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Lena, Co-Founder of Konvi, sat down with Burak, TheWristGuy, to discuss his view on watches and investments.
Lena: Burak, I am very happy that you are part of our interview series and that we have time to talk about watches today. Would you like to introduce yourself for the viewers who don't know you yet?
Burak: Very happy to. So thank you very much that I have the opportunity here to also express my opinion and to all of you who do not know me I run the German-language YouTube channel TheWristGuy on which I upload videos for about two or three years around the topic of the watch world and also very often talk about the subject of appreciation or general investments on the subject of watches.
Lena: Great - here also directly the hint to everyone, if you have interest in watches go check out Burak’s channel, super exciting what you publish there: so definitely worth a click.
Maybe a short info about me for those who don't know Konvi and myself: I am Lena, Co-Founder of Konvi and Konvi is the first european platform that democratizes Alternative Assets Classes and makes them accessible to the broad population. We give our community the opportunity to invest in super rare and exclusive watches and that's why I am super hyped to talk to you, Burak, because you are simply an absolute watch expert and we have thought about a few questions with the Konvi team that are quite interesting for generally all people who find watches exciting and possibly consider them as a source of investment and I would say I'll just jump in with the questions and I'm curious what you have to tell about one or the other points. Let's get started. The first question is what is your absolute favorite watch and why?
Burak: It's a bit difficult for me to limit myself to only one watch, I would say one of my absolute favorite watches would probably be the Nautilus Patek Philippe 5712. Why? Because the Nautilus or let's say Patek is one of the most famous brands in the watch world anyway. Then the Nautilus is one of the iconic models and the 5712 for me just has such a tick more elegance and is a bit more special than the classic 5711 model.
Lena: Perfect. We also have a question about the Patek Nautilus later, but first a question in general: have you personally already owned a watch for pure investment purposes and if so, which watch was that and how did you come to take this step?
Burak: Well, for me it's like this I own almost every watch for investment purposes among other things, because like many others I can't just say I'm throwing 10,000 euros out the window now, so this investment character is relevant for me with practically every watch somewhere. But I have had exactly one watch that I actually bought only for investment reasons and that was my Rolex Submariner Hulk. This one I bought at the time because I already figured that it would probably be discontinued and that the price might go up and that it might be harder to get later. And that's exactly what happened.
Lena: Very cool and that means you weren't the biggest fan of the watch from the aesthetic or anything, but that was really just because it was probably more produced and so it was a good point to invest?
Burak: Yes exactly, so Hulk was for me never such a watch, where I said I want to have it, but of course I also like it, but that was really a very rational decision.
Lena: You also talked about the Patek Nautilus in one of your videos and just in general what do you think makes the watch special, also especially because it's your favorite watch and also a watch that's worth investing in?
Burak: It's a lot about the history and why the Nautilus is one of the most iconic models ever, along with the AP Royal Oak. Then there's the fact that, of course, the Patek Philippe brand is one of the most recognizable brands in the watch world. And these two things: 1) a very well known brand and 2) a very iconic watch model combine very well into a potential investment anyway. Then there's the fact that the Nautilus is instantly recognizable as a Nautilus and that it has a certain everyday character. That is, it is not too elegant not too sporty so it is extremely flexible to wear. Lastly, the Nautilus is also very hard to get, this results from the fact that it is produced in small numbers. So Patek controls their own output very strictly, they can't produce that much which creates a clear shortage. This doesn't necessarily have to be artificial, because Patek puts a lot of manual work into the watches and the demand is damn big. The whole thing is of course pushed by social media, and as a result people see a Nautilus everywhere online and would like to have one, but obviously can't buy one at list price. This, of course, causes the gray price to move up.
Lena: Did you buy the Nautilus then on the secondary market or directly from the retailer?
Burak: I actually don't have a Nautilus yet! But that's still to come! It's one of my favorite watches and yes it's coming for sure, but it's very difficult to get it from the retailer.
Lena: What would you do if you had 100,000 euros to invest? How would you invest money and why?
Burak: Well, I don't like to put all my eggs in one basket, so I wouldn't just invest in watches, but I think watches are one of the best investments right now. So I would probably invest a part in watches and maybe another part in stocks or something. In the case of watches, it would be something like Rolex, something conservative, where you can't do very much wrong and where there's not a lot of hype.
Lena: And with stocks, would you then also invest in a few stocks selectively and then also in a few ETFs?
Burak: Exactly. Just mix it up a little bit. A few ETFs, a few stocks that I selectively choose in companies that I personally like, that I personally believe in. But also generally great companies where we all know now they're not suddenly going to be gone tomorrow.
Lena: Super. I also find the diversification idea extremely important and that's always the advantage of watches, I'm curious if you see it the same way, because they just don't correlate so much in value with the stock market, so of course they also have a super good diversification potential. It just helps to stabilize your portfolio a bit, in case something like the Covid crisis happens and the stock market crashes completely.
Lena: Then we also have the next question relatively related even to the Covid crisis and that is: What do you think about future prices in the watch market, especially given the impact of Covid last year? Do you have any theories or a sense of how these might develop as a result of that?
