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Are watches really a good investment?
We use cold hard data to answer this frequently asked question. The results might surprise you.
As enthusiasts, we may be hesitant to think of luxury watches as investments. The conventional wisdom is, "buy a watch because you like it, not because you expect it to increase in value."
But what if you could have your cake and eat it too? Are there attainable timepieces out there that you could wear and enjoy every day, yet still provide a solid store of value or better yet, increase in value?
To answer this question, we've analyzed more than 20,000 watches from nearly 100 brands, using data from over 4 million watch sales around the world. Here's what we've found.
Most watches are a solid store of value
Among 1,900 watches for which we have at least five years of secondary market historical prices, the average annualized rate of return is 1.7%. The best performing watch yielded an annualized return of +34%, while the worst performing watch yielded -22%.
This means that most watches, while not necessarily investment-worthy, will tend to hold their value well over the long-term when bought and sold on the secondary market.
However, that doesn't mean that most watches are worth considering as an investment. In fact...
Only 1% of watches are investment-worthy
How do we define "investment-worthy"? A simple definition could be that the must watch yield an annualized return of 10% or more - which is the average rate of return of the S&P 500 over the past 90 years.
Of the 20,000+ watches we track on the secondary market, less than 300 have yielded at least 10% per year over the past three years.
As you might expect, nearly half of these watches are produced by Rolex. Other top brands include Omega, Seiko, Tudor, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet.
The average market price of an investment-worthy watch is $14,200. However, a watch doesn't need to be expensive to increase in value. One of the top performing watches that we track, the Seiko SARB033, has yielded nearly 20% annually over the past three years yet trades for just $600.
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