Watches That Hold Value
There are three questions I’m repeatedly asked by would-be watch buyers: What should I buy? Will it hold or increase in value over time? What’s a good second-hand purchase? Generally, my advice is that Rolex and Patek Philippe are among the best brands in terms of holding their values. For example, a Rolex stainless steel sports watch is always a safe bet. With Patek, pretty much everything holds its value, but an annual calendar or one of the sports models are as safe as it gets. You only have to look at auction results to see how these two brands perform.
So which brands represent good value on the second-hand market? There are lots of watches that fit into this category.
A Jaeger LeCoultre is always a great choice as you get so much value from this very high-tier brand. I would, however, argue that good value, to some extent, is in the eye of the beholder. How it looks on your wrist is important and not just what price-point you bought it at. And how much you enjoy wearing your watch adds the most value. For example, I would like a Roger Dubuis Monegasque as it looks great, it’s slightly offbeat, not many people have one and a used version will have lost quite a chunk of its original purchase price. Will it go up in value? Probably not. In fact, I’d probably lose money if I sold it. But would I care? No, because I would enjoy wearing it.
But what will hold or appreciate in value and also look great? A good example is the 36mm Rolex Day-Date (known as “The President”) in yellow, rose or white gold. A few years ago Rolex released a larger 41mm version, which retails at around Dhs140,000. Unfortunately, and mostly due to its size, the larger version seems to have made its way into too many music videos on MTV and, in a lot of cases, looks a bit too bling for such a classic and recognised design. I wish Rolex had upgraded it to 38mm or 39mm, but what do I know?
The good news is that the 36mm is now a great buy, especially if you purchase a used version. First introduced in 1956, it has graced the wrist of many influential people. Rumour has it that Rolex always offers this model to every newly inaugurated president of the United States, and as such it has been seen on the wrists of presidents Roosevelt Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Reagan. Marilyn Monroe gave a yellow gold version to JFK. That watch sold for Dhs440,000 in 2005. There is also a great photo of the Dalai Lama meeting Prince Charles wearing a very rare Lapis blue dial version. Jackie Stewart, the legendary racing driver, and golfer Jack Nicklaus have never worn anything else. It has been in every gangster movie I ever seen and if it’s big enough for Tony Soprano, then it’s certainly big enough for your wrist. If you’re still not convinced, Tom Cruise wore one in Rain Man and Barry White “the love doctor” sang some of his most famous songs while wearing his 36mm. The list just goes on.
This is a watch I aspired to own when I was younger. I did not think there was anything better or more expensive out there than a gold Rolex, but the best bit is that a pre-worn version won’t actually cost the Earth. I have seen a very good 2002 model on blowers-jewellers.co.uk for around Dhs60,000 (reference 18238), which is pretty much half its retail price if bought new today. It’s even better if you go vintage, and you can find great deals on the white or yellow gold vintage model reference 1803, which can be purchased for around Dhs35,000-40,000. Momentum in DIFC (momentum-dubai.com) has a great selection of Rolex Day Dates both modern and vintage (see above). Tariq, a very knowledgeable Rolex expert and the owner of Momentum, has started putting them on fabric Nato straps and a varying range of leather straps, and I have to say the results are pretty cool. Above is what he has on offer and what you can get for your dirhams. My advice is pay him a visit as there are so many options for this watch.
The 36mm Day-Date is one of those watches that will continue to look great in fifty years’ time. Also, many of the fairer sex have taken to wearing the 36mm version, so you could also treat your better half to wearing it on the odd occasion. Victoria Beckham wears one, and David has been seen in a yellow gold vintage 1803 model on a leather strap, so it can truly be considered a unisex watch. Which one would I buy? That’s easy: either a yellow or white gold vintage (reference 1803) on brown leather strap, just like David Beckham’s. He doesn’t make many bad style choices these days.