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Thread: retitled: Watches are becoming too expensive. Please discuss

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  1. #1
    Craftsman
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    retitled: Watches are becoming too expensive. Please discuss

    Like many things due to Covid/Brexit/inflation/supply issues and a myriad of other reasons, the prices of watches are increasing. Sometimes in large increments, and sometimes rapidly. Iíve noticed it especially in the price range that I regard as expensive - which was around £4k just one or two years ago, whereas these same watches are now typically over £5k, and are still increasing either with each new iteration, or even for the same watch as time passes.

    Due to this, I no longer consider buying ďexpensiveĒ watches that I fancy. I donít look for cheaper watches as alternatives either. Iím training myself to look at the pretty pictures without getting out the credit card, in the same way as I do when looking at the out-of-my-price range Lamborghiniís or other exotica on car websites. I do this because I no longer think that most watches are worth their asking price.

    I donít mean this to be a discussion about the reasons why prices are increasing (Fratelli discusses that here https://www.fratellowatches.com/ ) but rather what you feel about the increases and how it might be changing your buying or collecting habits.
    Last edited by YCymro; 3rd June 2023 at 20:43.

  2. #2
    Grand Master
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    What have you bought previously? That's a good starting point for discussion, tell us how the increases have changed your buying habits.

  3. #3
    Master
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    I have stopped buying watches because I have more than enough and I bought all of them way below todays value. Therefore they are investments as well as works of art.

    If I was younger I would certainly buy good quality watches because they are big boys toys and the chances are they will continue to escalate in value over the longer term and then they cost you nothing if you ever sell them at a profit.

    To me the future for good watches is bright.

  4. #4
    Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick P View Post
    I have stopped buying watches because I have more than enough and I bought all of them way below todays value. Therefore they are investments as well as works of art.

    If I was younger I would certainly buy good quality watches because they are big boys toys and the chances are they will continue to escalate in value over the longer term and then they cost you nothing if you ever sell them at a profit.

    To me the future for good watches is bright.
    Past performance is no indicator of the future. Watches have proved to be a good investment over the past 20 years but there's no guarantee that the trend will continue ever-upward.

    The significance of the conventional wristwatch in people's lives has changed dramatically in recent years; popularity of these items is in decline and the number of people who don't wear one continues to grow, the majority of people don't seem interested in proper watches anymore.

    In my opinion watches are too expensive, I can`t say this has changed my behaviour because I`ve never been one for buying new watches. I didn`t buy new when prices were 40% of current levels so perhaps my opinion doesn`t count for much!

    Another factor to consider is the ever increasing cost of service and maintenance. I talked to a guy last week about problems with a 6 year old Omega SMP with the 2500D movement which was behaving erratically, I was unwilling to get involved and advised him to contact one of the limited number of Omega accredited repairers. Cost to service that watch is bound to be in excess of £375, Omega would charge £500, that's a lot to pay out and the prices will only continue to rise.

    I'll continue to own older/vintage watches that I can service myself, but if I was the younger version of myself who got interested in watches in the mid-90s I certainly wouldn't get involved to the same extent if I was starting the journey today.

    Conventional watches have become a minority interest and demand for the expensive stuff is bound to suffer eventually.

  5. #5
    Yes, I do think so. I donít know if the market can absorb these prices. The worst offender in my view is the new IWC Ingenieur. There is nothing in the watch to support the outrageous price.

  6. #6
    Grand Master TaketheCannoli's Avatar
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    Yes. Latest Moon Watch at £7400 is insane. Seamasters are now far too expensive.

  7. #7
    Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaketheCannoli View Post
    Yes. Latest Moon Watch at £7400 is insane. Seamasters are now far too expensive.
    Only in your opinion.

    There will almost certainly be a waiting list for these watches, if not there soon will be, which proves that the demand is there.

    It seems to be the case that good quality watches sell whilst the cheap stuff just lingers.

  8. #8
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    Which, to be fair, is pretty well the opposite of vintage, where quality matters a lot less than a mention in Hodinkee. You want a quality watch to last a lifetime, buy one that already has. As for prices, the only possible direction is not down.

