When I buy a watch, it’s because I like its design, its (hi)story, the people behind it, or a combination of all those and other things. I’ve never bought a watch because I thought it would be a good investment and I could make some quick money from it. However, it is still possible for a watch in your collection to become significantly more valuable than when you bought it. According to Chrono24’s data, that’s exactly what happened to my Cartier Santos and my Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso.

It’s not like I’m suddenly a millionaire now. However, an increase of 57% on the Reverso Duoface and a respectable 37% on the Santos Galbée XL is quite significant. What do you do when the value of your watches increases by that much?

A reassuring feeling

I bought most of my watches over the past five years. When I buy a watch, either new or pre-owned, I always try to buy it at a “fair” price. I compare the retail price with prices on the parallel market and then see if I can get the best deal possible. That’s why, based on estimations from Chrono24, all my watches have a higher hypothetical value than what I paid for them. These watches are among the most valuable things I own, so it’s reassuring that I’m not losing tons of money.

very versatile Cartier Santos Galbée XL

When I bought my 2006 Cartier Santos Galbée XL, I did so simply because I fell in love with its design. It wasn’t in production anymore, so I had to look for pre-owned examples. Eventually, I bought mine from another watch enthusiast, and, at the time, Cartier wasn’t as hot as it has been for the past couple of years.

I bought my Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classic Medium Duoface new with a slight discount. It was a couple of years ago, just before JLC began increasing its prices significantly. Right now, it’s one of the models on Chrono24 with the highest increase in value.

I know I shouldn’t take the Chrono24 data as the gospel truth, but still, if I chose to sell these watches, I would probably make a nice profit.

No good reason to sell

I won’t, though, because I enjoy wearing them way too much, I don’t need the money, and that’s not why I bought them in the first place. I buy a watch because I want to enjoy wearing it, and that’s exactly what I do with both the Santos and the Reverso. They form an important part of my regular watch rotation. I pay attention to their value because, due to my job, I’m interested in seeing what happens on the secondary watch market. On a personal level, though, whether they increase or decrease in value does not influence the enjoyment I get from wearing them.

It’s not like I look at my wrist and think, “What a great investment!” Again, it’s nice to know that they probably haven’t depreciated like crazy since I bought them. But I enjoy wearing my other watches just as much, and their hypothetical value didn’t increase as significantly as these two particular watches. I even paid full price for my Oris Art Blakey, and I probably won’t be able to ever sell that for as much as I paid. Nevertheless, it’s still a watch I very much enjoy wearing.


Prices went up in general

It’s true, though, that even if I were to sell my Santos and/or Reverso, I wouldn’t make tens of thousands of euros in profit. Maybe that’s also why I don’t feel an urgent need to sell them. Imagine if I had bought a Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 3700 about 10 years ago. Those watches went for roughly €10K then and are now worth around €100K. A potential profit like that might make the thought of selling my watches much more attractive.

However, I’ve asked a couple of watch collectors in that position, and they all told me the same thing: they’re not thinking about selling their watches. They all mention that they didn’t buy them as investment pieces. Besides, nearly all watches have increased in price, so buying something something nicer than the watches they already own. Most importantly, though, they still enjoy wearing their watches way too much.

Safety issues

On the other hand, when a watch becomes very valuable, wearing it could also become too risky. You could become a target. That, for me, would be a reason to sell a watch. Again, whenever I buy a watch, it’s because I want to wear and enjoy it. It wouldn’t feel right to put it in a safe because it would be too dangerous to wear it. Luckily, I don’t see that happening with any of my current watches.

What about you?

What have you done with the watches in your collection that increased significantly in value? Did you sell them? Are you holding on to them? Does it influence the way you wear them or not? I’m curious to read your thoughts in the comments below.