Burak: I have a hard time with this kind of thing. In the past, you could say, okay, one model goes up or another doesn't and so on, that was a bit predictable. Now somehow I have the feeling that on the one hand it's very unpredictable, but actually in the sense that currently almost everything is going up in price. So there is somehow no watch, whose price would have fallen now somehow greatly in the last year. I don't know why this is the case - I assume it's because, among other things, the pandemic has made delivery times more difficult and much longer, and people have spent more time at home - that is, they've spent more time on social media and they've also had more time to look at investments. Especially those who maybe didn't have as much time before or didn't have the headspace for it. I think that has a little bit to do with the fact that the market in general is a little bit different now than it used to be and it looks like everything is kind of going to go up. So in times where even a simple Oyster Perpetual already is priced at three times the retail price, I honestly don't dare to say anything fixed anymore, but it looks like everything is going up.
Lena: Yes, it's definitely interesting. We'll have to see what's coming. Very cool, then we have another question: what characterizes a luxury watch that doesn't maintain or lose its value but actually increases in value and so is a good investment?
Burak: Yes, very important: I have already published a two or three-part video series on my channel, I always have 2, 3 clues how I determine something like that: Point one is always the brand, so it must be a renowned manufacturer. Of course, by now it's almost all Rolex, Audemars Piguet and Patek. Then it has to be a certain iconic model from that brand, so it's no use now if I buy an AP Millenary, it has to be a Royal Oak. With Rolex, it's practically every model now, and with Patek, it's all the steel models. And that's really it at the moment and you have to have a little bit of patience, because if you buy an iconic model from an iconic brand and you have a little bit of patience with you, practically there's a huge chance that the price will go up honestly.
Lena: Ok, super exciting, because we also have a question about this but you have now almost answered it already. The question is, whether you say that you should invest in watch brands or whether it's actually specific iconic watch models that predict a good investment? You are saying that it has to be both a good brand and an iconic model, right?
Burak: Yes, or rather I think the brand is primarily more important, so it has to be a Patek because, for example, an Omega as well as a renowned brand but not necessarily known for investments and even the renowned Speedmaster does not help much. So it has to be a Patek, for example, and then the next step is the question of which Patek. And then it has to be a reasonable Patek, because there are also Patek watches that don't increase in value that much, for example.
Lena: Perfect. What do you think is the biggest mistake beginners make in their investments?
Burak: I would say (this is going to sound a bit bad), but that they only buy what they like and that they look at a price-performance, so that they mostly buy the watch that has the best price-performance ratio. Just because a watch has a good price-performance ratio doesn't mean that it will somehow increase in value. For example, an Omega Seamaster is loved right now by pretty much everyone, both consumers and YouTubers, but the watch has virtually no increase in value because you can buy it everywhere and sometimes find lots of discounts. Now that doesn't make the watch worse, but it does make the watch at least a bad investment, let's put it that way.
Lena: Very interesting. And if you had a tip for viewers who want to invest in watches, apart from the tip that you just said that you should not only pay attention to what you like or price performance, do you have a general tip on how to access the watch, how to inform yourself beforehand, how much time you should take or maybe also what kind of budgets, so from what kind of budget it might make sense?
Burak: So in the meantime I think that you can invest very well even with a small budget and I would say as with any investment you have to do your homework. For example, there is also the question of whether to buy new or vintage - vintage is much more complicated, but the watches have the advantage that even if I buy a bad watch or buy a bad model in poor condition, I still have an increase in value if it is the right model and the right brand. You can't really go that wrong with watches if the basics fit. For example, I can buy virtually any vintage Rolex, any vintage Submariner, even if the condition is not so good, I will always have some stability. And especially if you're on a low budget, there are completely different brands, like Tudor for example, which are not that bad either, or some other vintage Rolex models for example. So there's a lot out there now, it's not always just a blanket "Oh a watch is too expensive, I can't afford it", there's already ways to get something like that. And if I want a new watch above all, then I have to build up a stable relationship with a concessionaire over the years. Then I just buy something else there, maybe a piece of jewelry or maybe a watch that's not so popular, and then something like that just happens. It's also an interpersonal relationship. If you only go to this concessionaire for one watch, then you won't get it. You simply build up a certain relationship over the years.
Lena: Yes, that's true. Networking plays a big role in the industry. Okay, super exciting, then we've actually already arrived at our last question and that is: which watch is still at the top of your wish list? We already know that the Nautilus is definitely on your wish list - do you have another one?
Burak: Yes, so many! So an Aquanaut would definitely still be on the wish list, specifically I would love an Aquanaut or a Nautilus with Tiffany lettering, that's practically even more impossible to get.On the wish list is also possibly a vintage Rolex Pepsi, I would still very much like to have something like that. And another Royal Oak extra thin with perpetual calendar. These are all a bit crazy models.
Lena: Very cool, I'll try to pick them out to show the models here in the video so that the viewers can see them. But in any case super, super exciting - thank you so much, Burak, for all your insights. I think it was also super interesting and I hope we will continue the exchange. I hope we can maybe bring you back in some future session to talk more specifically about certain models. In any case, it was a huge pleasure to interview you today and to all those who have watched or listened to this point: check out the channel of TheWristGuy, it is definitely super interesting. I wish you now a nice evening and thank you very much!
Burak: Thank you very much, wish you too! Thank you also that I was allowed to be there and yes then we stay in touch and I hope that we do something like that again soon!
Disclaimer: No financial advice.
Watch the full interview (in German) here.