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Is A Luxury Watch Worth It


Patek Philippe is a brand of luxury watch that is well worth the prices that are commonly seen for them.

Last Updated: Aug 2, 2019 05:06am

If you are looking to purchase your first luxury watch one question that is often asked is if a luxury watch is worth it.

Here are items to consider when answering the question of is a luxury watch worth it.

  • Does the price reflect the worth

  • How much depreciation can you expect

  • Will it help you garner the type of attention you want

  • Will the luxury watch communicate the message you’re looking to send

  • Do you think you will enjoy owning it

The first two points are financial in nature and are arguably the ones taken under the most consideration. However, the accompanying three points are every bit as important and should not be overlooked.

At this juncture we should take a deeper dive into the points that have been listed, as an explanation of each can contribute to a more informed perspective on answering the initial question...is a luxury watch worth it?


Does the Price Reflect the Worth of the Luxury Watch in Question

This model of an Audemars Piguet watch comes with straps made from fine black leather.

Knowing whether or not a luxury watch is actually worth the price you see requires a little bit of time to educate yourself. What doesn’t help a novice luxury watch purchaser is that there is such a large price range that luxury timepieces can occupy.

For example, if we look at a brand like Rolex, you could purchase the Oyster Perpetual 36 model for around $5,500 or go to the other end of the spectrum and purchase the Cosmograph Daytona Pave Diamond Dial for about $125,000.

In a general sense, these are the considerations we can keep in mind when comparing these two high-end watch models to see if they are worth their price:

  • Materials used in construction

  • Level of craftsmanship involved

  • Sophistication of the inner mechanisms

  • Reputation of the brand and/or model

Comparison Between The Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36 & The Cosmograph Daytona Pave Diamond Dial

Rolex OYSTER PERPETUAL 36mm White Grape.

Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36

  • Materials used in construction - Oystersteel, 18k gold

  • Level of craftsmanship involved - No finely cut jewels for ornamentation

  • Sophistication of the inner mechanisms - Certified swiss chronometer, self-winding, parachrom hairspring, no complications

  • Reputation of the Brand/Model - Rolex is credited for the world’s first waterproof and dustproof watch and the world’s first self-winding mechanism with a Perpetual rotor. The Oyster line has been in production since 1926 and was the first waterproof/dustproof watch in the world.

Rolex Cosmorgarph Daytona Pave Diamond Dial 18K White Gold Case Set with 48 Diamonds Leather Strap Men's Watch

Cosmograph Daytona Pave Diamond Dial

  • Materials used in construction - 18k gold, fine leather, diamonds

  • Level of craftsmanship involved - 48 diamonds cut and set in the case

  • Sophistication of the inner mechanisms - Certified swiss chronometer, self-winding, simplified to 201 separate components that represent a revolution in internal functions and has introduced new materials, chronograph complication

  • Reputation of the Brand/Model - The first waterproof/dustproof watch in the world came from Rolex. The Cosmograph line debuted in 1963.

Upon doing a side to side comparison, it becomes clear that the difference in price comes from the worth of the 48 diamonds that have been set in the case of the Cosmograph Daytona Pave Diamond Dial watch, the fine jeweling needed to cut those diamonds, and the innovative engineering that led to fewer parts and more efficient mechanisms versus what is featured by the Oyster Perpetual 36 model.

And so, the points of comparison that we used to evaluate whether or not those two luxury watches were worth their price are the same ones that can be used to determine if the price of any luxury watch reflects its worth.


How Much Depreciation Can You Expect from Your Luxury Watch

Hublot’s Big Bang Meca-10 Titanium

It’s virtually a given that most luxury watches will depreciate in value. Unfortunately, when trying to answer the question of how much depreciation can you expect from your luxury watch, there are no rules of thumb or definitive trends that show how much depreciation occurs on average.

In fact, there are so many numbers thrown around on the topic that it can almost seem like the amount of depreciation is arbitrary!

Perhaps a better and more useful question would be, what causes a luxury watch to depreciate. There are a lot of factors, but understanding some of them can help you towards figuring out is a luxury watch worth it.

Factors that contribute to a luxury watch depreciating include:

  • Brand

  • Specific model

  • Current supply of a model (is it rare or a limited edition?)

  • Trends taking place within the luxury watch space

  • Celebrity culture influence (or lack thereof)

  • Condition of the watch

  • Whether it is a luxury watch for men or a luxury watch for women

Women’s luxury watches tend to depreciate faster than the men’s models, mainly because there is more demand for men’s luxury watches.

The take-away here is that even though there may not be a way to put an exact number on how much a luxury watch may depreciate, knowing some of the factors that can affect depreciation can be very helpful towards deciding whether or not a luxury watch may be worth buying.


Will You Receive the Kind of Attention You Are Seeking

One of the reasons any of us purchase a luxury item is because it commands attention. And of course the more expensive the item is, the more attention you will likely receive.

This is no different when it comes to the luxury watch space. Just because you may be wearing a Patek Philippe Nautilus, you may find that you are treated differently by the people in your proximity. Wearing a $50,000 watch, why shouldn’t you be treated a little differently?

If you believe that you will receive some glances at your wrist or that you will be clamored over more, then that might be an indication that your luxury watch will be worth the purchase.


Will the luxury watch communicate the message you’re looking to send

Patek-Philippe-Calatrava-5180-1R-Skeleton

Many times when we purchase a luxury item, we are trying to send a message to those around us. Typically, that message is that we are successful and have some measure of status.

For some careers, the projection of being successful can make enough of a difference in how you are perceived, that it can actually affect the outcome of what you are trying to achieve. In other words, a psychological edge is produced. Some examples that come to mind of such careers include:

  • Real estate agents

  • Investment bankers

  • Lawyers

In these examples, clients would rather side with someone who has been successful in their endeavors, than someone who has not been. Aside from the car that is driven by these individuals, wearing a luxury watch is a way of indicating that they are successful and that they know how to become successful.

Another message that a luxury watch can send is one of uniqueness. Price isn’t the only thing that can make an item a luxury item. Its uniqueness can be a contributing factor as well! Is there uniqueness about yourself that you care to advertise by wearing a more rare model of luxury watch?

This is a more subjective area when it comes to figuring out if a luxury watch is worth it, but if you feel as though the timepiece you are considering can project the message you would like to send, whether it is that of being successful or that you have unique traits, then a luxury watch would be worth the purchase.


Will You Enjoy Owning A Luxury Watch

Consider if you will enjoy the luxury watch you are looking to purchase.

Yet another subjective aspect towards the greater question of is a luxury watch worth it...will you enjoy owning it? This is something only you can answer.

Without completely avoiding trying to give a direct answer to this question, there are plenty of people out there, this author included, that would say there is no price on true enjoyment. And, there are so many ways to find enjoyment from your luxury watch. For example…

  • Is owning it a way of remembering the experience of being able to purchase your first luxury item?

  • Will owning it be a constant reminder for you of the hard work you put in to reach the level of success you have achieved?

  • Does the act of purchasing a luxury watch as a gift for someone else to enjoy also bring a smile to your face?

These considerations may in fact not provide a direct answer, but they are legitimate factors within the equation when you are trying to figure out if a luxury watch is worth it.


So, Is a Luxury Watch Really Worth it

At the beginning of this article, there were several points that were offered towards figuring out if a luxury watch is worth it. Some of what has been offered is tangible while others are more subjective.

Though this question ultimately is one that only you can answer, hopefully the points offered can guide you towards a thought process that will allow you to make your own determination for whether or not a luxury watch is worth it.

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