High-End Luxury Watches - Brit

A keen eye for potential coupled with good timing can mean a sensible investment. With a high-end luxury watch, you can watch the time pass by as it appreciates in value. The market for quality timepieces has expanded in recent years as investors and horologists have formed the opinion that a watch collection might be a better place to grow your money than a savings account.

The appeal of collectible watches

Beyond the appeal of investment, there are several reasons your clients might have one or many high-end watches. When properly cared for, a luxury watch is something functional you can wear in your everyday life. Watches are fashionable and aspirational. A timepiece from a highly regarded watchmaker can be a symbol of status and a source of personal pride.

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People invest their money in watches as a statement about their sense of style, while others see them as an heirloom that will be passed through family generations. They can add to an existing watch collection, or even as a portable asset that lends itself to easy conversion.

Independent watch dealers and the secondary market

Watch collectors engage in a global network of independent watch dealers who buy and sell new and used luxury watches. The condition of this market can affect the value of watches. In the wake of the COVID-19 slowdown, financial experts observed the recovery of the watchmaking sector was buoyed by the secondary market.

There are several advantages collectors can enjoy when buying from independent dealers in the secondary market:


Some specialist watch retailers have waiting lists you must join before you can visit their physical shop. The online market allows collectors instant access.

The secondary market is online and global, so there is a much wider inventory of watches to browse at your leisure rather than engaging with a specific retailer.

Rare and Discontinued Watches

Many watch collectors will have an eye for timepieces that are special and stand out from the crowd. These watches are usually found in the secondary market where specialised dealers seek buyers for a specific model that’s highly sought after due to its rarity or uniqueness.

Used Luxury Watches

While some investors like to buy new, there is a vast demand for used watches. Many collectors will want to ensure that the latest watch added to their collection comes with purchase paperwork, original packaging, and manufacturer’s handbook.


Secondary Market Prices

The nature of the secondary market means buyers might be able to get a good deal on the specific watch their searching for. Buyers should keep an eye on watch values as they may need to insure the watch for a higher price than was originally paid.

Watchparalax Rolex


Country of origin: UK/Switzerland

Year established: 1905

Most desirable models: Submariner, Oyster Perpetual, Daytona

Did you know: Every Rolex watch that uses Roman numerals on its face adopts a clockmaker’s “IIII” rather than the traditional “IV” to allow for better symmetrical balance.

Watchparalax Audemars

Audemars Piguet

Country of origin: Switzerland

Year established: 1875

Most desirable models: Royal Oak, Millenary Collection

Did you know: In the early 1970s, designer Gerald Gretna was only given one day to develop the design of the iconic Royal Oak model with the brief to create a sports watch for all occasions. He based the hexagonal face with visible screws on a traditional diver’s helmet, and it remains the brand’s most enduring model.

Watchparalax Patek

Patek Philippe

Country of origin: Switzerland

Year established: 1838

Most desirable models: Nautilus, Aquanaut, Grand Complications

Did you know: Queen Victoria, Pablo Picasso, Nelson Mandela, Leo Tolstoy, Pyotr Tchaikovsky, Albert Einstein, and Marie Curie are all reported to have owned timepieces made by Patek Philippe.

Determining watch value

Several factors can affect the value of a watch and will be considered by both your clients and the specialists who can determine the watch’s value. These include:

All of these factors, combined with market supply and demand, will impact how much your client’s watch is worth. Over time, some watches appreciate, others hold their value, and some can fluctuate, depending on what is available in the secondary market. It’s important to speak to your clients about the importance of regular valuations. Valuations are also used when determining an appropriate level of insurance protection cover for a luxury, high-end watch.

Brit have extensively worked with DOERR Dallas Valuations when protecting private clients’ watch collections. They are market leaders in assessing timepieces and assigning an accurate value within the context of current market conditions.

Market conditions in action

In August, DOERR Dallas Valuations published a blog that revealed how recent market conditions could impact the value of the Patek Phillipe Nautilus 5711.

Below we can follow the key dates and influences that can impact a watch’s value:

Nov 2019 £50K

The 5711 model is in demand, and buyers are paying well above retail price, though there were some minor, regular fluctuations.

Nov 2020 £100K

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Patek Phillippe announced they were planning to discontinue this specific model. This caused the market value to double within the space of a year.

Mar 2021 £180K

Scarcity breeds desirability, and within another short space of time, watch collectors were willing to pay figures approaching £200k for some box-sealed examples of the 5711.

Aug 2022 £150K

The market has cooled. Stainless-steel examples of the 5711 were being valued in the market at £50k lower than they were 18 months previously. DOERR Dallas Valuations believe the watch hit a high ceiling on its value potential.

This example illustrates how a watch’s market value can jump by as much as 300% in 18 months. This has enormous implications for collectors and the level of protection they require for their watches and new models coming to market will have their own considerations with regards to value over time.

“Whilst the market price of the Nautilus range continues to drop, it’s still noticeably more than it was at this point last year, and still around £100,000 more than the original retail price of this model.

With the new Patek Phillipe 5811 hitting our shores very soon, it can only mean more volatility for the market, so accurate valuations are the key between client and insurer to make sure that if the worst happens, the insured can replace their watch.”

Rachel Doerr Managing Director at DOERR

Need any help protecting your clients' assets?

If you want more information on how Brit can help with protecting your client’s high-end luxury watches. Contact our Private Client team.