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The 3 best ways to invest in luxury watches

Lena Sonnen

luxury watch

Portfolio diversification with alternative assets are not a new trend even though it seems like it as more and more small investors and first time investors are looking for ways to build a well-diversified portfolio. More and more research is showing that watches can be a great potential investment if one is able to select the right investment strategy and the right model at the right time and price. Let’s explore the 3 best ways to invest in luxury watches:

1. Watch Investment Vehicles and Platforms

Well-established investment vehicles and investment platforms allow investmenting in watches for anyone, whether expert or not. Return-oriented platforms and vehicles usually list and access the best watch investments with the best potential returns. Let’s explore each one:

Investment vehicles with strong track records are able to access the rarest watches at the best prices from the primary market to allow their clients to invest in. The biggest watch investment vehicle in the world is WatchFund led by CEO Dominic Khoo. Dominic is one of the only certified watch experts and shareholder of multiple Swiss watch manufacturers as well as the auction house Antiquorum. He has been investing in watches for more than 20 years and is able to identify and access the best pieces based on his expertise and experience. His clients are super wealthy individuals only as his accepted minimum investment is no less than 250,000$. Famous soccer players like Roberto Firmino trust Dominic with their watch investments.

Investment platforms like Konvi App specialize in democratising the traditionally-exclusive watch investment space and make it very easy to invest in watches with small amounts. Konvi App collaborates closely with the above-mentioned WatchFund to open up their investment vehicle for the broader population of investors not willing or able to invest 250,000$ in watches only. They are attractive investment channels not only for watch enthusiasts but also for those not familiar with watches but solely seeking good returns and means to diversify their portfolio. How does it work? Konvi allows their users to buy fractional shares of rare watches sourced by WatchFund and let them participate in the item’s value appreciation over time. Users can track their investment in the app directly and keep the investment for the pre-defined appreciation period or exit earlier by selling their shares on the secondary market.

Advantages: WatchFund is able to source the rarest watches worth around 100,000€ to 250,000€ which means they are some of the most sought-after watches in the world, as they are usually produced in very few pieces. This also means the likelihood for an impressive return is very high, as the watches are so rare on the market. Platforms like Konvi are also regulated by the Irish Central Bank which makes them a regulated investment vehicle in an otherwise non-regulated industry and protects their investors.

Disadvantages: Investment vehicles like WatchFund are extremely exclusive, only accepting client with at least 250,000€ minimum investment ticket. Platforms such as Konvi are opening up the space accepting investment tickets from only 250€ but might not be so attractive for watch investors who want to wear their watches themselves because the watches are not given to investors for personal uses to protect the watch and its value. Yet, watch investors who want to complete their collection with some rare pieces which they don’t keep at their own home, might still be interested in these investments. Moreover, caution is required for some investment platforms not partnering with world-leading specialists, as they might not be able to source the assets for the best prices and investors will therefore not be able to make good returns. Also given the fact that not every watch is a great investment and it requires experts to identify the models returning great returns in the future and not in the past.

2. Investing in New Watches

Another type of watch investment can be buying a new watch from a retailer. Usually this comes with longer waiting times and if you’re a first time buyer at that retailer, you need to buy more pieces, some less-sought after for a while to build a client relationship and to be able to access the more sought-after pieces you want later on. Moreover, this investment strategy obviously also requires a great deal of liquidity from the investor, as investment grade watches are rather those priced higher than 30,000€ at retail price. But next to liquidity, expertise and knowledge is important. If you buy the watch solely for investment purposes, it’s quite tricky, if you also buy it to wear and enjoy it, you will win in any case.

Advantages: If you are able to access and buy a luxury watch directly at the retailer and you’re also enthusiastic about the model itself, the greatest advantage is definitely that you can wear the timepiece. Moreover, depending on the watch model you might be able to sell it right away on the secondary market for a profit.

Disadvantages: Disadvantages include the long waiting times, the network building required to be considered as a potential client for some watch models, and the fact that retail watches priced between €5K–€20K are often not “investment-grade” watches.

3. Investing in Vintage Watches

Finally, vintage watches can be a nice value-storing investment. Buying vintage watches on certified platforms allows buyers to acquire nice pieces, usually in good conditions which are often ideal to store value, as they are unlikely to lose their worth.

Advantages: Vintage watches can be found on certified platforms ready to buy. Yet, if you’re not quick to decide they might also be sold quickly. Luckily, the value of most vintage watches is very stable and the watch can therefore be easily sold for the same amount again, or depending on the model also for a profit.

Disadvantages: Make sure that the watches are certified, as for watches also fakes and fraud cases are not an exception. Moreover, vintage watches might not return the highest returns, as they usually already had their biggest price increase between primary and secondary market.

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