Answering The “Dirty” Question — Is An Omega Speedmaster A Good Investment?
Rolex, Audemars Piguet, and Patek Philippe watches are not the only ones people buy as investment pieces. I often receive questions about investing in Omega watches as well, especially when it comes to Speedmaster models. The Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award from 2015 saw an increase in value few modern Speedmasters could match. Because of this, a noticeably larger audience has suddenly started considering the prospect of investing in Speedmasters.
Whether a watch is a good investment or not isn’t something only flippers care about. I find that those looking to make their first big purchase also consider this question as well. Buying one’s first luxury watch is often a big deal, and many people simply want to spend their money wisely. It’s no fun to find out your expensive watch lost 50% of its value the second it left the boutique. Although I think buying watches strictly based on investment potential is what made today’s market so messy, it does play a role in the mindset of many potential buyers out there.
An Omega Speedmaster as investment
Despite the hype around the Snoopy from 2015, that watch still somewhat represented a niche within a niche. Only those interested in watches knew about that Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award (although we enthusiasts like to think differently). For a few years after, we occasionally received questions about investing in Omega Speedmaster watches. But since the introduction of the 2020 Speedmaster Snoopy 50th Anniversary and the new Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Master Chronometer, we now receive the big question daily — is an Omega Speedmaster a good investment?
Strong price development
I must admit, an Omega Speedmaster can be a very good investment. But that’s mainly because I bought many of mine a long time ago. A good example is the Speedmaster Professional Tintin. That’s a watch that I purchased for around €2,200 in Japan in 2017. These days, that model fetches over €15,000. Or what about my Snoopy Award from 2003 that I purchased for €5,000 in 2013 (at already more than its original retail price of €3,400)? Today, that watch is hitting the €20,000 mark easily. Even “our own” Speedmaster Speedy Tuesday models have seen quite remarkable price development on the secondary market.
Two years ago, we sold some NOS (New Old Stock) Speedmaster Professional limited editions in our own Fratello shop. Even though we priced them according to the market back then, their buyers would not lose any money if they sold them today.
It can be annoying
The problem is, of course, that we don’t have a crystal ball. We can’t predict the future, and we’re not financial advisors either. I could never have imagined the Snoopy from 2003 or even the one from 2015 would go for absurd prices. Buying a discontinued limited/special edition from the past for a deal is becoming tougher every month, it seems. Not too long ago, one could very easily pick up the First Omega in Space model at a discount. But since its discontinuation, it has made quite a jump in value. Even the Speedmasters that garnered no interest for the longest time have increased rapidly. The “From The Moon To Mars” edition is a perfect example. And it’s especially annoying for those who want to purchase these watches to wear them. After all, not every collector just wants them as investment pieces.
The Speedmaster Apollo-Soyuz skyrocketed
I missed out on the Apollo XI 45th anniversary, for example. It has gone up so much (around €11-12K) that I can’t justify it anymore. Another one, and perhaps an even more extreme example, was the Speedmaster Apollo-Soyuz from 2010. The retail price was already quite high at the time — €3,000 on top of the regular Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch, just for a different dial. Granted, it is a meteorite dial, but today’s price is well over €25,000. In hindsight, it’s a perfect example of an excellent investment.
And even today, if you get your Speedmaster Calibre 321 or Speedmaster Silver Snoopy 50th Anniversary at retail, you would be able to flip it and earn a few grand. However, I hope you don’t, and you keep the watch and wear it.
The regular Moonwatch is going steady
Most of the time, however, the question of buying a Speedmaster as an investment relates to either the current Moonwatch Master Chronometer or the previous Moonwatch reference 322.214.171.124.01.005. Some authorized dealers still have the latter in stock. The last official retail price on that watch was €4,900, but the average price on Chrono24, the biggest online watch market, is now €5,700. The Moonwatch Master Chronometer on a stainless steel bracelet starts at approximately €6,700 (depending on which country you buy it in, as the VAT might be different).
You might take a little dip at first when purchasing this watch at retail. But the truth is that big discounts are not that common anymore on new Speedmaster models. Also, with periodical increases in price, the dip will disappear after a while as well. I rarely sell watches from my personal collection, but I have never lost money when selling a Speedmaster.
Asking whether it’s a good investment while having no plans to sell it
A few years ago, a friend of mine named Anne wanted to purchase an Omega Speedmaster Professional from the birth year of her son. She had started her own business — and successfully, at that — and wanted to celebrate by purchasing a nice watch for herself that she could gift to her son later on. She wanted a reference 3570.50 from 2007, so we looked on Chrono24 and were able to source one for her. Of course, she also asked whether it would at least maintain its value or increase in the future.
What she paid at the time, I think in 2016, was the going price for a pre-owned Moonwatch ref. 3570.50 for a long time. In the last 12 months, however, it has seen a steep increase as well. She has no plans to sell it and wears it as her everyday watch. However, as it will be gifted to her son at some point, I think it reassured her that she made a good decision in buying this watch. She paid a little above the average price (see the chart below), but the watch was in NOS condition — one of her requirements.
According to the Watch Collection tool on Chrono24, the average price of the reference 3570.50 is now around €4,370. Now, these charts are somewhat an indication of the going prices for these watches. Some think there’s a lot of room for negotiation, but Chrono24’s CEO also showed me the actual sales prices for certain references. Based on the transactions done, it is safe to say that, in general, there’s not that much difference between asking prices and selling prices.
So, if you’re in it to quickly flip your watch, I’m convinced the standard Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch Master Chronometer is not interesting to you. But if you just want to make sure your money is well spent, I think you can’t go wrong with the current model. The market for certain vintage Speedmasters, however, is where, admittedly, the biggest investment potential lies. Now, trying to purchase a Speedmaster CK2915, CK2998, or even 105.003 and assuming it might still double or triple in the future is a risky gamble. It’s also a very capital-intensive one, I would say. To those interested in a vintage Speedmaster with a somewhat affordable price tag that will still develop nicely in value, I suggest you look into the last tritium Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch models from the 1990s. With these, you will also have the big advantage of finding full sets with boxes and papers as well.
I even believe that Speedmaster Professional reference 145.022 from the 1970s and early 1980s are solid investments today. Although the prices on most of these 145.022 iterations hasn’t increased as steeply as on some of the limited editions, they have shown rather healthy price development over the years.
In the end, I think your investment should be in enjoying your passion for watches. I truly dislike people buying a new limited-edition or limited-production Speedmaster (besides the fixed number, there’s not really a difference) just to make a quick buck. It’s not that I don’t want them to make money. What bothers me is that it is at the cost of the true collectors and enthusiasts who are unable to purchase the watch they want to wear. But if you just want to make sure your money is well spent, and you have no intentions of selling the watch anyway, I don’t see anything wrong with asking whether a Speedmaster is a good investment. It’s all about the context of the question.