When the global pandemic had first gripped the world in March of 2020, and some of us thought it was the end of the world, certain industries seemed to be sliding into irrelevance. Without business travel, airlines began to suffer. Without in-house dining, restaurants began to file for bankruptcy. And without mass gatherings, clubs, auditoriums and even stadiums stuttered as if expecting a storm of some sort. The luxury watch industry was no exception. In fact, during April and May of 2020, things were not looking great. The famous luxury watch brands like Rolex, Patek Phillipe, Audemars Piguet and A. Lange & Söhne all saw a drastic drop in sales.
Rebound of luxury watch sales
This came as no shock to average people. After all, we were in the middle of a global medical crisis. People were being laid off, or furloughed and others were asked to work from home with reduced salaries. So, why then did luxury watch sales rebound? When you take into account that a pre-owned Rolex Submariner 16613 starts at US$12,025. The answer to this question is as complicated as the watches themselves.
Prior to COVID-19, most luxury watch sales were done in branded boutiques and appointments had to be made. If you just won the lotto jackpot, you could not just walk off the street and buy the most expensive Rolex in the store. After a consultation, a recommendation would be made, then after a few purchases and the building of a relationship, you would be placed on a list to buy the watch that you so covet.
Growth on YouTube watch community
With brick-and-mortar stores closed during the lockdown, luxury watch brands like everyone else were forced to adapt very quickly. They used social media to get the word out and one in particular that has seen exponential growth was the YouTube watch community. YouTube channels like Watchfinder & Co. is hosted by talking hands, an anonymous presenter that features watches as works of art. The videos are both educational and entertaining in a format that some find as soothing as an ASMR video.
Another noteworthy YouTube channel Nico Leonard of Pride and Pinnion features more energetic videos that are critical of watch brands. His hatred of Hublot has become a running joke, with entire videos dedicated to it.
Public educated about luxury watch brands
Both these channels have seen tremendous growth and has educated the general public about luxury watch brands in their own way. They also introduced viewers to the pre-owed luxury watch market, where you don’t have to jump through hoops to spend your own money. In the pre-owned arena prices for some models are not as high as you may think. Though discontinued models can fetch some prices bordering on the ridiculous.
Most people were of the opinion that luxury watches were a great example of diminishing returns. Think about it, what is the difference between a Casio G Shock and a Grand Seiko? The G Shock costs on average US$100, looks great, tells the date, time in various time zones, has multiple alarms, looks like a tank and is virtually indestructible. The Grand Seiko on the other hand starts at just over US$5,000, it tells the time, date and is water resistant, but looks as fragile as a Ming Dynasty vase. What the Grand Seiko has is a very interesting backstory, where they beat the legendary Swiss watchmakers at their own game by making a more accurate watch. That is why the Grand Seiko commands a hefty price, its history.
Some brands have been around for almost 3 centuries, and are the inventors of various innovations in watchmaking, like Breguet that invented the Tourbillion. Each watchmaker has a story to tell, each watch is a piece of history.
Now US$15,995.00 With 26% off
Luxury watch brands and lockdown
For every person that was negatively affected by the pandemic, there is one that was positively affected by it. This means that some people actually made money from what was and still is happening., that is, if your business was already poised to take advantage of online sales, or your position at your job allowed you to transition to a work-from-home scenario with little or no disruption. In terms of logistics or income reduction, you would have been benefiting positively from the lockdown situation.
The lockdowns also eliminated a lot of high-end, recreational activities like vacation travel. Shareholders of profitable companies saved money as business travel expenses were also eliminated and replaced with Zoom conference calls. Stays at 5-star hotels and eating at high-end restaurants were seen as business expenses and were all gone. With this money just sitting around to be spent, fans of luxury watch brands took advantage of the weakened market and bought more watches than normal. This type of luxury watch fan will see this as an investment, purchasing limited edition models like Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Self Winding that retails for 27,300.00 CHF (Swiss Francs) or US$29,795.33.
Watches like the Royal Oak have attained legendary status among luxury watch aficionados. As a result, they appreciate in value and are traded on the pre-owned market at prices 2 to 10 times its original price. They are also handed down as prize family heirlooms.
Luxury watch brands as working pieces of art
If you understand what it takes to create a piece of art like a sculpture or a painting, then you would understand what it takes to make one of these watches. Each piece is handmade, after years of research and development. All this work then has to fit on your wrist, and still be pleasing to the eyes. It does not help that they are not mass produced either.
In some instances, these pieces are rare and are made in very limited quantities, using precious metals and gem stones. The difference between a painting by a master artist and a luxury watch is the watch has a utilitarian purpose. They do tell the time and can be used every day. Some have interesting complications that allow you to track the phases of the moon, track constellations or even summon help from an elite team of commandoes anywhere in the world. If you are just looking for something simple like an interesting timepiece that would last generations, here are a few options below.
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Rolex Submariner 16613 Discontinued
Diving had become revolutionised in the 1950’s by Jacques Cousteau’s invention, the aqua-lung, which made diving easier and more accessible. He was also commissioned by Rolex to help test their new diver’s watch, the Submariner, which went on to become one of the most successful diver’s watches in history.
ROLEX DAYTONA 6262
Named after the Daytona International Speedway in Florida, the Rolex Daytona is a racing chronograph designed for the gentlemen drivers of the day, and has since become one of the most popular and sought after watches in history. Understated and elegant, its design is unmistakable and continues to carry huge demand.
