Is it worth the wait for a new luxury watch?
We all know the drill. You want a swanky new sought-after watch from a world-renowned brand. You have to wait… and if you’re incredibly lucky you might get one.
There are collectors out there who’ve had their name down with a retailer for a Patek Philippe Nautilus for 10 years or more. But why are the lists so long and how can you increase your chances of grabbing that watch you love?
Our Luxe Watches buying team explains…
Are people spending more on jewellery?
People are investing much more heavily in fashion than the usual collector items such as cars. No one was allowed to travel anywhere, so what was the point? People with cash to splash started spending in other areas such as jewellery when covid lockdowns began.
The surge in demand in 2021 saw Swiss watch exports reach £19.6 billion so it’s clear there is much more wealth around. The UK now has a record number of billionaires with 177, according to the new Sunday Times Rich List - and their combined wealth stands at £653bn. That’s a whole lot of cash to invest in some nice luxury timepieces.
Which watches are on the longest waiting lists?
When it comes to desirable watches, it’s the same old names always in demand - the absolute classics from some smashing brands. It’s the Rolex Daytonas and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak claiming the most admiration, and of course, who wouldn’t love their own Patek Philippe Nautilus?
But if you think taking a little trip over to Geneva will help matters and knocking on the door of the crafters, forget it. It’s no easier to get one there. Even Thierry Stern, Patek Philippe’s president, tells retailers to work with the locals and not to sell to ‘tourists’.
In fact, he’s so strict that he gives sanctions to retailers who he finds have sold a Patek watch to someone who just wanted to make money on it. The brand buys back 300 pieces every year just to check.
But some brands, such as Rolex, have now stipulated that clients do not sell their new watch within three years.
How do you make the VIP list?
What cuts the ability to buy one of these watches down even further, is that it tends to be only VIPs with a strong purchase history with a particular brand or a celebrity who can buy the watches that are in demand, even with a thriving preloved market. If you’re not a millionaire, perhaps you are extremely well connected in other ways….
Inevitably because it’s hard for ‘normal’ people to get hold of these amazing watches, the waiting list situation creates an expensive second-hand market - and of course, there are those who want to flip watches and make some quick quids. For some of the rare models, you could end up paying more than triple the retail price on the preloved market as people become so desperate to want what they can’t seem to have.
Supply and demand
Despite the massive amount of demand for luxury watches, the limited supply is a long-term reality as many brands are not looking to increase production, with some watches taking up to three years to create. And don’t get us started on the delivery times…
But it’s always good to know if it is going to take that long to buy your dream watch, that it’s at least going to keep its value. Sadly, there are no guarantees but if you’re picking some of the sought-after watches it would be considered a good investment.
How do I improve my chances of getting a nice watch?
No sneaky shortcuts in? Your best bet is to use your social media skills and get in touch with brands or retailers yourself.
If you don’t have the patience, we can help you right here at Luxe Watches. We stock a fantastic range of new and preloved luxury watches from some of the world’s favourite brands.