Top 10 Most Investable Luxury Watches

Close up of a gold watch face with the time set at ten past tenImage © Sotheby’s / 2499 © Patek Philippe 1957
Louis Denizet

Louis Denizet, Specialist[email protected]

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Watches have long been a symbol of luxury and prestige, but they are more than just a fashion accessory. In recent years, luxury watches have emerged as a viable investment option in the luxury investment assets, with many collectors and investors seeing them as a way to diversify their portfolios and generate returns. In fact, according to a report by Knight Frank, investment-grade watches outperformed other asset classes, such as classic cars, wine, and art, over the last decade.

As the market for luxury watches continues to grow, it can be challenging to navigate and determine which models are worth investing in. We have compiled a list of the top 10 most investable luxury watches to help you navigate this lucrative passion asset market. These watches are not only beautiful and well-crafted but have also proven to hold their value over time and even appreciate in value. Our list includes iconic timepieces from brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet, with a wide range of styles and price points to suit different investment strategies. Whether you are a seasoned collector or just starting, this guide will provide you with valuable insights into the world of luxury watch investment.

Here are the top 10 most investable luxury watches:

A Rolex Daytona, first launched in 1963. Set against a white background, the watch has a gold metal strap and a white face with three subdials.Image © Alesili, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Daytona © Rolex, 1963

Rolex Daytona

The Rolex Daytona is a classic and highly coveted watch that has been in production since 1963. This watch is known for its simple yet elegant design, which features a stainless steel case and bracelet, and a chronograph function. The latest models come in a variety of materials, including steel, gold, and platinum, and feature the iconic Rolex automatic movement. The Daytona's timeless design, reliable functionality, and high-quality construction make it a sought-after investment piece. The estimated market value for a stainless steel Rolex Daytona can lie between around $20,000 – $120,965, while a rare model like the Paul Newman can fetch millions.

A Patek Philippe Nautilus, first launched in 1976. The image is a close up of the watch face, which is green and set within a silver metal setting.Image © Patek Philippe / Nautilus © Patek Philippe, 1976

Patek Philippe Nautilus

The Patek Philippe Nautilus is a highly coveted luxury timepiece and has gained a reputation as an investable watch over the years. With its iconic design, exceptional craftsmanship, and limited production, it has become a symbol of status and sophistication for collectors worldwide. The demand for the Nautilus has only increased in recent years, leading to impressive auction results. In 2021, a rare Patek Philippe Nautilus with Tiffany Blue Dial Sold For A Record-Breaking $6.5 Million, showing the immense value placed on this model.

According to renowned watch expert, Robert-Jan Broer, “The Patek Philippe Nautilus is a true icon and has become one of the most sought-after watches in the world. Its timeless design and high-quality construction make it a great investment opportunity.” Indeed, the Nautilus has proven to hold its value well over time, with some models experiencing significant appreciation in value. For instance, a Nautilus 5711 purchased in 2010 for around $25,000 can now fetch upwards of $100,000 at auction.

An Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, first launched in 1972. The watch has a silver metal strap and setting, with a black face.Image © section215, via Flickr, CC BY 2.0 / Royal Oak © Audemars Piguet, 1972

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is a watch that revolutionized the industry when it was introduced in 1972. The watch was designed by Gérald Genta, whose Audemars Piguet Royal Oak sold for $2.1 Million. The Royal Oak features an octagonal bezel with eight visible screws and a textured ‘tapisserie’ dial, giving it a distinctive look that sets it apart from other luxury watches. The case and bracelet are made of high-quality materials, such as stainless steel, gold, and platinum, which contribute to the watch's durability and longevity.

Its estimated market value can range from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the model and condition. The Royal Oak is highly coveted by collectors and enthusiasts due to its exceptional craftsmanship, unique design, and limited availability, making it an excellent investment for anyone interested in luxury watches.

A black Omega Speedmaster, 1957. Set against a rocky background, the watch strap and setting is silver metal with a black face and three subdials.Image © HT Tech / Omega © Speedmaster, 1957

Omega Speedmaster

The Omega Speedmaster has a timeless design that has remained largely unchanged since its introduction in 1957. Known as the ‘Moonwatch’ for its use on NASA's Apollo missions, this iconic watch features a classic black dial with white Arabic numerals and hands. Its manual-winding chronograph movement is housed in a stainless steel case, and the watch has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal.

The Speedmaster has an estimated market value of $5,000-$10,000, making it a valuable investment for any watch collector. Its historical significance and iconic design have helped it maintain a high resale value over the years, and its durability and precision make it a reliable timepiece worth investing in.

A gold Cartier Tank Française places on a green velvet fabric, first introduced in 1917.Image © Hodinkee / Tank Française © Cartier, 1917

Cartier Tank

First introduced in 1917, the Cartier Tank is a timeless classic that has become an icon in the watchmaking industry. Its unique design features a rectangular case, bold Roman numerals, and a signature blue sapphire cabochon crown.