Silver-tone stainless steel case and bracelet. Uni-directional rotating blue ion-plated stainless steel bezel. Blue dial with luminous hands and dot hour markers. Minute markers around the outer rim. Dial Type: Analog. Luminescent hands and dial markers. Date display at the 3 o’clock position. Omega Calibre 2500 Automatic movement, based upon ETA 2892-A2, containing 27 Jewels, bitting at 25200 vph, and has a power reserve of approximately 48 hours. Scratch resistant anti-reflective sapphire crystal. Screw in crown. Solid case back. Round case shape, case size: 36.25 mm, case thickness: 13 mm. Band width: 18 mm. Deployment clasp. Water resistant at 300 meters / 1000 feet. Functions: date, hour, minute, second, chronometer. Additional Info: co-axial/ helium escape valve. Seamaster James Bond Series. Sport watch style. Watch label: Swiss Made.
Now US$2,995.00 With 21% off
Ceramic case with a black rubber strap. Fixed ceramic showing tachymeter markings bezel. Black dial with index hour markers. Minute markers around the outer rim. Dial Type: Analog. Luminescent hands and markers. Date display at the 6 o’clock position. Chronograph – two sub-dials displaying: 60 second and 24 hour. Omega Calibre 1869 automatic movement with a 60-hour power reserve. Scratch resistant sapphire crystal. Screw down crown. Transparent case back. Round case shape, case size: 44.25 mm, case thickness: 16.5 mm. Band width: 21 mm. Tang clasp. Water resistant at 50 meters / 165 feet. Functions: chronograph, date, hour, minute, second, chronometer, tachymeter. Speedmaster Series. Luxury watch style. Watch label: Swiss Made.
Summer Sale US$96,754.00
18kt white gold case with a black alligator leather strap. Fixed 18kt white gold bezel. Silver grey dial with silver-tone dauphine-style shape hands and index hour markers. Minute markers around the outer rim. Dial Type: Analog. Small seconds subdials. Patek Philippe Calibre 215 PS Hand Wind movement, based upon Patek Philippe 215, containing 18 Jewels, bitting at 28800 vph, and has a power reserve of approximately 44 hours. Scratch resistant sapphire crystal. Pull / push crown. Solid case back. Round case shape, case size: 37 mm, case thickness: 8 mm. Tang clasp. Water resistant at 30 meters / 100 feet. Functions: hour, minute, small second. Luxury watch style. Watch label: Swiss Made.
Now US$22,142.70 With 10% off
18kt white gold case with a silver-tone 18kt white gold bracelet. Fixed bezel with diamond set. Blue dial. Dial Type: Analog. Sky mape, moonphase subdials. Patek Philippe Calibre 240 LU CL C Automatic movement, containing 45 Jewels, composed of 315 parts, bitting at 21600 vph, and has a power reserve of approximately 48 hours. Scratch resistant sapphire crystal. Screw down crown. Transparent see through case back. Round case shape, case size: 44 mm, case thickness: 11.33 mm. Deployment clasp. Water resistant at 30 meters / 100 feet. Functions: sky map, moon phase, date, hour, minute, second.
This remarkable Royal Oak Offshore is a stunning sports watch for many reasons, but most notable are the materials used in its construction. While the bezel is made of high-tech ceramic, the majority of the case is even more unusual, being a proprietary material owned and invented by Audemars Piguet: forged carbon. Based on inventions in the aerospace industry, forged carbon was AP’s solution to a key problem for watch material engineers, namely how to make carbon fibres both effective and affordable. The answer involves a cutting-edge process in which the fibres are both compressed and heated in a special resin at enormous temperatures. The resulting substance is extraordinarily strong, light and damage-resistant.
AUDEMARS PIGUET Royal Oak Offshore 18-carat White Gold Diamond Pave Automatic Men’s Watch
18kt white gold diamond pave case with a white gold-tone 18-carat white gold diamond pave bracelet. 8 screws fixed 18kt white gold diamond set bezel. 18-carat white gold diamond pave dial with blackened gold hands. Dial Type: Analog. Luminescent hands. Date display at the 3 o’clock position. Chronograph – three sub-dials displaying: 60 second, 30 minute and 12 hours. Audemars Piguet Calibre 3126/3840 Automatic movement, based upon Audemars Piguet 3120, containing 59 Jewels, composed of 365 parts, bitting at 21600 vph, and has a power reserve of approximately 50 hours. Scratch resistant sapphire crystal. Screw down crown. Skeleton transparent exhibition see through case back. Octagon case shape, case size: 44 mm, case thickness: 15.5 mm. Water resistant at 200 meters / 660 feet. Functions: chronograph, date, hour, minute, small second.
Now $1,345,133.10 with 13% off
US$1,500.00 With 77% off
Summer Sale US$513,962.00
18kt white gold case with a black alligator band. Fixed black diamond set bezel. Black dial with white hands. Dial Type: Analog. Flying tourbillon sub dials. Jacob & Co. Calibre JCBM05 hand wind movement with a 100-hour power reserve. Scratch resistant sapphire crystal. Pull / push crown. Round case shape, case size: 47 mm, case thickness: 15.85 mm. Tang clasp. Water resistant at 30 meters / 100 feet. Functions: one-minute flying tourbillon, hour, minute. Additional Info: original box, international warranty card, manual (complete accessories).
216 Baguette White Diamonds (˜ 24 ct.); Crown Set with 16 Baguette and One Rose Cut White Diamonds (˜ 1.13 ct.) 18kt white gold case with a silver-tone 18kt white gold bracelet. Fixed diamond set bezel. Silver-tone dial. Dial Type: Analog. Jacob & Co. Calibre JCBM05 hand wind movement with a 100-hour power reserve. Scratch resistant sapphire crystal. Round case shape, case size: 47 mm, case thickness: 15.85 mm. Deployment clasp. Water resistant at 30 meters / 100 feet. Functions: one-minute flying tourbillon. Additional Info: original box, international warranty card, manual (complete accessories).
Summer Sale US$1,652,026.00
Now US$18,432.00 With 28% off
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