Watch Models with the Highest Potential Resale Value

The prime reason for buying a luxury watch should be the pleasure that object and its operation offers. But if you’re keen to make sure your purchase has the highest potential resale value, there are a couple of things to bear in mind when choosing which timepiece to buy.

Buy from a Company that will be Around in Decades to Come

Buy something from an extant, booming company that will be around in decades, even generations. This is so that when your buyer comes to have their watch serviced, they’ll be able to revitalize the piece.

Highest Potential Resale Value
Image Courtesy of Vacheron Constantin

This train of thought leads us back to the usual offenders: Vacheron Constantin, Rolex, and Patek Philippe.

More affordable luxury watches that boast either an excellent heritage (which imbues each piece with context – a huge plus for gaining the highest potential resale value), or independence are also viable options: Think Omega or Tudor for the former, or a brand like NOMOS Glashütte for the second.

Don’t be Afraid to Spend a Lot of Money

And don’t be afraid to spend a lot of money in the first instance. You want something that is, in some way, limited in production and relatively highly priced. Yes, we all dream of hitting on the AIM, but how often does it happen? Furthermore, low stakes return low rakes.

Highest Potential Resale Value
Image Courtesy of Zenith

Of course, if you’re looking for a bit of excitement along the way, why not treat yourself to something of undeniable quality that boasts more exclusivity and discernment than the run-of-the-mill Submariner?

Zenith’s El Primero

No fan of watches would ever turn their nose up at Zenith’s superb El Primero movement. It’s a classic, and a beautiful work of art to boot. The only question is which model to buy?

The El Primero is used frequently, but in this author’s humble opinion, to no greater effect than the recent special edition produced for Timeless Luxury in Texas.

The traditional case size, blued hands, and ivory sunburst dial are a thing of beauty. By far and a way the most elegant modern El Primero chronograph I’ve seen, and a steal at just $7,500.

Rolex – The King of Pre-Loved Watches

Crucially though, Rolex is the king of pre-loved watches. But within that brand it’s worth noting that it’s the sporty models that do well – almost certainly because it is this persona around which Rolex built their brand.

Look for ‘classic’ work horse designs when they hit the market, and pull the trigger as soon as you can. The blue/black Rolex GMT is a peach, the Explorer range is primed for eternal adventure, the Submariner is the easiest purchase you’ll ever make, however hard it may be to part with what will surely become a beloved beater…

They are bread and butter watches, yes, but far more likely to appreciate than the more extravagant and less versatile Cellini or Yachtmaster rangers.

Highest Potential Resale Value
Image Courtesy of Rolex

Steer clear of crazy colors or empty special models. If you can rely on the heritage and quality, you don’t want to be sunk by picking a ‘grape’ colored dial, only to realize nobody in 2055 knows what a grape is thanks to global famine…

Fell’s Top Picks

In light of these arguments, my top picks for potential appreciation are:

  1. Zenith Chronomaster Heritage for Timeless Luxury ($7,500)
  2. Rolex GMT-Master II (around $9,000)
  3. Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Ultra thin Calibre 1731 (around $350,000)

It’s unlikely you’ll even double your investment, but if you want to give yourself the best chance of gaining the highest potential resale value, put your cash and confidence in the brands that are here to stay and have proven through the years to perform under market pressure.

Related Blogs

Collecting Watches as an Investment

Are Patek Philippe Watches a Good Investment?

Spotting Fake Patek Phillipe Watches

About the Author:

Jack is a freelance writer that focuses on luxury asset trends for Borro Private Finance.