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Inside Information: Professional Tips for Watch Collectors

Inside Information: Professional Tips for Watch Collectors

Indra Faber

Everyone who has ever worn a luxury timepiece on their wrist knows that the first watch is usually not the last, but often the beginning of a lifelong passion. But even watch collecting has to be learned! To put your collection together cleverly, you should refrain from impulse purchases and instead plan ahead. Let us give you some important information directly from the inside to get that watch collection started.

1. Proceed strategically

There are many reasons for building a watch collection. Perhaps you have a special passion for timepieces and are a born collector. Or you are looking for a value investment as an alternative or supplement to conventional forms of investment. Or perhaps watches embody a certain lifestyle for you that you would like to express – or you are looking for different models for specific occasions and moods. There’s many reasons and each one is as valid as the other.

Having your own watch collection is usually quite expensive, so you should proceed strategically. Become aware early on of the purpose of your watch collection. This will help you to search for models in a targeted manner and prevent arbitrary purchases.

Strategy A: Get a Taste of it

Not everyone has to go all out with a Rolex Daytona. If you are still new to the world of watches and are simply looking for a quality product with a premium calibre, browse through the collections of manufacturers such as Nomos or Junghans. These offer timepieces for less than 3,000 € without sacrificing quality. Of course your personal taste comes first when purchasing a watch. And who knows – maybe a new passion is born!

Recommendations under 2,000 €

Strategy B: Buy Your Way Up

It is smart to build up your collection by specifically adding watches to your collection and selling them again to invest in new timepieces. To do this, you should find out the potential resale value of the watch in advance. Keep an eye on market developments and exchange views with other collectors to identify the most promising models.

Inexperienced watch collectors are often inclined to go straight into the business with a brand new model from top brands like Rolex or Breitling. But not everyone has the necessary capital from the beginning. Therefore, certified pre-owned or vintage watches can be a worthwhile purchase for beginners with some great deals out there. Timeless classics from established brands are sometimes available for under 2,000 euros. However, you should only buy a pre-owned watch from trustworthy dealers.

A watch collection that increases through regular buying and selling up to investment models, could look like this:

Affordable entry-level models up to 4,000 €

Entry-level models up to 4,000 €

Insider tip: Watches with case sizes smaller than 36mm tend to be harder to sell than models with the standard sizes! Going to 34mm and smaller, the sale becomes more and more difficult due to a lack of demand.

Entry-level Tudor models between 3,000 and 4,000 €

Tudor models between 3,000 and 4,000 €

Insider tip: Save money on your purchase by choosing a textile or leather strap instead of a stainless steel bracelet!

Popular classics between 4,000 and 7,000 €

Classics betweeen 4,000€ and 7,000€

Insider tips:

  1. The more complications a watch has, the higher the resale potential! Models with chronograph functions, such as the Breitling Navitimer, tend to sell better. The same applies to the movement: opt for automatic movement instead of quartz when it comes to resale.

  2. Models like the TAG Heuer Formula 1 or the Omega Seamaster 300 M are extremely popular watches in the moderate price segment. However, an attractive resale value is not necessarily given due to the oversupply on the market. The Monaco is an exception.

Popular classics between 7,000 and 10,000 €

Classics between 7,000 and 10,000 €

Insider tip: If you have the necessary funds, you can find many watches at CHRONEXT that would otherwise have a decades-long waiting list. These models are also very promising when it comes to an increase in value!

Sophisticated bestsellers from 10,000 € upwards

Bestsellers from 10,000 € upwards

High quality top models from 20.000 € upwards

Top models from 20.000 € upwards

Strategy C: Specialization

On a Watch Type

Another strategic approach is to specialise in a particular type of watch, e.g. vintage watches, chronographs, pilot's watches, diving watches. In order to continuously build your collection, you should search for like-minded people in relevant online forums. Here you will receive valuable tips and recommendations from watch real enthusiasts and connoisseurs.

Are you fond of pilot or diver watches? Fish for new and vintage models in our shop!

The Breitling Co-Pilot is a valuable vintage watch and a smart investment.

