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Luxury watches: Are Rolex and Co. gaining in value again on the secondary market?

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Luxury watches: Are Rolex and Co. gaining in value again on the secondary market?

Luxury watches have become a popular investment in recent years. Isabel Infantes/picture alliance

According to an analysis by Chrono24, prices for luxury watches on the secondary market fell by 19 percent last year. This year the loss in value was only 2.8 percent compared to the previous year.

Even though price levels remain low, the ChronoPulse watch index has recorded a moderate price increase over the past four weeks.

Nevertheless, a general trend reversal is not yet foreseeable, says Balazs Ferenczi, Head of Content at Chrono24,

Status symbol and investment in one: luxury watches have seemed to be an extremely profitable investment in recent years. Aside from their prestige for suit wearers, many watches experienced enormous increases in value on the used market. But then the tide turned. In February 2023, prices for watches on the secondary market collapsed by around 19 percent compared to the previous year. This was the result of an analysis by Chrono24.

The enormous loss in value of brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piquet did not continue in 2024, according to the results, but the price level remains low. Nevertheless, there has been a moderate price increase in the past four weeks. Does this mean a trend reversal?

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While the prices of the relevant watch manufacturers fell by almost a fifth between February 2022 and February 2023, the increase in value this year was only 2.8 percent. In the past four weeks, prices even rose slightly on average. These values ​​are based on the ChronoPulse watch index. This was developed by Chrono24, an online retailer for luxury watches, and is based on real sales figures on the secondary market.

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Between 2019 and 2022 there were enormous increases in value in the luxury watch segment. ChronoPulse

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Luxury watches and the secondary market

Why secondary market? This may not come naturally to people who have never purchased a luxury watch before. Watches from Rolex and other luxury brands are not only expensive, but also literally exclusive. As the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung(FAZ) reported that this was the result of targeted control by the manufacturers. According to estimates, Rolex produces around a million watches per year. Some models only sell a few hundred copies. In addition, delivery bottlenecks can cause additional shortages.

This often results in long waiting times for primary dealers. These drive buyers to the used market, where significantly higher prices are sometimes charged due to the low supply. The prices on the secondary market are therefore considered an indicator of performance. According to “FAZ”, interest in luxury watches has increased significantly during the pandemic, as has the number of transactions on the used watch market.

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Watch index: Is a trend reversal coming?

In its watch index, Chrono24 looks at the ten watch models with the highest sales from the 14 manufacturers with the highest sales. In addition to Rolex and Patek Philippe, this also includes brands such as Omega, Breitling and Cartier. It has been observed in recent months that the primary and secondary markets are closely related.

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Some brands, such as Omega, have recently increased their prices, explains Balazs Ferenczi in a press release. He is Head of Content at Chrono24. This could possibly explain why the number of transactions via Chrono24 is currently at an all-time high. After all, some watches on the secondary market are now significantly cheaper than those from the manufacturer. According to Ferenczi, one cannot yet speak of a general trend reversal on the secondary market.

UhrenmodellIncrease in valueBreitling Navitimer 806+ 49.74 percentTAG Heuer Carrera Caliber Heuer 02 CBN2011.BA0642+ 23.17 percentJaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Duoface Q3848422+ 22.96 percentHublot Evolution – 301.SB.131.RX+ 19.93 percentCartier Panthere 1070+ 19.45 percent Cartier Santos Galbee 187901+ 17.56 percentage Seiko Seiko Seiko Sbga407+ 16.73 percentage BIG Bang 301.SM 1770.RX+ 16.4 percent width Navitimer A23322+ 14.45 percent though, according to the Chronopulse, have gained the most value last year (as of February 23, 2024).

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According to the trading platform, one model in particular was responsible for the positive development: the Rolex GMT Master II. The luxury watch with the blue-red bezel, which earned it the nickname “Pepsi”, is currently much less common for sale than it was a few months ago.

In the past three months, the supply has shrunk by 35 percent, according to Chrono24 – at the same time the price has increased by 7.86 percent. The main reason for the shortage is delivery difficulties. You now pay around 10,000 euros on top of the new price: a “Pepsi” built in 2023 or 2024 currently costs just under 21,000 euros, according to the online retailer.

Growth has recently also been observed in other brands. According to the ChronoPulse watch index, nine of the 14 manufacturers examined have recorded an increase in value in the past four weeks.

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