1. Pick a brand (or two)
Steven Kivel of Central Watch, a mechanical watch service and restoration company in New York, said, “For me, Patek Philippe and Rolex are the two brands that stand out in terms of investing, they’re like buying stocks in Apple or Microsoft.”
2. Don’t start with an obscure brand
Look to the past and evaluate brands that have continued to perform throughout generations. Breitling, Omega, Audemars Piguet, Cartier, Panerai, Jaeger-LeCoultre and IWC fit the bill.
3. Do Your Research
What type of watches are you focusing on? At auctions, “focus had been on contemporary watches, but tastes have changed and there is recognition that vintage watches are more collectable”, Thomas Perazzi, head of Christie’s watch department in Geneva, recently said.
4. Pay attention to these three standout models
The Cartier Santos W2002C4 displayed a 57 per cent rise in value over three years, while the Tag Heuer Grand Carrera CAV511B.FC6231 increased in value by a third. The Rolex Datejust 16264 experienced a 54 per cent average increase in the same three years (despite a dip in value in 2015).
5. Look for something unique
It could be a special design or limited edition piece that you want to put your money on.
6. Don’t buy a quartz watch
Mechanical watches are highly valued for their distinct and in-house movements. Although this may lead to a mark-up, you’ll find it’s worth your investment.
7. Lookout for special collaborations
For example, the Omega Speedmaster Snoopy yielded great short-term returns, and the price of this watch is only expected to rise over time.
8. Maintain the watch
Make sure you know how to take care of your new purchase. Regularly servicing the watch is essential to keep it in pristine condition, while restoration is also a costly possibility.
9. Develop contacts
This will help you cut the queue, and buy a watch at below-retail price. When you sell the watch you can sell it directly to a collector, instead of using an auction house or third party who will take a commission.
10. Watch how much you spend
Reduce risk. Limit five to ten per cent of your investment funds to buying watches.
11. If you’re ready to invest, get the help of experts
The Watch Fund is a privately held investment fund that, as of 2015, has S$29 million dollars worth of assets under managements with 60 investors in the fund. Investors have a guaranteed net annualized return of 10 per cent, or a variable return of 20 to 30 per cent. But there is a minimum investment of S$250,000 and there rules about the watches you invest in.
12. Have patience if you’re selling
Be willing to wait it out or even accept that it won’t sell. You should enjoy buying a luxury watch and wearing it, with the understanding that getting a return on your investment is not guaranteed.