Buying New Vs. Old Watches: What’s The Better Investment?

With the second-hand luxury watch market booming, the question on many people’s minds is: should I be investing in a new watch or a vintage piece?

Does a Rolex from the ‘60s or ‘70s hold more selling power than one that was created in the past couple of years? There are several factors that go into what makes a watch a great investment, which we’ll cover in this blog, so you can decide whether to buy new or to buy old when it comes to luxury watches. 

Considerations before buying vintage

The second-hand luxury watch market is worth billions at this point in time, which suggests that buying vintage is the way to go. But there are several things to think about before doing so.

Firstly, you need to look for authenticity above all else – a fake Rolex won’t fetch the right price and could leave you struggling to sell when the time comes to put it on the market. Secondly, you need to check the age of the dial and the condition of it to ensure it’s in working order and there are no signs of damage or disrepair. 

Carefully check the case, bracelet and assess the condition of the watch overall, and examine the original box and papers that come with the watch, if there are any. Finally, remember that the seller is just as important as the watch itself – it’s important that you trust who you’re buying from and that you are certain you’re getting the right watch at the right price. 

Assess your finances

The question of whether it’s more economical to buy new or old often comes down to your budget. You can probably save quite a bit of money buying an older watch, as all brand new watches, as with any high-ticket item, tend to suffer depreciation as soon as you take them out of the box.

By letting the original owner take that hit, you’re getting a watch at a more affordable price. Second-hand watches can mean you get more for your money while still getting a high quality watch at the end of it all. 

Check the authenticity

Authenticity is critical when it comes to buying a second-hand watch, especially when you’re purchasing one of the rarer models on the market. Buyers need to be completely sure they’re purchasing the real deal, because there are many fakes that can trip up even the most assured buyer. 

Brands like Rolex are some of the most counterfeited watch manufacturers in the world, and some even claim that there are more fake Rolex watches in circulation than real ones. Buying from a specialist seller is one way to reduce this risk. Specialists are experts in the field and they know what to look out for, so you can be confident that you’re getting a genuine item. But it’s also important to do your due diligence and know what you’re looking for as well, so you limit the chance of being duped into buying a forgery. 

Availability matters

Several decades back, it may have been pretty easy to buy a brand new luxury watch. You’d simply go to an authorised dealer, select the model you wanted and leave with it on the day. But that’s changed over the years and now it’s much more challenging to purchase a brand-new luxury watch. This is partly due to the higher demand but also the difficulties in sourcing materials.

People who have tried to buy a brand new GMT-Master or Submariner in the last few years are likely to still be waiting for their watch to arrive. This is where buying an older watch can come in handy, as you don’t have these delays or difficulties. 

The shortage of brand-new watches, or the difficulties and wait times in buying one, makes buying an older watch an easier option. The pre-owned watch market has boomed in recent years and now getting hold of your dream watch doesn’t mean shelling out for a brand new item and waiting years for it to arrive. You can get a high quality watch at a more affordable price, without the wait. 

Final thoughts

Whatever watch you choose, quality is the most important thing to look out for. A luxury second-hand watch, when in the right condition and with the papers to prove its authenticity, can be a solid investment that ensures a healthy resale value.

The key to getting a genuine, high quality watch is to choose your seller wisely. At The Watch Exchange London, we are experts in the industry and have a wealth of knowledge on all things luxury watches. Contact us for more information.