2023 Watch Investment Analysis: Navigating Rarity, History, and Market Trends for Optimal Returns

2023 Watch Investment Analysis: Navigating Rarity, History, and Market Trends for Optimal Returns
SIGNED LONGINES, REF. 21'838, MOVEMENT NO. 6'235'227, CASE NO. 7, MANUFACTURED IN 1942. Source - Christie's.

Watches have long been more than just timekeeping devices; they are wearable investments that have retained their allure. The AMR Watch Index was up 10% in the first half of 2023. However, a correction may be on the cards for some hyped watch styles.

What Makes a Watch Collectible?

According to the 'Knight Frank Luxury Investment Report 2023' the key factors that make a watch collectible are rarity, condition, history, originality, and provenance. Early pilot watches from the 1920s to 1950s are particularly rare due to the dangerous nature of aviation during that period. Military pieces can be even rarer, adding another layer of value.

The Importance of History

Watches have often been associated with historical events, famous people, and even movie stars. For instance, Longines watches have been worn by pioneers of flight and exploration. These watches often come with features like rotating bezels, which were crucial for navigation and could mean the difference between life and death for the wearers.

The Rise of New Collectors

New watch sales have grown substantially, leading to an ever-growing pool of collectors. Brands like Cartier, Piaget, Patek Phillipe, Vacheron Constantin, and Jaeger-LeCoultre have released designs that are considered collectible due to market forces and sometimes even shaped by influencers.

Where to Find and Buy Collectible Watches

There are various forums with knowledgeable collectors and reputable dealers who write and comment extensively on topics. Antique fairs, markets, books, magazines, and collector shows are great places to improve one’s knowledge. The advice often heard in this space is "buy the seller, not the watch."


The watch market is robust but also subject to corrections. Collectors and investors should focus on rarity, history, and provenance when selecting pieces. As the market grows, diversification and careful selection will be key to successful watch investment.


Knight Frank (2023), The Wealth Report Luxury Investments 2023. https://content.knightfrank.com/resources/knightfrank.com/wealthreport/2023/the-wealth-report-luxury-investments-2023.pdf

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