6 Luxury Watch Brands Worth Investing In
There is one accessory that has stayed firmly rooted in our wardrobes while other sectors of fashion morph and evolve at lightning speed: luxury watches. They’ve managed to skirt around trends, the smartphone boom, and fluctuating jewelry tastes without faltering. Whether it’s the glint of a dial, the subtle but comforting tick, or the way a certain chain strap feels across your wrist, there’s a reason why watches are collected, worn, and heralded as a smart investment.
Sure, watches may have wavered in terms of the most popular styles over time, yet they’ve never fallen into the trend cycle, where they’re cast into a spotlight for a year and disappear into the ether for another decade. If this isn’t a testament to their value, we’re not sure what is. Humans have been obsessed with tracking the time for centuries, with the wristwatch we know and love today becoming a fixture in our lives starting in the 1800s. Although their purpose is to tell the time, watches could essentially be the definition of the word “timeless.”
The right timepiece on your wrist not only holds up over the years, but the right purchase can even increase in worth. If you’ve started your adventure of exploring the top luxury watch brands to invest in, look no further. Below, we’ll cover the brands worth looking out for as you add to your collection.
1. Rolex Watches
Whether or not you’re familiar with watch brands, Rolex has cemented itself as a household name regardless. It’s a symbol of luxury and has proven time and time again that many of its watches only gain value. It depends on the make you select, but there is often a high demand for these accessories, variation aside. Rolex’s Daytona, Submariner, and Datejust models are a small sampling of models that have been proven to be optimal picks. At the end of the day, it comes down to quality, scarcity, and demand.
There are several features that make these timepieces stand out from others. These pieces have expertly crafted bodies, feature the watertight “Oyster” design, have been tested by the Superlative Control arm of the company for precision, and are powered by kinetic energy from the body that propels the watch. These details speak to the quality and difference Rolex aims to provide its wearers and collectors.
2. Patek Philippe Watches
As far as luxury watches go, Patek Philippe is fearless when it comes to opting out of minimalism. A clean dial and simple set of hands are popular among other brands, but this company goes deep with details and isn’t afraid to verge on the side of maximalism. On both its wristwatches and pocketwatches, buyers will find exquisite detail carved into the metal, bold colors, embedded diamonds, Akoya pearls, and other gemstones, and an array of subdials and calendars across them. In terms of models to keep an eye on, the Aquanaut, Grand Complications, and Nautaulis watches are a few that tend to sell well.
The company knows its craft. It was granted a patent for its keyless winding and hand-setting system back in 1845 and its first wristwatch came to life in 1868 for a Hungarian countess. Since then, it has won awards for precision and caught the eyes of celebrities and sports stars. These watches are often found to be worth more on the secondhand market, making them a great luxury watch brand investment.
3. Audemars Piguet Watches
This Swiss brand founded in 1875 is another luxury watch brand to consider when it comes to long-term investments. The family-owned company is best known for its skilled, handcrafted work that has continued, despite advancements in mass production. It also holds the region and area where the first workshop was set up close to the heart of all it does. Part of the current headquarters is in a building next door to where the original house was.
Audemars Piguet made waves with its high-end take on the sports watch. The hallmark — and often named dropped — Royal Oak collection has a few models that spring up as rare and worthy investments, like the Jumbo Extra-Thin and Offshore. The most recent release from the brand was the Code 11.59 in 2019. Its initial reception was turbulent, but now certain versions, such as the Code 11.59 Flying Tourbillon Chronograph, are held in high regard.
4. Omega Watches
Another celeb and business mogul favorite, Omega is a top luxury watch brand that gets a lot of credit when it comes to collecting and reselling. Its timepieces are also big on the silver screen, having been found wrapped around the wrists of James Bond, Evelyn Salt, and even Tony Montana. Styles to sniff out include variations of the Speedmaster (like the Moonwatch) and the Seamaster. Although they can be hard to come by, they’ll serve you well while you wear them, and once you sell — if you can scope one out.
Omega prides itself on the finer details. At first glance, the watches are undoubtedly sleek and stylish, but it takes a closer look to really understand the differences. For instance, the Seamaster watches have indexes shaped to resemble boat hulls with the Summer Blue line featuring a caseback emblazoned with Poseidon. Whereas its Moonwatch models have the Calibre 3861 chronograph movement, which was designed after the original version that was worn during the moon landing. It’s these very intricate, unique features that elevate these timepieces to luxury status.
5. Richard Mille Watches
You can spot the iconic barrel shape that denotes a Richard Mille watch from a mile away. Relative to other brands on the list, Richard Mille is a new brand on the watchmaking scene, after making its way into the world in 2001. The aim was to rethink horology, place a modernized lens over the traditional processes, and shake up the meaning of a luxury watch.
The quality construction of these timepieces also makes them an enticing investment for shoppers. Their durability (which is intensely tested) and technical prowess are leagues above others, which positions them as a strong contender for watches that’ll lead to a healthy return if you sell them secondhand. As far as specific models go, the RM 11-04, RM 056 Tourbillon, and RM 25-01 Tourbillon Adventure are just three valuable examples of watches that have a record of appreciation.
6. Jaeger-LeCoultre Watches
A tour around the world of top-tier horology brands wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Jaeger-LeCoultre and its watches. The oldest luxury watch brand on this list, 1833 saw the inception of this prestigious company. It’s viewed so highly by shoppers part in thanks to its focus on handcrafting watch components. Everything is carefully created in-house and the timepieces are put together by hand.
Complications are a specialty for it, too. Securing over 400 patents for its unique inventions, tech, and discoveries, these watches contain extremely noteworthy features, including excellent minute repeaters and celestial complications. Interested in adding one to your own collection? Some models that have proven their worth include the Reverso and Gyrotourbillon.
Which luxury watch is the best investment?
This largely depends on the brand and condition of the watch as well as market predictions. As you start exploring your options, you might notice a heavy bias towards Swiss watchmakers and you wouldn’t be wrong. In fact, Switzerland dominates the industry. This is because, geographically, it was able to source materials easily and due to brutal weather conditions, watchmaking was a coveted and frequently refined skill as they spent time indoors and a legacy of watchmakers erupted. It has since evolved into a watchmaking hub over the centuries. For horologists looking to collect the best luxury watches, start by perusing models from brands such as Rolex, Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Omega, Richard Mille, and Jaeger-LeCoultre. Each of these brands will have a select array of vintage and new models that are worth a sizeable amount now and likely even more down the road.
Are used luxury watches a good investment?
Secondhand luxury watches can be a fantastic investment. The most important part is buying one in great condition and ensuring you have all the right paperwork, authentication cards (if necessary), and original packaging. These will only increase your chances of getting the best return on investment possible. Speak with an expert before making investments as not all luxury watches will appreciate over time.