With pre-owned watches beating all other luxury assets like gold, vintage cars, and Bitcoin when it comes to investing, those with market knowledge are taking note that JamesEdition lists a comprehensive range of Rolexes, including Cosmograph Daytonas, Datejusts, Day-Dates, Sky-Dwellers, and GMT-Master IIs.
The growing interest in high-end timepieces experienced an unprecedented surge during the pandemic, arguably because the lockdowns left people with less to spend their money on and more disposable cash. This trend shows no sign of slowing.
Speaking about future returns, Deloitte’s Swiss Watch Industry Study reports that the pre-owned market size will continue to grow, reaching nearly CHF 35 billion by 2030, up from CHF 20 billion in 2022. Investment-savvy millennials and Generation Zers are leading the charge. Why? They’re more comfortable purchasing second-hand goods online and place greater emphasis on sustainability.
With that in mind, Deloitte expects more brands to launch pre-owned sales channels, as they focus on capturing more of the market and buying back stock to manage supply. Taking these factors into account, its unsurprising luxury watches are viewed as first-rate investment opportunities, and that looks set to continue, particularly among younger demographics.
Five of the most valuable Rolexes you can buy right now
The Subdial Index comprises the “50 most traded models on the pre-owned market, accounting for over 20% of total spend globally”. At the time of writing, the top 12 watches are Rolexes; overall, the collectible brand makes up 88% of the index. Below, we take a look at five of the most investment-friendly models.
Created in 1945, this is one of the brand’s most recognizable models and was the first self-winding waterproof chronometer wristwatch to show the date in a small rectangular window at the three o’clock mark. Back when it was launched, the Rolex Datejust was only available in 18-karat yellow gold and came with a five-piece link Jubilee bracelet. Today, well-heeled investors have a host of colors, finishes, and materials to mull over, including diamond-set and mother-of-pearl dials, plus Jubilee, Oyster, and President bracelets.
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona
Those with a penchant for driving and speed should look no further than the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, a variant of which Paul Newman wore on his wrist. Released in 1963, the mechanical hand-wound chronograph watch was designed to meet the demands of professional racers, and it’s been linked with the high-performance world of motorsports ever since. Later series introduced a self-winding movement, as well as a tachymetric scale, a sweep seconds hand for reading to an eighth of a second, and elapsed-time hours and minutes displays.
People were drawn to the Rolex Day-Date when it was introduced in 1956. Why? The model was the first self-winding waterproof chronometer wristwatch to display the date as well as the day of the week, spelled in full – an impressive technical feat back then. Fast forward to 2022, and high-net-worth individuals (alongside a host of world leaders) are attracted to additional features that have since been added, including days of the week available in 26 languages and the enhanced President bracelet that’s only available in precious metal – gold or platinum.
This elegant watch is for frequent travelers: It simultaneously shows the time in two zones, and has a revolutionary annual calendar named Saros that automatically differentiates between 30- and 31-day months. Moreover, the dial boasts a Chromalight display that improves visibility in dark settings like overnight flights, emitting a long-lasting blue glow. Meanwhile, the Oyster case is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 100 meters. Later versions of the Rolex Sky-Dweller offer an Oysterflex bracelet and the uber-precise caliber 9001 movement.
Rolex GMT-Master II
Worn by celebrities like Brad Pitt, Ellen DeGeneres, and Sylvester Stallone, the Rolex GMT-Master II was unveiled in 1982 – the sequel to the GMT-Master – and is known for its robustness and versatility. This stylish watch also simultaneously displays the time in two zones, and the bezel comes in an array of colors, from blue and red (coined Pepsi) to blue and black (nicknamed Batman). The waterproof Oyster case offers optimum protection, while the caliber 3285 self-winding mechanical movement means wearers benefit from outstanding performance in terms of precision, power reserve, and reliability.