On a Series or Brand

It is of course conceivable to collect only models of a certain brand or even a certain series – such as Rolex Submariner or Omega Speedmaster. Watch enthusiasts who focus their collection on a single manufacture often have an emotional connection to it. Perhaps their parents were particularly fond of this brand or they grew up close to the watchmaker and therefore feel a special connection. Other collectors are simply enamored with the brand in every aspect – history, technical innovation, culture and quality.

Manufacturers that everyone knows, such as Rolex, TAG Heuer and Breitling, guarantee immediate recognition. But less well-known manufacturers such as Glashütte, Nomos or Fortis have their own charm and are appreciated by insiders in the industry. Browse through relevant magazines or forums to learn more about the history of various manufacturers. Sooner or later, one brand will ignite a spark in you.

2. Never Underestimate Vintage Watches

Vintage models are true watch classics and score points with their historical charm. They are able to tell stories that make them totally unique – and give them a rarity value, which is an attractive investment for collectors and investors alike.

Rolex Submariner

The Rolex Submariner is one of the most legendary diving watches worldwide. Its athletic design was developed more than 60 years ago and embodies a feeling of power, adventure and elegance at the same time. It is therefore not surprising that the model adorns the wrist of Sean Connery in the first four James Bond films.

The increase in value of the Submariner is above average: from 1994 to the present day its value has quadrupled and increased by around 5000 Euros. The appearance and technology of the Submariner have evolved steadily, but the incomparable charm of the watch remains the same.

One of the early models is the 1984 Rolex Submariner Spider Web, an extremely rare collector's item with a stainless steel case and spiderweb-decorated dial.

A more recent model is the Rolex Submariner Date with green ceramic bezel and date display. Since 2008, the models have been produced with a thicker case, giving them a larger, more distinctive look.

Shop Rolex Submariner

Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch

The Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is a sports chronograph in a class of its own. It’s 1969, when the watch was launched into space together with the Apollo 11 and achieved worldwide fame. To this day, the Speedmaster has hardly changed. Only minor adjustments to the shape of the hands and case as well as crown protection. The Speedmaster has also been able to achieve an above-average increase in value with a 2013 model being worth twice as much now.

Shop Omega Speedmaster

3. Find a trustworthy dealer

The watch market is large and without thorough research, you run the risk of getting caught by counterfeiters and fraudsters. Never fear, in a sea of counterfeits exist also trustworthy online merchants for whom customer satisfaction is the most valuable commodity.

We at CHRONEXT stand for security and authenticity with each watch being checked for authenticity in our in-house master workshop and being provided with our two-year CHRONEXT warranty.

4. Buy the necessary accessories

There are not many accessories that you will need for the care and maintenance of your watch collection. For storage, it is advisable to purchase watch cases or watch boxes in addition to a safe or display case. Here you can store your timepieces neatly. For regular cleaning, you will need a polishing cloth with microfibres and a gentle cleaning agent.

Under certain circumstances, the purchase of a watch winder may be worthwhile for you. This keeps your mechanical watch in motion so that it does not have to be rewound or adjusted even after a long period of storage. For simple watches, a watch winder is not absolutely necessary. For timepieces with perpetual calendars or other complications, however, it can be practical to avoid the laborious adjustment of all complications.

5. Insure your watches

Despite all precautions, it is possible that your watch may be damaged or stolen. It is therefore advisable to insure your collection. Although a normal household insurance policy covers valuables such as watches or jewellery, there is an upper limit to the value of the items to be insured. In the case of a watch collection, this limit is quickly exceeded. To be on the safe side, you should therefore take out additional watch insurance.

6. Have your watch refurbished by a professional

The condition of a watch naturally has a great influence on its value. But this does not necessarily mean that the watch that looks the newest is the most valuable. Many collectors, for example, are looking specifically for models that look like they have a long, eventful life - and are prepared to pay handsome sums for them. Especially with Tool Watches, a faded bezel or an elegant patina can reflect the history of the timepiece. Traces of use make a watch unique.

The question of whether and at what intervals your watches should be serviced is controversial and ultimately a personal decision. Some collectors stick to a three- to five-year cycle, others never have their timepieces professionally serviced. However, you should not assume that every mechanical watch will always work perfectly without showing age-related faults. Therefore, we recommend that you at least have vintage watches serviced every few years.

In our master workshop, we offer you all the services that watch enthusiasts need: a thorough overhaul, a professional repair, coatings, polishing and even handmade bracelets.