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You may have purchased your luxury timepiece because of its exquisite beauty and craftsmanship. Perhaps it was the prestige of the piece that attracted you. Whatever the original reasons for watch aficionados owning their timepieces, one factor is definitely their investment value. Fine watches are a lot like luxury cars when it comes to their resale value: They depreciate for several years but, in the case of the most premium or rare models, they then begin to regain and sometimes exceed their original price. Take a look at ten of the most investment-worthy pieces.
Only about 45,000 of these world-famous beauties are made every year, and that is only a small part of the reason for their prestige. When you buy one of these timepieces, you will know that it was crafted meticulously by hand and is made by a company that has at least 70 patents for its proprietary parts. Although you might get lucky and pay $5,000 for a low-end timepiece from this company, most new models garner $17,000 or more. One particular watch, the Supercomplication (circa 1933) sold for 11 million dollars. No matter which Patek Philippe you own, you can be certain that it will be a solid investment, thanks to the company’s reputation and the fine detail and precision that goes into each one.
Ask ten people to tell you the name of the first luxury watch maker that comes to mind, and it is quite likely that most of them will blurt out the name of this world-famous company. It is for that very reason that Rolex timepieces can be solid investments over time, even though some so-called watch snobs look down their noses at the brand, believing it to be over-marketed to the masses. Because Rolex is such an iconic name that is directly associated with wealth and success, its watches tend to hold their price over the years. Because that happens, the reputation of the Rolex is enhanced once again. Expect to pay at least $5,000 for a bare bones Rolex; the price goes all the way up to $100,000. Vintage models have been known to sell for millions.
Like the Rolex, this is a premium Swiss watch company which is well-known for its high-quality watches. Ranging anywhere from $3,000 to $170,000, all of these timepieces hold their value very well over time and are excellent heirlooms to enjoy for a lifetime and then hand down to your children.
No other company has achieved such an iconic status for fashion and prestige in the watch industry as Cartier. For that reason, Cartier’s timepieces stand the test of time and are sought after on the collector market. Although you can buy a Cartier for the comparatively low amount of around $4,000, the priciest models can garner millions of dollars. Any Cartier will hold its price if kept in excellent condition; however, more recent models are especially good investment pieces.
Although this brand might not be quite as well-known by the general public, it is very well regarded by collectors and luxury watch lovers all over the world. In fact, it is the world’s oldest watch maker, having been founded in Switzerland in 1755. This company is known for its aesthetic and technical prowess, and its hand-finishing on each timepiece is second to none. Expect to pay a minimum of $3,000 for a Vacheron Constantin. Take care of it well and this brand will tend to rise in value over time. Some models have been known to sell for millions.
A. Lange & Söhne
This high-end German watch maker has been plying its craft since 1945. the company believes in doing all of its own work; each movement is developed, produced and assembled in-house. A metal composed of a combination of nickel and silver is used to create each movement. When you buy a timepiece from this venerable manufacturer, you know you have a perfectly assembled and exquisite piece. Although some models lose value in the short term, older models frequently regain what they lost. The bottom line is this: Give your timepiece the loving care it deserves and it will maintain its price in upcoming years.
A star on the watch-making stage since 1833, Jaeger-LeCoultre is one of the most highly-respected movement manufacturers in the world. It has produced some of the most sought-after watches in the past century, some of which were featured on the American television period piece Mad Men. A low-end model can start at $5,000, but you could easily pay $100,000 for one of these Swiss-made show-stoppers. Of particular value are models including the Reverso, the Duoplan, the Master Control, the Memovox Polaris, the Gyrotourbillon and the Atmos.
Although this brand may be more often associated with high-end writing instruments, the company has recently shifted its focus to encompass luxury timepieces. You could buy a low-end Montblanc watch for a few hundred dollars, but you might well pay over $30,000 for a limited edition piece. In spite of the fact that Montblanc has only been making watches for 14 years, it is quickly winning a place among the crème de la crème with its Swiss-made, precious metal-encased timepieces. Although there is no way to predict Montblanc’s long-term investment value, some pieces have already sold for hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Van Cleef & Arpels
Founded in 1906, this French jewelry, fragrance and watch company carries with it an aura of sophistication and style that is virtually unparalleled. Ranging from $5,000 to $200,000, watches from this iconic company have become extremely popular and are terrific investment options. Currently, the yellow gold and diamond edition of their Cadenas model has been recognized as one of the top high-end timepieces in recent years.
Don’t let this Swiss company’s relatively recent entry into the world of high-end watches fool you. Although its first watch was not sold until 1996, this company’s Bugatti 370 watch won the Japanese press’s “Watch of the Year” award just 30 years later in 2006. No matter what the price, all Parmigiani Fleurier watches take at least 400 hours to be made by hand, and only a few thousand are manufactured each year. The investment outlook for these high-end timepieces looks positive, particularly for hard-to-find models such as the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda 1950 Squelette, which will cost you $10,000 now but looks to be appreciating in value in upcoming years.
It’s a beautiful piece of jewelry, a wonder of precision engineering and a conversation piece and status symbol. In addition, your premium watch is an investment opportunity. Treat it well by storing it in a jewelry box or watch winder when appropriate and it will reward you in many ways over the years.