Vintage pocket watch open on desk

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Collecting classic old timers

With values rising, the vintage watch market continues to grow

The value of vintage watches is on the rise. According to Knight Frank’s "The Wealth Report" from 2019, the value of vintage watches grew by 5% in the previous 12 months. 

A rise in values has not just been a short-term trend, with growth of 73% over the last ten years.

The enormous potential value of a vintage watch was emphasised with the sale of a 1970 Rolex Daytona "Unicorn" in 2018. Sold by Phillips with Bacs & Russo for US$5.9m, this was the most expensive watch sold at auction that year, and highlights just how much buyers are willing to pay for the right timepiece.  

Further reasons to buy a vintage watch

Beyond the return from an eventual sale there are three additional reasons why vintage watches can be a sound investment:

1. VAT: Unlike a new watch, second-hand vintage items are VAT free.

2. Depreciation: Vintage watches, by their very nature are not new, and therefore won’t depreciate as soon as you wear them.

3. Provenance: A vintage watch has its own place in history - even if not rare or not previously worn by an individual of public interest, it still represents a unique moment in time.

Things to consider when buying

Do your research

There are many sources available to help you tell your Casio from your Cartier – from trade magazines and podcasts to blogs and websites. Previous auction sales results can provide an understanding of market prices, including which brands are most highly prized.

Be aware of the "buyer’s premium"

When buying at auction it is important to be aware of the "buyer’s premium". This is a fee that the auction house will add to the sale price to cover their costs. It differs between auctioneers and can add over 25% to the final cost. Despite this, many collectors find that buying at auction can still be cheaper than through a dealer.

Don’t just think of it as an investment opportunity 

When looking at buying a vintage watch, it is important to pick one that you will enjoy owning and wearing for years to come. Then, to ensure that it holds its value down the line, take time to care for and protect your watch.

Get it valued regularly

If you do decide to make a purchase, it’s vital that you get it valued regularly and insured correctly. NFU Mutual Bespoke Home Insurance offers protection for your home and its valuable contents, providing peace of mind should you decide to invest in a vintage watch or other high value pieces.

Periodic valuations are important, as their value can change over time – so if you don’t get regular valuations you could find yourself underinsured. We offer access to a panel of expert valuers who can, for a fee, provide guidance and valuations.