In the past year, the demand for new luxury watches has reached an all-time high, with a value of $59 billion.* Consumers are steering away from fast fashion and investing in long-lasting, quality items—sometimes as an investment. Many are looking for value for their money and are willing to spent more when the item or brand aligns with their values.
Here are a few trends we’re seeing and what that means for the booming luxury watch market:
The pre-owned luxury watch market was worth roughly $18 billion in 2018, and is projected to grow to more than $30 billion by 2025.* That’s in part because many of the top luxury watch brands, such as Patek Philippe, Rolex, Audemars Piguet, and Richard Mille, only produce a limited amount of stock per year to ensure exclusivity and quality. Supply chain issues and manufacturing closures have also slowed down production, elevating the scarcity of new watch production—which has led to an increased demand in the secondhand luxury watch segment.
What was once considered a timeless piece is now often not enough. These days, people are personalizing their watches, with custom dials, engravings, and straps to make them more meaningful to the recipient. While this trend is not new, fashion cycles often repeat themselves. One of the most famous watch engravings was gifted to Paul Newman back in 1968. His wife gave him a Rolex Daytona with the words “DRIVE CAREFULLY ME” engraved on the caseback when he took up racecar driving after his role in the 1969 film Winning. Newman’s Rolex would famously sell at auction for $17.7 million USD† in 2017.
Many couples are finding watches a stunning, practical alternative to the classic engagement ring. Luxury watches are also seen as sentimental pieces, kept in the family for generations, much like jewelry. Engagement watches have also become an option for same-sex couples who are looking for a unique way to show their commitment to each other and for women who want to pop the question to their boyfriends. ‡
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