Last weekend, I attended a get-together organized by the great people over at Bulang & Sons. Among the attendees, there were collectors of watches from all across the value spectrum. Some were focused on the more affordable side of things, and others definitely brought some high-end and rare watches. Of course, everyone got along quite well since we’re all in the same hobby in the end. And in many of the conversations with the guys (yes, there were only guys present) I asked them what they were considering for their next watch. It struck me that almost all of them said something like that they felt quite happy with what they had. They weren’t really actively hunting down any new watches. Could that have something to do with the current economic climate?

I have the feeling that, around the same time last year, people couldn’t stop looking for their next purchase. The (pre-owned) watch market was at an all-time high, yet people still kept buying watches. This was probably because they had the feeling that the watch they wanted to buy would also go up in value, so there wasn’t really any risk of losing a lot of money. A lot has happened in a year, and that certainly has had its effects on the global economic climate. And of course, the watch market has also been affected. Some are saying that it was a correction, but at least it’s clear that it has cooled down a little bit. And sure, times are a bit uncertain right now, but isn’t this the best time to buy your next watch?

Changing from a seller’s to a buyer’s market

I’m not a financial specialist in any way. I am actually an anthropologist by training. But when I look at the housing market in my hometown of Amsterdam, for example, I do think that now is a good time to buy. My wife and I have been looking for a new place to buy for a year and a half now, and that market has been moving along the same lines as the watch market has. There was a big boom in the first half of last year, and it has cooled down since then. Last year, sellers had plenty of viewings, and they could basically ask whatever price for their house, and buyers just had to put up with it. Now, though, sellers actually have to lower their prices and lure buyers in to even come and take a look.

That’s why people say that the sellers’ market from last year has turned into a buyers’ market right now. The only downside is that interest rates have also gone up in the meantime, so buyers might actually be paying more for a house per month now than they would have if they had bought a more expensive house last year. The big difference with the watch market, though, is that you don’t have to ask for a mortgage to buy (most) watches. As a result, you’ll actually notice that decrease in price when you buy a watch.

Pre-owned watches are relatively cheap

I get that these are uncertain times and that you might not want to go too crazy with your money. But maybe you’ve been looking at a certain pre-owned watch for a while now and have noticed that its price on the pre-owned market has gone down. In that case, it might be worth it to at least check it out, especially because the list prices of new watches will just continue to go up. For example, look at Thomas’s article on the differences in price between a new and a vintage Omega Speedmaster. Relatively speaking, vintage ones are getting cheaper because their prices aren’t keeping up with the price increases for a new Speedmaster. And I think that goes for many other watches out there.

IWC Doppelchronograph Ref. 3713 – It’s Double The Fun For Those Who Dare

IWC Doppel Chrono IW3713 with a Valjoux 7750 based movement.

So why not take a little gamble and buy the watch you’ve been considering for a while? Its price is probably lower now than it has been in the past three years. And isn’t taking a bit of risk exactly what’s so enjoyable about this hobby? As long as you’re doing it with money that you don’t actually need for buying your groceries, of course. I don’t buy watches as investments per se, but I do enjoy feeling like I got a good deal. And right now, a lot of the watches out there are available at a good price. It might even be their best price in the last couple of years.

Image courtesy of eBay

Go for it!

So, what are you waiting for? Again, I’m not a financial genius at all, and I don’t want you to take any unnecessary risks. But it might be worth going over your possibilities, right? After having added quite a few watches to my collection last year, I think I’m going to take it easy for a while. But I might snoop around on Chrono24 a bit to see how the current prices for watches I’ve considered before are doing.

What do you think? Are people just happy with their collections because they’re actually happy? Or is the unfavorable economic climate having an effect on their buying mood? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

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