Style nerds love to talk about their big purchases as investments. Sure, I spent $800 on these boots, but they’re an investment, man. We here at Esquire are just as into the practice as anyone—maybe even more so, considering we have an entire ongoing column devoted to those sorts of items. But “investment” here doesn’t mean something you’re planning to cash out to fund an extra-comfortable retirement. We’re using the word in a different sense—as in, in your wardrobe and your personal style, and in the idea that buying less and buying better really can lead to living better. A play for a payday this is not. Unless, of course, you’re talking about the one notable exception to this rule: watches.
Yeah, you can flip sneakers for a tidy profit, but you have to keep ‘em on ice to get the biggest payout. And you could hope that designer piece you bought becomes a grail with a resale price to match, but it’s a crapshoot. Watches, though? You can buy a well-regarded vintage watch now, wear it regularly for years to come, and, provided you don’t seriously damage it, sell it with little fear of devaluation. In fact, if you’re lucky, you might make a decent chunk of change by doing so. And speaking of lucky, did you happen to pick up a vintage Rolex a decade or so ago? Because if you did, well, damn are you lucky.
According to a recent analysis of historical sales data by Bob’s Watches, which declares itself “the world’s largest pre-owned e-commerce retailer of Rolex and luxury watches,” that Submariner or Daytona has picked up a lot of value over the last decade. In fact, according to the report, vintage Rolexes appreciated more from 2011 to 2021 than gold and real estate. Seriously. And while the stock market has grown at a similar rate, well, it’s not like you get to wear your shares on your wrist and check the time on them.
If you’re a collector or would-be collector who’s been watching the vintage watch market in general these last few years, all of this likely comes as no surprise. It’s been a boom time for folks involved in the buying and selling of pre-owned watches, and an even boomier time if those watches are of the tool-y, sport-y variety—like, say, a vintage Rolex chronograph or diver. And as with any market, things could go bust at any given moment, for any number of potential reasons.
One especially interesting thing about the Bob’s Watches report is the spike in value for models ranging from the aforementioned Submariner and Daytona to the Air King and Sky-Dweller over the course of the pandemic. Do folks have a newfound appreciation for time, and the way it can seem to stretch out forever? Are they readying themselves for all the appointments we’ll all have to keep when life gets fully back on track? Or did they just notice that these damn good-looking watches—which, again, you can wear to your heart’s content rather than babying them like a new-in-box Star Wars figurine—keep gaining value, and maybe it’s time to get on board? Who knows. But if you’ve got the scratch and a healthy tolerance for risk, maybe now’s the time to start thinking harder about what’s on your own wrist.
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Source : Esquire