Investing in watches in 2023 may be the best investment you can make to protect yourself from inflation. However, before you invest in luxury watches, you should be aware of all the elements that go into estimating the value of a watch.
In this article:
- Why invest in a watch
- What type of watch to invest in
- Which watch brand to invest in
- What is the tax treatment of an investment in watches?
- FAQ’s about investing in watches
Why invest in a watch ?
For each investment, you should be looking for the best possible return, watches offer a more than interesting return:
Two of Rolex’s most popular models: the Daytona and the Submariner have seen their values appreciate by an average of 35% over the past five years.
Investing in a luxury watch is the guarantee of a long-term profitable investment.
If you’re wondering (and rightly so) why these watch brands are steadily increasing in value, it has to do with the state of the luxury watch market: high-end, first-hand watches are virtually unobtainable (unless you’re a celebrity, a well-known collector, or a very wealthy customer).
The demand is such that the majority of investors are turning to the secondary market of watches: that is to say, second-hand watches! Most of the watches bought and sold throughout the world are second hand watches that were manufactured, for the most part, several decades ago.
Do luxury watches increase in value
Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet or Omega, all high-end Swiss watch brands offer models with impressive returns on investment.
Over 10 years, here is the price evolution for these watch models:
- Rolex Submariner
- Patek Philippe Nautilus
- Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
- Omega Seamaster
What type of watch to invest in ?
We have seen that watches appreciate over the years and can generate nice capital gains on resale.
However, you should know that this is not true for all types of watches.
When we talk about watch and investment we talk about luxury watch and therefore … of
To invest in a watch you must select a luxury watchmaker, reputable, and in 90% of cases, it will be Swiss.
It is this type of watch that will allow you to make the best investments and increase your chances of seeing the price of your watch appreciate.
What type of watch to invest in ?
Are all Swiss watch companies the same? Unfortunately not.
While Switzerland is the undisputed leader in the luxury watch market, not all manufacturers are equal.
The most famous Swiss watch manufacturers, creating the most interesting models from an investment point of view are :
- Audemars Piguet
- Patek Philippe
- Richard Mille
Who doesn’t know Rolex? It is probably the first brand of luxury watches
that comes to mind when you think of watchmaking.
Rolex watches are world-famous, and this goes far beyond the fans of vintage watches.
Rolex succeeds in producing a very high number of watches each year (about 800,000 models per year) while maintaining a high quality and high prices.
This is a rather rare fact in the luxury watch industry, constituting an undeniable advantage over their competitors who allow themselves to sell at a very high price, highlighting the fact that the supply is much lower than the demand.
The most famous Rolex models:
- Rolex Datejust
- Rolex Daytona
- Rolex Submariner
- Rolex GMT
Find out which Rolex to invest in in 2023
Although the Swiss luxury watch brand Audemars Piguet produces far fewer models than its competitor Rolex, it can still take comfort in the fact that the price of its models is exploding year after year.
The Royal Oak by Audemars Piguet is simply the best investment you could have made in a watch over the last 3 years: with a price averaging around 40,000 euros in 2022 while it cost “only” 12,000 euros in
average in 2019.
With 50,000 pieces produced per year, investing in an Audemars Piguet watch is the guarantee of investing in a rare luxury watch, with a value that will be greatly influenced by a demand that always exceeds supply.
Please note that this low production (compared to Rolex) is absolutely not intended: the materials, the precision and the manpower required by Audemars Piguet do not allow them to produce more models each year.
With Patek Philippe, we enter yet another dimension of luxury watchmaking. Indeed, Patek Philippe Swiss watches are among the most expensive on the market.
For the most popular and requested models on the market: Nautilus, Calatrava or
Aquanaut prices range from 15,000 euros to 170,000 euros on average.
If you are looking for more high-end models, the Complications and Grandes Complications collections will offer you watches with prices starting at 140,000 euros and reaching several million euros.
More “modest” series offer watches around 10,000 euros, we can mention Ellipse d’or or
It is difficult to list the most interesting models of Omega as the collections offered by the luxury watchmaker are so numerous!
Of course, the Speedmaster comes naturally to mind: it was with the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch model that the first American astronauts stepped on the moon in 1969, no less.
Apart from the Speedmaster, we can mention as models :
- Omega Seamaster
- Omega Globemaster
Omgea De Ville
- Omega Constellation
Omega’s watches are distinguished above all by a feature that is unique to them: a Co-Axial escapement that provides excellent resistance to shocks.
Which watch to invest in in 2023?
Investing in collector’s watches, as for any classic investment, will be inherent to your profitability objectives and especially to your budget.
To make it simple, here is a list of watches in which it is most interesting to invest (we have added the associated price range so that you are not too disappointed).
Rolex GMT Master-2 “Batman
Totally unavailable in stores, unless you are willing to wait several years, this Batman edition from Rolex can be found on the secondary market from 13,500 euros on average.
Omega Speedmaster “Moonwatch
We talked about it before: the Speedmaster is the reference of astronaut watches. The most affordable Moonwatches (the New Moonwatches) will be available for 6,000 euros.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
Regardless of the model, a Royal Oak is bound to be an excellent investment in 2023. However, to acquire a model from this collection you will need to spend at least €25,000.
Patek Philippe Nautilus
Overall, all Patek Philippe watches are in demand and coveted.
If the most famous watches of this Swiss brand are the Aquanaut and the Nautilus, it is the latter that will have the most interesting profitability for an investor.
To afford a Patek Philippe Nautilus, you’ll have to spend more money: at least 90,000 euros.
The taxation of investment in watches in Europe
All collector’s watches that you buy are taxable, except if you do not realize a capital gain or if the value of the watch is less than 5 000 euros.
If your collector’s watch has a value of more than 5000 euros, you have 2 possibilities concerning the taxation.
It will be up to you to determine which one will be the most favorable.
Common law taxation
This is the simplest tax regime for investment watches, you are taxed at 36.2% (19% income tax + 17.2% CSG CRDS)
This type of taxation is relative to the watch and its value, it breaks down as follows:
- 6.5% for watches considered/assimilated to works of art
- 10.5% for watches treated as precious metals (mainly platinum, gold, silver and palladium).
What about VAT?
Each purchase made in France, even for a watch, is subject to a value added tax (VAT) of 20%.
If we talk about VAT it is because it can be interesting to avoid it (legally) by buying your watch abroad. However, when you return to France you will have to declare the watch and pay the famous 20% VAT.
FAQ's about investing in watches
Which watches are gaining in value?
Swiss watch brands manufacture and market the most interesting collection of watches for investment. Remember these brands: Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Omega, Richard Mille.
How to invest in a watch?
Investing in vintage watches is primarily done on the secondary market: that is, it is not a direct transaction with the brand in question. It is difficult or very time consuming to get a new watch from a store.
Investing in a luxury watch?
Investing in a luxury watch can be done in a boutique specialized in the purchase-resale or from individual to individual. To do so, you can either make the transaction in person or solicit a specialized marketplace, directly on the Internet, which will take a commission on the sale of the watch.
How to invest in a Rolex?
Investing in a Rolex is similar to investing in any other luxury watch brand. You need to pay attention to the model, its year of production, its general condition as well as the presence (or not) of the sales box.
Investing in watches, especially luxury and collectible ones, may seem very complicated at first sight and this is understandable! A substantial budget and a minimum of technical knowledge are necessary to be sure of a successful investment. However, by taking the time to learn about the different models and collections, you can easily find pieces that will appreciate over time and make your investment in watches a success!
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