In the last few years, watch collecting has come into the mainstream, possibly driven by the pandemic with more people at home searching the internet for new interests. It could also be an outlet for unused money that would have otherwise been spent on new clothes, going out, or travelling.
The global watch market (luxury and non-luxury) was valued at 61 billion USD in 2020 and is projected to grow at an annual rate of four per cent each year (Mordor Intelligence, 2021). According to The Deloitte Swiss Watch Industry Study 2021, a large portion of the growth is expected to come from second-hand luxury timepieces. (The term “timepieces” is more commonly used when referring to luxury watches valued above $5,000.)
Second-hand luxury timepieces are attractive to buyers of all ages, genders, and income levels for two reasons. One, it allows them to own hard-to-find, envy-inducing, or otherwise known as — “grail-pieces.” The second reason buyers are interested in second-hand luxury timepieces is that some can be held as assets with the expectation of an increase in value over time.
Is It For You?
The minimum requirements to start watch collecting is liking watches and owning more than one watch. A watch does not need to have a minimum or maximum value. It could be one that’s worn by celebrities and written about on GQ’s Watches of the Week or “vlogged” about as on Bark & Jack. The watch could be something that caught your attention because of its unique style and design, such as the Hamilton Ventura.
You also need to know relevant terms like automatic, manual, quartz, lug-to-lug, bezel, crystal, dial, and tourbillon. Watch collector, blogger and YouTuber Teddy Baldassarre has a good crash course video on watch collecting terminology.
Where To Get Started?
Anywhere is the quick answer to that question. If you currently own more than one watch, you’re already in the game. The question, “What should be my next watch?” follows. There is no quick answer to that question. You’ll have to consider if it should be a diver, pilot, chronograph, dress, field, second-hand, vintage or beater. Of course, the next obvious question concerns budget: how much are you comfortable spending on this purchase?
Watch collecting does have its rabbit-holes and pitfalls, so it’s important to be thoughtful about your purchases. Danny Milton of Hodinkee recently wrote a great article about the stages of a relationship with a watch. Remember, the first and most important rule in watch collecting is “you only need to like the watch.”
Nigel Shane | Contributing Writer