines and storing your watch correctly, you can protect your investment and ensure that you get the most out of your watch.

Where to Sell Your Watch

The potential avenues for disposing of a watch include pawn shops, auction sites, and luxury watch retailers. Pawn shops offer a convenient and expeditious option for selling a watch, however, the return may not be as lucrative as other avenues.

Selling a watch through an auction site can be a viable option if you are prepared to wait for the market to determine the price. However, it is important to be aware of the associated risks. The luxury watch retailer can provide the highest possible price for the watch, however, they may not be interested in watches that are not highly sought after.

When considering where to sell your watch, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of each option carefully in order to maximize return on investment and ensure the sale is conducted safely and securely.

Watching Your Investment Grow

Monitoring the progress of your investment is essential in order to make informed decisions regarding whether to retain or dispose of it. When investing in watches, it is important to source from reliable designers, evaluate the use of precious metals, and secure insurance. Furthermore, assessing the pre-owned value of a watch can assist in making an educated decision regarding the investment. The pre-owned value of a watch can be determined by assessing the brand, model, and condition of the watch. Additionally, online marketplaces and auction houses can provide useful information regarding the value of a specific watch.

Joining social media groups for watch investors can also offer a range of benefits, including the ability to connect with other watch enthusiasts and gain valuable advice and information about the watch market. Furthermore, these groups can provide a platform for buying and selling watches with other investors.

By monitoring the progress of your investment, you can effectively assess its performance and make informed decisions about whether to retain or dispose of it. Understanding the factors to consider when investing in watches and how to determine the pre-owned value of a watch can help to ensure that your watch investment is a solid one.

Moreover, joining social media groups for watch investors can provide valuable advice and information about the watch market, as well as a platform for buying and selling watches with other investors.

The 20 Best Investment Watches of 2023

Investing in watches can be an excellent way to diversify a portfolio and potentially generate a substantial return on investment. In 2023, there will be a wide range of luxury timepieces to choose from, ranging from vintage watches to limited edition models. Whether you’re looking for a solid investment or simply a great watch to add to your collection, these are the 20 best investment watches of 2023 that you should keep an eye out for.

The Rolex GMT Master 16710 is a classic dive watch that is sure to appreciate in value over time. The Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 is a timeless luxury watch that is highly sought-after due to its iconic design and limited production. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15202 “Jumbo” is a highly coveted piece, while the Omega Speedmaster First Omega In Space is an important historical item. The Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5968G-010 is a modern classic, and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph is a sportier take on the iconic Royal Oak. The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Chronograph is a highly versatile timepiece, while the Girard-Perregaux Laureato 42 Infinity Edition is a limited-edition steel sports watch with an integrated bracelet.

More adventurous collectors may want to consider the Omega Seamaster 300 Spectre, a timepiece that combines the classic design elements of the 1950s and 1960s with the advanced technology of Omega's Co-Axial and calibre 8400 movement. The Tudor Prince Day Date is a timeless watch line that serves as the cornerstone of Tudor watches, occupying a similar position to the Datejust and Day-Dates of the Rolex family. The Omega Speedmaster “Alaska Project” is a limited and numbered edition of the Speedmaster watch featuring a robust red-anodized aluminum outer case, designed to withstand extreme temperatures. The Richard Mille RM055 “Bubba Watson” is crafted from a combination of rubber, titanium, carbon fiber, sapphire, and ceramic, while the Richard Mille RM27-04 “Rafael Nadal” carries a price tag of one million dollars.

Collectors are now cognizant of the potential residual value of watches when making a purchase, a trend that was signified by the record-breaking $17.8 million sale of the “Paul Newman” Rolex Daytona. All of these luxury timepieces are sure to be great investments if bought and cared for properly. Whether you’re an experienced collector or just starting out, there are plenty of options available to help you get the most out of your watch investment.


In conclusion, investing in watches can be a great way to generate an impressive return on investment; however, research and diligence are key for making a success of such investments. When deciding what watches to purchase, one should consider the brand, materials, type, condition, rarity, and market demand to ensure long-term value.

It is also essential to practice proper watch care and storage, and choose the best method of sale when looking to generate financial returns. Finally, understanding the factors that affect watch values and connecting with other watch enthusiasts can help maximize returns and keep your investment growing.

Ultimately, a smart approach to investing in watches can be an enriching and rewarding experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are watches a good investment?

Investing in watches can be a good option for long-term investments. It is important to research the watch brands to pick ones that are likely to hold their value over time, like Rolex, Omega, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Tudor.

Investing in a watch you love is also recommended so you can enjoy it even if it doesn't gain in value.

How to properly invest in watches?

If you're looking to invest in watches, the best advice is to always purchase through authorized dealers and do your research. Ensure the watch has a reliable history and is made of quality materials before purchase - and ensure it's within your budget.

Taking into account these few factors should ensure a successful investment in watches.

How do watches go up in value?

Watches can go up in value depending on the demand, scarcity, condition and reputation of the model. If a watch is rare, well made and possessed by a famous person, it will likely increase in price over time due to being more desirable.

Buying watches that are expected to appreciate in value is a smart way to invest money.