Which Watch Brands Hold their Value Most? – Part II (with data)

One of the questions we hear most often is a variation of “Which brands hold their value the most?” In an effort to shed some light on this oft-debated topic, we wrote a blog about depreciation detailing our observations from day-to-day valuations. The response was overwhelming, so today we’re revisiting the subject with a more thorough look.

Before we begin, this is by no means an absolute guide to which brands depreciate the most. It would take several volumes of books to discuss factors affecting value, when certain brands are more valuable than others, which watch models hold the best value, etc. This is merely a glimpse into what we feel is a generally accurate portrayal of watch brands’ value on the preowned market. Due to the volatility of the preowned market, the value of these watches could change tomorrow, so take everything with a grain of salt.

Also, a note about MSRP – you may see some small variations in pricing depending on where you look. They should be in the ballpark of what you see below, however. With that being said, let’s proceed with our findings.

Factors that influence a watch’s value range from case material to style, trendiness, movement, marketing, and brand influence. In a perfect study, all of the watches would be identical aside from the brand’s signature on the watch. In an effort to level the playing field, we’ve tried to insulate the watches from as many extraneous factors as possible. Here are the criteria the watches must meet:

  • Material: Stainless steel
  • Function: Limited to hours, minutes, seconds (and date when possible)
  • Style/trendiness: “Average” size (nothing approaching the size of a U-Boat), no “ultra-iconic” models (Submariner, Calatrava, Altiplano, etc.)
  • Movement: Automatic Swiss Movement

Here are the contenders:

Depreciation Collage

From left to right: Vacheron Constantin Overseas (ref. 47040), Jaeger LeCoultre Master Control (ref. Q1398420), Patek Philippe Aquanaut (ref. 5065), Rolex Explorer (ref. 214270), Ebel Classic Sport (ref. E9125241), Concord Saratoga (ref. 310919), Hublot Classic (ref. 1910.1), Longines Conquest (ref. L3.687.4.56.6)

Admittedly, a few of the watches have some attributes unique among the group: the Hublot features a rubber strap, the Concord a small second hand, the Longines a GMT function, the Rolex no date, and the Jaeger a leather strap. Some may argue the Explorer, Aquanaut, Master Control, and Saratoga are “too iconic,” but they will suffice for the purposes of this exercise.

After conducting and analyzing our research, the eye-opening statistic was not which brands best held their value, but rather just how little value Concord and Ebel held:

Brand Model Model Number

MSRP

Avg. Preowned Price

Value Retained (%)

Patek Philippe Aquanaut 5065

 $15,500.00

 $11,750.00

76%

Vacheron Constantin Overseas 47040

 $14,300.00

 $7,608.00

53%

Jaeger LeCoultre Master Control Q1398420

 $6,700.00

 $3,927.00

59%

Rolex Explorer 214270

 $6,550.00

 $4,657.00

71%

Hublot Classic 1915.BS10.1

 $4,000.00

 $1,468.00

37%

Concord Saratoga 310919

 $3,890.00

 $750.00

19%

Ebel Classic Sport E9125241

 $3,520.00

 $528.00

15%

Longines Conquest L3.687.4.56.6

 $1,280.00

 $474.00

37%

We arrived at our average preowned price by averaging sales from numerous auction houses. All were recent sales. Some of the less common watches, like the Ebel and Longines, did not have as much sales data as items like the Patek Philippe Aquanaut.

Our findings supported that of our table in part one. Here it is for your convenience:

Brands That Tend To Depreciate The Least*

  • Patek Philippe
  • Rolex
  • A. Lange & Sohne
  • Vacheron Constantin
  • Jaeger Lecoultre
Brands That Tend To Depreciate The Most*

  • Piaget
  • Ebel
  • Concord
  • Longines
  • Hublot
* Assuming brand new with minimal precious metals content, as such can cause increased after-market depreciation.

Average Preowned Price and MSRP

Value Retained

So why did the watches retain the values that they did? The lower four are by no means bad watches (personally, I’m very fond of the Longines), and all of the brands are veterans in the watch industry. Ultimately, any explanation we can provide is conjecture – though on a daily basis, we generally notice this level of depreciation for these brands during valuation.

What do you think of the results? Did any surprise you? What would you have done differently? Again, this is by no means a definitive guide to which brands hold their value the most. The study is by no means perfect. It does coincide with what we tend to see on a day-to-day basis, however.

Thanks to Prestige Time, le Guide des Montres, and eBay for the pictures.

Latest comments
  • Well, I am new to this and it has opened my eyes. I am still a bit “chicken” but I feel I will overcome this hesitation. Thank you for a great report and information. I appreciate it. // Gas…

  • Do a report on affordable watches THAT MOST PEOPLE HAVE MONEY FOR,WE KNOW mortgage watches hold their value more.all the big brand name’s.
    But I will love to see that report on affoedable watches,now I’m not talking about throw away watches.
    Oh we know what ebay is all about,buy one off ebay and hope it’s what they say it is.

  • how come Omega is not in this ? just wonder….

  • Very interesting info. Thank you. The more interesting question to me is, which brands retain there value the most when initial purchased as pre-owned. eg. What will the $1,400 dollar Hublot be in 5 years and what ell the $12,000 patek be worth? As an aside, my question about the study is, how long was the depreciation period for each watch? Was it consistent between brands?

  • This is a great topic for a blog post and very informative. Thanks for the great information!

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