Are Watches a Good Investment or Just for Looks?

With the world’s economy still in something of a state of flux, traditional investments aren’t quite as certain as they once were. We’ve seen people less confident in the stock market and in real estate, and overall consumer spending is still way down. Luxury watches are one purchase that most people consider both a beautiful accessory and an investment, but that might not be the case. The purchase of luxury items is usually the first thing to drop out of an individual’s monthly budget, as money is first earmarked for necessities. But regardless of the buying environment, the truth may just be that luxury watches aren’t a great investment.

There are people who purchase items expecting they will appreciate over time. And if they last long enough to become vintage, then it’s expected their value will go through the roof. But if you talk to professionals who deal with high-end watches on a daily basis, this often doesn’t seem to be the case. First of all, most watches just don’t last long enough to show a real value increase. And it is usually only particularly rare watches that appreciate to any real extent. In the end, you’re probably better off purchasing a watch because you love it, and then wearing it until it falls off your wrist, rather than keeping it in a glass case with some expectation of profit.

Of course, there are always exceptions. But those exceptions don’t hinge on age or beauty. It all comes down to brand. So experts will suggest that if you are looking for investment watches, you’ll need to buy either Patek Philippe or Rolex watches. Both brands have been around a very long time, and both retain their value very well. Again, the key idea is not that they will appreciate, but that they will maintain their value over a number of years. If you expect to find a buyer through the international auction market someday, then you should definitely buy Rolex or Patek Philippe. But if you are holding out hope that the watch you buy today might turn a profit, then you should be thinking generationally. Finding a rare watch model, either through dumb luck or careful consideration, means either your children or your grandchildren will be able to auction it and make a significant profit. But of course, you won’t be around to reap the benefits. The people that make these auctions part of their business keep their eyes open for the right watches, and then resell them a couple years later at the next high-end auction, turning a small but real profit.

If you buy a watch that’s not one of these two brands, expect that it will lose value as soon as you take it out of the store. So if you buy one that you’re not particularly excited about, expecting you’ll be able to turn around, sell it and make your money back, you’ll probably end up disappointed. That’s part of the reason that the watch business falls so sharply when the economy isn’t doing well.

The other issue is that watches are very expensive. Of course, price is always subject to the taste of the buyer, and the status that certain high-end watches bring is thought to be worth it. But compared to other valuables on the market, such as gold or diamonds, and you’ll find the pricing isn’t accurate or regulated. A watch’s price is set by the company that manufactured it, not by international demand, and they could be trying to create a sense of exclusivity. Of course, that won’t keep you from having to send that fancy watch in to if the battery dies. So just make sure that if you’re buying a high-end watch, you’re doing it because you must have it on your wrist, not because you expect to turn a profit.

Author bio: This is a guest article by Evan Fischer