a pessimistic expectation of the future is meandering around all media, propelled by polemic and reactive parties, militant groups and countries, nationalism grows and has its first negative results around the globe.
Banks are busy keeping their business secure avoiding any risk, leaving small businesses without the temporary support they need to grow along their customers demand. Together with the zero interest politics of the federal banks, inflation eats everyones hard earned money and only low percentage is available by investing in risky papers.
Dealers, Agents of any kind are already speculating with tangible products and pushing the limits of value of them, watches being one of them.
Watches in focus are of the large brands, ROLEX, Patek Philippe, Breguet, Jaeger LeCoultre, Cartier, IWC, …
But what’s it worth? At the downturn peak of the watch-industry, where large brands are desperately buying back wholesale stocks in Asia and creating steel-based low-end variants of their simpler models or the ones with high interest, but low demand due to its higher investment required for such Gold, Platinum model.
Today watches have no practical use value, many of the seeked models are produced in high 5-6 figure numbers, rarity is a term just not applicable to these industrially produced products. It has only temporary character as to the hype created by the history-telling of individual vintage watches and their owners applied to the whole family of newly high quantity produced variations of these.
Independent Horologists of the AHCI group and others play their game of exclusivity producing tens and hundreds of watches a year at high premium, creating one or more new models a year. This arrogance playing their customers as cash-heavy fools that believe in that spirit of the single watchmaker building their watch is incredible. How do these people think this watchmaker jumping around between many shows, interviews and high-profile customer visits has time to build any more than 5 watches of the same kind a year, rather then inventing one or two new movements and multiple models a year?
These are lower quantity industrial products, too, served by a shadow industry of highly skilled CNC machine Operators and specialists supplying relevant parts, ebauches if not complete “branded” movements to these brands of independents. Sure, they still have very rare few unicorn models, but again, overpriced and not entirely created by THE WATCHMAKER, but an industrial process. Even famed small watchmakers, like Philippe Dufour and Roger Smith do small batch productions – inhouse with a small team, but, it’s just NOT created by a single watchmaker, while his apprentice works on a separate creation.
What remains? What’s the value? Is it an investment?
Rarity is NOT a cashable value. Demand is.
Demand is driven by Hype or Need. There’s no tangible practical need, for some there is a need for status representation, for others a romantic drive. Hype fuels the two later. Rarity is the result of higher Demand than availability and mirrors into price for the watch.
They say buy the watch you love, that inspires you. Well, you’re bombarded by Marketing inspirations until you can hardly differentiate what is what.
They say buy this watch it’ll increase value. Well, actually the hype by the social marketing for higher status ranking continuously supports that guidance and drives you to buy high valued products that have no practical or tangible value.
If you want to invest: Stay cold blooded, analyse the defective market of demand and the faulty ambitions of the customers of the future and chose wisely the product that might be successful in the future, make worst and best case calculations and compare them with other investment models. NO, you won’t wear that watch, it’ll depreciate value by doing so. Don’t get fooled, these products will have to go into a Bank Safe or similar for the next 10, 20, 50 years!
If you want to invest to have stable values in bad times? Don’t get fooled, a watch is worth what people will pay for it in the context of that day you place the offer. Who needs a Rolex in War-time, when you’re begging for food? At best it’s 10 times lower valued as you paid for. You have to stretch yourself with all your valuable belongings into a space that’s much more comfortable giving it the status-value it originally had. By then you flew over oceans, walked continents, miss family members. Still you won’t get your money back. Be lucky with 70%. Sure other brands are valued lower quiet often. The bad times currency is Gold, still, even in times of Bitcoin.
The below approaches do not ensure good investment, any monetary success is occasional at best:
If you love haute horology: Understand what the watchmaker is doing for you, what’s the personal relationship he is building with you.
If you love horology Art: Understand the watchmaker’s artistic biography, inspirations and message and how these relate to your biography. Watch Art never had the prestige of sculptural Art or paintings. So it is a choice about and for you. A means of expression for the Artist and Yourself.
If you love the product, a watch: Well, Your taste matters, your biography and if you can fund it chose what makes You happy, that’s what it is for.
- Is it Business? Do your research and make a cold calculated choice
- Is it Love? Be sure to make You or Her/Him happy
- Is it Status? Work on Your personality instead
- Do you fear the Future? Do something against and be positive.
- Less is more.
- Express more than you consume