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What Qualifies a Watch as a Collectible?

Imagine if you could have predicted how iconic certain watch models would eventually become. Think of watches like the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak that were nearly a flop and now a legend. Consider that a stainless steel model was once thought to be inferior to an all-gold one. Now, there are multi-year waiting lists for a Rolex Daytona or Patek Philippe Nautilus in stainless steel. It’s easy to feel like there’s no way to know if a model is going to be collectible until it’s too late. However, you can keep an eye out for certain things that might help you anticipate the next hit.

Popular as a result of association

OMEGA Seamaster Professional

When a specific model becomes associated with a specific celebrity, event, or franchise, run, don’t walk. Watch brands are acutely aware of the power of the people, places, and things with which they associate. I’m not talking about your typical celebrity endorsement. Most watchmakers are inundated with brand ambassadors these days, and their clout has dwindled. Consider what the James Bond series has done for the OMEGA Seamaster. Consider what Steve McQueen did in the film Le Mans for the TAG Heuer Monaco. When a model becomes a symbol of a particular pop culture icon, it is likely to become a collectible for decades.

Limited Edition

The most obvious indicator of a future collectible is probably limited edition models. The allure is in limited supply. It is also common for a limited edition to commemorate a specific event or innovation. This adds to the model’s backstory and perceived value. Limited editions, on the other hand, can be among the most difficult collectibles to obtain. Limited edition models are typically more expensive from the start. This is true whether it is done for the sake of exclusivity or as an indication of the complexity of the timepiece. They can also be difficult to obtain if you are not on a waiting list. If you want to collect limited edition models, we recommend keeping an eye on your favourite watch publications for release announcements. Making friends with your local authorised dealer is also a good idea.

Controversial or Avant-Garde?

Let the stories of models like the Royal Oak or brands like Hublot serve as a warning to those who listen to the naysayers. When the Royal Oak was first introduced, it caused quite a stir. It is now one of the most instantly recognisable models and sells for well over $5,000. Hublot didn’t sell a single watch with a rubber strap when they first introduced it. Almost every major watchmaker now has a model with a rubber strap option. If a watchmaker introduces a model that is particularly avant-garde or causes controversy, don’t dismiss it. It could become the next collectible.

Characteristics that are out of the ordinary

Imagine if you could have predicted how well-known certain watch models would become. Consider the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, which was nearly a flop before becoming a legend. Consider how once a stainless steel model was thought to be inferior to an all-gold model. There are now multi-year waiting lists for a stainless steel Rolex Daytona or Patek Philippe Nautilus. It’s easy to believe that there’s no way to tell if a model will be collectible until it’s too late. You can, however, keep an eye out for certain things that may help you predict the next hit.

Popular as a result of association

When a specific model becomes associated with a specific celebrity, event, or franchise, run, don’t walk. Watch brands are acutely aware of the power of the people, places, and things with which they associate. I’m not talking about your typical celebrity endorsement. Most watchmakers are inundated with brand ambassadors these days, and their clout has dwindled. Consider what the James Bond series has done for the OMEGA Seamaster. Consider what Steve McQueen did in the film Le Mans for the TAG Heuer Monaco. When a model becomes a symbol of a particular pop culture icon, it is likely to become a collectible for decades.

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