With watch prices exploding over the last 5-7 years, watches have become a traded commodity with prices fluctuating per model similar to individual stocks on the stock market. This newfound passion for watches and watch trading captured the attention of millions with watch pages on social media platforms gaining tens of thousands of followers and millions of monthly views. It also captured the attention of mainstream media and the likes of hedge funds like Morgan Stanley who are now closely monitoring and charting out and analyzing watch prices and price trends. This article series aims to answer the question: is there really a watch market crash, or is it just a correction?
Given the recent turbulence the watch market is experiencing it’s hard to accurately know what is the true market value of a watch and how the prices of watches have evolved over time. While resources like Chrono24 or Watch Charts are helpful guides, these sites simply aggregate online listings of models. So while the true market price for a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980 in rose gold may be $235,000, a dealer or multiple dealers may be listing it for $350,000 and completely skew the advertised market price calculated by online listing aggregators.
Why Watch Price Lists from Aggregators Do Not Reflect Actual Market Pricing
This happens for a number of reasons. Firstly, be it watch dealers or private individuals, people selfishly want to sell their watches for the highest possible price which makes total sense. Simply put, why would any person want to leave money on the table if there is an opportunity to potentially net more profit? Secondly, some listings may be old listings.
Watches may sit in a watch dealer’s inventory or a private individual’s collection and be listed online for sale at prices that no longer reflect their true market value. Take the example above of the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5980 in rose gold . While the current market price today is around the $235,000 mark for a brand new example, the market price back in March of 2022 was around the $350,000 mark. Now was the watch selling at this price?
Actually, yes it was. Our very own Petty King and Head Buyer at Luxury Bazaar Adrian Taskin sold one for $350,000 at the peak of the market. So the point is the 5980 in rose gold listed for sale for $350,000 online may simply be an old listing and doesn’t accurately reflect the current market value of the watch. This inevitably skews the market price analysis performed by listing aggregators. An individual or dealer may also post a listing for a watch and may not even have one in stock and simply has access to one. Again this will pretty dramatically skew the average market price advertised by listing aggregators as such listings are typically posted for much higher prices than the watch’s fair market value.
The turbulent watch prices have been made even more confusing and alarming by mainstream media outlets, hedge funds and watch sites who will have people believing the watch market is collapsing before our very eyes. This is due to the fact that these outlets will often only analyze watch prices over a matter of a few months or a few quarters and act as though this is the norm that watch prices have experienced over a much longer period of time.
Is there a Luxury Watch Market Crash or Just a Correction?
The truth is the watch market – like any other asset market currently – is experiencing a correction. Granted, in any given year, a watch just like a stock can be subject to price fluctuations. However, over time, watches have not only been proven to be a good store of value, but even have shown themselves to be fantastic potential investment vehicles with some models outperforming top indexes like the S&P500.
To show this, we will be going over popular models from four of the biggest and most popular watch brands in the world – Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet and Richard Mille – and sharing with all of you their price trends over time based on actual sales we as employees of Luxury Bazaar have sold these watches for. So this is not based on speculation, conjecture or averaging online watch listings but rather raw sales data of popular watch models.
Overall, the goal of this series is not to promote watches as investments but rather to showcase that the whole narrative surrounding the “watch market crash” is really not based in reality. Just like stocks or really any other asset, watch prices may be subject to cyclical price fluctuations. However, I believe these articles show that over a longer period of time with more data points and basing ourselves on actual sale prices of these models, watch prices trade in cyclical flows not unlike other assets and the so-called “watch market crash” is nothing more than a cyclical price correction. Over the last 6 years, whether you like it or not, watches have been proven to be a potentially lucrative alternative asset that in some cases outperforms the S&P500.
Crash or Correction: the Series
The first installment of our series is a deep dive into the biggest price adjustments of Patek Philippe.
Patek Philippe Watches Prices: Historical and Current From Actual Sales Numbers
The second installment of our series is looking into the actual price adjustments of Audemars Piguet Audemars Piguet Watch Prices: Historical and Current From Actual Sales Numbers
The third installment of the series goes into the most heralded brand, Rolex
Rolex Watch Prices: Historical and Current From Actual Sales Numbers
The fourth and final installment of the series goes into the newest yet “hottest” brand, Richard Mille.
Richard Mille Prices: Historical and Current From Actual Sales Numbers
Note: As always, here at Luxury Bazaar we would always caution you against the notion of investing in watches and instead opt to buy what you like. In the long run, whether your watch goes up or down in value will be irrelevant because you will actually get to enjoy your watches and wear what you like without worrying about their future value.