Everyone loves a good luxury watch. It’s both a representation and measure of the one thing that we’re all obsessed with— time. We never have enough of it, as we’re always running to appointments, rushing to work, or trying to meet a deadline. With time being the essence of our daily lives, it’s only appropriate to invest in a good watch to keep you on track. An abundance of luxury pieces are on the market today, serving their purpose while also doubling as status symbols to many— and they have the price tags to match. Though expensive watches are made of exceptional quality, not all of them will maintain their value over the years to come. So if you’re going to make the investment in a high-end timepiece that will be worth more in the future, there are a few things you’ll have to look for while making your purchase.
For one, the timepiece should be made by a top luxury watch brand. While many of these labels have been established for decades, don’t forget about the new guys— some independent newcomers are giving big name brands a run for their money with complex watches that are of high quality. Second of all, the watch should be from a limited batch and special in some way. The fewer pieces made in a certain edition, the rarer— and therefore more expensive— it will be. It also helps if the limited edition watch was produced for a special event or landmark, giving it a special meaning due to a time in history. Finally, above all, the watch should be complex and of the highest craftsmanship.
We’ve seen several luxury timepieces whose values have soared in price since their release decades ago, but now that you’re in a position to acquire one of these beauties, how can you tell which of the newer models will be a smart investment? We’ll save you some time by filling you in on six luxury watches that we expect to appreciate over the next 10 or 20 years.
If you decide to actually take the plunge and invest in one of these modern timepieces, make sure to keep it in good shape. Hang on to the papers that certify the watch’s history when you attain it, and make sure you keep it in a box. Even though you’ll probably want to show off your timepiece and “get your money’s worth,” a watch's value actually decreases every time you wear it. Aside from the obvious exposure and wear and tear that comes with wearing it, the skin’s oils actually sink into the watch and make it less desirable. So be patient and know that by keeping your prized piece on the shelf, you’re increasing its chances of becoming more valuable— over time, of course.
Patek Philippe 5130P Mecca Edition World Timer Platinum
Inspired by the holy city of Mecca, this watch was released in 2011 with only 149 others of its kind. Displaying both World Time and 24 times zones, the Mecca Edition is different from the original 2008 World-Timer in that its emerald green center disc features the word "MECCA" instead of "MOSCOW." Specifically aimed at the Middle East, the last available Patek Philippe 5130P Mecca Edition World-Timer was priced at $73,593, and we expect the uniqueness of this watch to make it worth more in the future. Photo Courtesy of Patek Philippe
Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 Boutique New York
The next watch on our list comes from luxury watch brand Vacheron Constantin. The label released a collection a few years ago whose style mimicked the look of its products from the 1920s. Called the Historiques American 1921, a special version of the renewed timepiece was made for the brand’s flagship store on Madison Avenue. Only 64 ever made, the boutique model differs slightly from the standard in that it has large Arabic hour numerals and detailed hands— there’s even a heart hidden in the hour hand— that are coated in lume.
You might notice that the face is off-axis, and that’s because driving watches in the '20s were styled this way to make it easier to tell the time with your hands on the wheel. The 18k yellow gold case measures 40mm wide, and inside you’ll find Vacheron Constantin’s in-house made caliber 4400 manually wound movement, an update on the classic caliber 1400. Finished with a hand-stitched alligator strap, the Vacheron Constantin Historiques American 1921 Boutique New York watch is priced at $36,400, and with its unique look and scarcity, it could rise in value quickly. Photo Courtesy of Vacheron Constantin
Breguet Marine Platinum & Rose Gold
The Breguet Marine Platinum & Rose Gold watch is a truly limited piece: only seven exist in the whole world. Made in 2005, the Marine 5817 PR model is a mix of refinement and modern spirit, with a stunning pink gold frame case and platinum back. The 18 karat gold dial plate features a subtle wave pattern and is completed with delicate pink gold hands. This watch is so rare that one of the pieces sold for more than $138,000 at the 2005 Only Watch auction in Monaco, an event whose sales of one-of-a-kind or first-in-a-series watches benefit the United Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy Association. We expect the rarity of this model combined with its impeccable craftsmanship to increase its value even more over the years. Photo Courtesy of Breguet
A. Lange & Söhne Tourbograph “Pour le Mérite”
The Tourbograph “Pour le Mérite” watch by A. Lange & Sohne is without a double the most complex and exclusive wristwatch made by the label to date. Released in December 2005, it’s the world’s first one-minute tourbillon in wristwatch form and also features a fusée-and-chain transmission combined with chronograph and rattrapante functions. Featuring a solid silver dial, blue steel and gold-plated hands, and a 41 mm sapphire-crystal glass case, only 51 pieces of this model were ever made. Complete with a hand-stitched crocodile strap, this watch reflects the ultimate degree of precision watchmaking ingenuity, and is said to be priced between $500,000 and $525,000. Photo Courtesy of A. Lange & Söhne
F.P. Journé Vagabondage II
Though François-Paul Journe’s boutique is only 27 years old, the watchmaker’s roots in the industry go way back. Coming from a line of horologers, the French watchmaker was basically born to be in the business, and his Vagabondage II timepiece is solid proof of that. This watch features a digital display, which is proving to be popular in the modern watch world. Its smoked sapphire crystal dial gives you the ability to see the watch’s inner movements while not taking emphasis away from the time readouts. The model comes in a platinum version with white gold hands and an 18k rose gold style with rose gold hands. Its 37.5mm wide case is reasonably sized in a flat “tortue” style. As a limited edition, only 69 platinum pieces are available for $49,700 and 68 pieces in 18k rose gold are available for $47,900. Photo Courtesy of F.P. Journé
Richard Mille RM011 Ti Americas White Limited Edition
Another newcomer to the horology world is Richard Mille, whose brand made its initial release of products in 2001 to make a break from the past and go in a new direction of horology. In its short time on the market, the label has introduced new materials to watchmaking that came from the research and development of high-tech aeronautics and racing car industries. These qualities can be seen in the brand’s limited edition RM011 Ti Americas White watch that was made in honor of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada. Only 30 pieces of this model were ever made, and what makes it truly exclusive is that it is only available in the United States and Canada.
Its 40mm wide case is made from DLC (diamond like carbon) coated titanium that gives it strength and a resistance to scratches. The mechanical watch comes with a series of useful complications, including a 60-minute countdown timer, a 12-hour chronograph, an annual calendar with a big-date window and a numerical month display. The time is indicated with large hands that are tipped with lume filled arrows. It’s no wonder this complicated beauty is priced at $90,000, but considering its high-tech mechanics, event affiliation, limited count and scarcity outside of North America, we expect this watch to rise in value quickly. Photo Courtesy of Richard Mille
JustLuxe is a luxury Web publication providing objective analysis and information to affluent consumers to assist with their decision making, such as chartering a yacht, purchasing a jet membership card, booking a luxury hotel, traveling to a specific destination, or buying real estate. Our writers conduct interviews with industry executives and leaders in their fields, analyze product offerings and review the Web sites of leading companies to ensure our readers have up-to-date data to make informed decisions. Consumers can find purveyors of fine luxury goods, services and travel solutions throughout the pages of JustLuxe via content or with our advertising partners. See our Best of Luxury high-end brands and partners.