From Rolex to Patek Philippe—here’s our round-up of the best timepieces to have on your radar.
This year, luxury watches overtook Bitcoin and vintage cars to become the most coveted investment option among the three. Though watch prices have fallen since the infamous crypto crash, they are still significantly up from their prices in 2019. In fact, during the pandemic, people used their saved up money to invest in watches, including Rolex and Patek Philippe. Renowned watch brands caught everyone’s attention as their resale values surged.
For instance, in June 2022, various auction houses placed numerous timepieces under the hammer. Auction house Sotheby’s earned almost US$19 million in total from watch auctions, while Christie’s and Philips brought in over US$20 million and US$30 million respectively. According to watch magazine Hodinkee, it was “the most successful spring watch auction season” to ever hit New York.
With that in mind, here are seven of the best luxury watches to invest in for 2022:
1. Rolex Submariner ref. 116610LV
Launched in 1953 for professional divers, the design of the Rolex Submariner has advanced through the years as has its value. For instance, the Rolex Submariner ref. 116610LV, also known as the “Rolex Hulk” is considered to be one of the rarest—thus most valuable—timepieces the watch brand has to offer. It’s a bulky watch, thanks to its large lugs and ceramic bezel. The watch is priced at over US$12,000 on Sotheby’s website.
What’s more is that Rolex has increased the price of another one of its Submariner’s, ref. 124060, over the years. It has raised the cost from US$8,100 in 2021 to US$8,950 in January 2022—nearly a 10 percent increase, all thanks to its demand.
2. Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711
Come 2022, Americans realized the financial potential of Swiss watches, and the watch brand Patek Philippe was on the top of many lists, especially the iconic timepiece Nautilus 5711/1A. This year, however, Patek Philippe officially discontinued the legendary watch on their website. Though a sad farewell, it raised the resale value of this watch. In a December 2021 auction, the watch sold for US$6.5 million. As per Sotheby’s, buying this watch will cost you over US$60,000.
Dubbed the “most coveted watch in the world” by some magazines, the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711/1A is a sporty luxury steel watch that was first introduced in 1976. The watch features a unique octagonal case and a horizontally-embossed dial. Its wait time can be up to ten years, and celebrities, like Leonardo DiCaprio, have sported it on various important occasions.
3. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
In May 2022, a vintage Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch sold for over US$1 million at an auction. Additionally, last year, watch brand Audemars Piguet’s revenue rose by over 30 percent to US$1.6 billion. Thanks to that increase, the brand leveled the economic playing field with Patek. Evidently, Audemars Piguet is a watch brand worth keeping an eye on, for it might give you significant value in the future.
Specifically, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak collection is one to make a note of. The watch was first introduced in 1972 and featured an octagonal bezel and an integrated bracelet. As per the Hodinkee shop, a pre-owned Royal Oak watch can cost you about US$27,000.
4. Omega Speedmaster “Moonwatch” 42 mm
In 1969, Buzz Aldrin stepped on the moon wearing an Omega Speedmaster Professional timepiece. Since then, the watch has been dubbed the “Moonwatch” by aficionados and worn by astronauts on every manned space mission by NASA.
Globally, it is among the most sought-after watches, so much so that, in 2021, Omega teamed up with another watch brand Swatch to launch a younger, more affordable iteration of this watch: the MoonSwatch, which costs just about US$300. Long queues and intense social media buzz marked this watch’s launch, thus cementing the watch’s legacy and demand to date. However, if you want to keep it classic and opt for the Omega “Moonwatch”, it can cost you somewhere between US$6,300 and US$52,000 as per the official Omega website.
5. Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Grande Complication À Triptyque
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso is a unique luxury watch that features a reversible case. The watch was introduced in 1931 in response to a request made by a polo player for a practical watch that could withstand the sport’s intensity.
Even today, it remains one of the most popular models from Jaeger-LeCoultre. That its design has barely changed over the years is a testament to the lasting impact of this watch. For instance, the Reverso Complication À Triptyque is the first watch in this collection featuring three faces. The Reverso collection boasts various rare timepieces worth adding to your collection and can hold their value. According to Sotheby’s, this watch will cost you over US$75,000.
6. Vacheron Constantin Overseas 4500V
Marked by long waiting times and great demand, the Overseas holds its value like most top-notch luxury brands. The Vacheron Constantin Overseas is a luxury watch introduced in 1977 and reimagined in 2016. Last year, the Overseas 4500V shot to fame, thanks to social media influencers sporting it online, thus also boosting its value.
The watch features a sporty design with a stainless steel case and bracelet. As per Vacheron’s official website, this watch is priced at US$33,100.
7. A. Lange and Sohne Zeitwerk Minute Repeater
In November 2021, German brand A. Lange and Sohne was at the center of a tussle between demand and supply, with the former exceeding the latter. Owners of Lange watches rejoiced as their watches showed potential to resell for significant amounts.
One such watch boasting high investment potential is the Zeitwerk Minute Repeater ref. 147.028. It is the first mechanical wristwatch to feature a decimal minute repeater and jumping numerals. This white gold and blue timepiece only has 30 watches up for grabs and is among the rarest timepieces produced by the watchmaker.
It’s worth noting that Lange watches can be extremely difficult to find, as the watchmaker only produces a small quantity every year. That’s probably what drives their watches’ value up further. Be warned, the prices for this timepiece are already high, to begin with, costing around US$500,000, as per Hodinkee.
Today, the value of a luxury watch hinges on a range of factors, from its scarcity to social media presence. Unquestionably, luxury watches are amazing investments. They not only hold their value but also increase in value over time. So, whether you are a watch aficionado, investing in a luxury timepiece is a smart move.
This article is meant for informational purposes only. Please make investment decisions based on your discretion.
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