The Tank has been worn by some of history's most influential figures, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, whose Cartier Tank sold for nearly $380,000, and Princess Diana. Its estimated market value is between $3,000-$15,000, depending on the model and condition. Its luxury brand reputation, impeccable craftsmanship, and celebrity association have helped it maintain a high resale value over the years, making it a solid investment for any watch collector.

A Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso (Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185), first launched in 1931. The watch face is opened to reveal the mechanics of the watch.Image © Monochrome Watches / Reverso (Hybris Mechanica Calibre 185) © Jaeger-LeCoultre, 1953

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso was first introduced in 1931 and is known for its unique reversible case. The watch was designed for polo players, allowing them to flip the watch face over to protect it during matches. Its Art Deco-inspired design features a rectangular case, bold Arabic numerals, and a small seconds subdial. Its estimated market value is between $3,000-$10,000, depending on the model and condition.

The Reverso's unique design, exceptional craftsmanship, and association with the sport of polo have helped it maintain a high resale value over the years, making it a great investment for any watch collector.

A Breitling Navitimer, originally designed in 1952.Image © Torsten Bolten, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons / Navitimer © Breitling, 1952

Breitling Navitimer

The Breitling Navitimer is a legendary pilot's watch, originally designed in 1952, that has become an iconic timepiece over the years. It's a chronograph watch that features a slide-rule bezel, allowing pilots to make complex calculations and conversions in-flight. The watch is powered by a self-winding mechanical movement, and its dial is adorned with various complications, including a tachymeter and a date display. The case and bracelet are made of stainless steel, while the crystal is sapphire.

The watch's estimated market value is around $6,000 to $8,000, making it a valuable and sought-after timepiece. Its reputation for reliability and precision, combined with its unique design features, make it a popular choice for collectors and investors.

A gold Hublot Big Bang Unico watch.Image © Johnson Watch via Flickr, Public Domain Work / Big Bang Unico © Hublot, 2005

Hublot Big Bang

The Hublot Big Bang is a modern, bold, and innovative luxury watch that has gained popularity in recent years. It's made with a mix of materials, including ceramic, titanium, and gold, and its dial features a skeleton design that exposes its intricate inner workings. The watch is powered by an automatic movement, and it features a chronograph function, as well as a date display.

The watch's estimated market value is around $15,000 to $20,000, reflecting its high-end craftsmanship and materials. The watch's bold design and technical innovations make it a unique and valuable investment opportunity.

An IWC Portugieser Chronograph with a burgundy dial, first launched in 1939.Image © European Watch Company / Portugieser Chronograph © IWC, 1939

IWC Portugieser

The IWC Portugieser is a classic and sophisticated dress watch that has a timeless appeal. Its design is inspired by the nautical chronometers of the 1930s, and it features a clean and minimalist dial with Arabic numerals and a small seconds sub-dial.

The watch is powered by an automatic movement, and it features a power reserve of up to 7 days. The case and bracelet are made of stainless steel, while the crystal is sapphire. The watch's estimated market value is around $7,000 to $10,000, making it a valuable investment opportunity.

A black and white Rolex Submariner against a dark background, first launched in 1954.Image © Mark Mathosian via Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 / Submariner © Rolex, 1954

Rolex Submariner

Rolex Submariner is one of the most iconic luxury watches ever created. Known for its classic design, high-quality materials, and exceptional durability, the Submariner is an investment-grade timepiece that has stood the test of time. The watch features a stainless steel case, rotating bezel, and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, which all add to its rugged yet stylish aesthetic. It is also waterproof up to a depth of 300 meters, making it a popular choice for divers and water enthusiasts.

The Submariner has a rich and interesting history, having been first introduced in 1954 as a watch for divers. It quickly gained popularity among the general public due to its sleek design and precision engineering. Today, the Submariner is still one of the most coveted Rolex models, with many collectors and enthusiasts seeking to add one to their collection. Due to its popularity and demand, the Submariner has a high resale value, making it an excellent investment opportunity. A pre-owned Submariner can fetch anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000, depending on its condition, age, and rarity.

A 2009 F. P. Journe, the Chronometre Bleu against a printed fabric background.Image © Chrono24 / Chronometre Bleu © F. P. Journe 2009

The luxury watch market offers investors an exciting and diverse range of options for portfolio diversification. From classic and timeless designs to cutting-edge technology, these watches represent a fusion of style, history, and innovation that continues to captivate collectors and investors alike.

As Nick Gould, the founder of Subdial, puts it, “Watches are one of the few investment vehicles where you can appreciate them while they appreciate in value.”

While investing in luxury watches does come with risks, such as market volatility and authenticity concerns, the potential for high returns and the emotional and cultural significance of these timepieces make them a compelling investment option. By doing thorough research, working with reputable dealers, and diversifying their portfolios, investors can explore the exciting world of luxury watch investing. As with any alternative investment, the key is to strike a balance between potential rewards and manageable risks.

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