  9. #9
    Master Christian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick P View Post
    Only in your opinion.

    There will almost certainly be a waiting list for these watches, if not there soon will be, which proves that the demand is there.

    It seems to be the case that good quality watches sell whilst the cheap stuff just lingers.
    Waiting list for Seamaster/Speedmaster? You can just order them online straight away from Omega can't you?

  10. #10
    Master Christian's Avatar
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    Certain brands, yes, I think so. Whilst I could afford to buy a Rolex, I no longer wish to...seems like a complete waste of money. I used to buy into watches because of the tool-like nature - Rolex being the ultimate divers/sports watch, Brietling being the pilots watch etc. Over the last decade, they've just become symbols of extravagance in a really bad Instagram-flaunt-your-wealth way.

  11. #11
    Master smokey99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick P View Post
    Only in your opinion.
    I strongly suspect this is the opinion held by the vast majority of people both here and in the real world.

    If you think a £7,000 stainless steel watch is reasonably priced then it suggests you may be living in a bit of rarefied bubble.

    Even within TZ community there is still likely only a proportion of members where they can happily afford such a watch and not worry about that amount of wealth strapped to their wrists.

    It's all relative of course and some are clearly better value than others as a result of strong residuals.

    But that's only from the perspective as cautious buyer.........from a business case for the likes of Rolex, Omega, Breitling etc they must be reasonably priced as sales appear to be really healthy.

    So what we think is clearly irrelevant!

  12. #12
    Master
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    My mind boggles at the price rises too. Omega, tudor, rolex and so on have been increasing price at well above inflation for the past decade if not more. Or that's my perception. The resulting tag price for black bay, seamasters, Submariners and so on is eye watering.

    I kind of feel I ought to thin my small collection but it's not easy!

  13. #13
    Master jukeboxs's Avatar
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    The comment on only in your opinion applies to any response on this forum, they are just one person's opinion (no more valid than any other).

    I still buy new watches from the same brands, as I still appreciate mechanical watches, I know what watches I like, and I like to wear them - the ever-increasing prices do make it more painful. There will be a price point at which I'll move onto other brands on my list. Not losing money on resale does help though (if nothing else, in convincing my wife it's all part of a well-diverisified savings portfolio).

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mick P View Post
    Only in your opinion.

    There will almost certainly be a waiting list for these watches, if not there soon will be, which proves that the demand is there.

    It seems to be the case that good quality watches sell whilst the cheap stuff just lingers.
    I donít know where youíre shopping for Speedmaster and Seamasters but there are no waiting lists. In a moment of rare ubiquity, you can just walk in, hand over money and get them.

    But the prices are just stupid. In an old man moment for the agesÖ. I remember the timeÖ you could get a Seamaster for a grand and a Speedy for two. Five grand for a Seamaster is just daft. Seven and a half for a Speedy is no more sensible.

    And that IWC IngenieurÖ Christ, youíd have to be daft to buy that at todayís price.

    By way of a strategy, I buy less often and Iím more keen on a nice discount.

  15. #15
    Master helidoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PSTW View Post
    I donít know where youíre shopping for Speedmaster and Seamasters but there are no waiting lists. In a moment of rare ubiquity, you can just walk in, hand over money and get them.
    A year ago I looked at a 3861 Speedy, already having one of Ryanís £2500 bargain 1861s from 2017.

    Immediate availability, but no discount unless you regard an extra strap as that, and thatís meant to be OK as itís building a relationship. I passed.

    D


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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaketheCannoli View Post
    Yes. Latest Moon Watch at £7400 is insane. Seamasters are now far too expensive.
    I paid £2600 for my Speedmaster in 2018, it's nearly tripled in price. I know it has developed & evolved but I remain unconvinced that it's now 3 times better than my one is...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy2254 View Post
    I paid £2600 for my Speedmaster in 2018, it's nearly tripled in price. I know it has developed & evolved but I remain unconvinced that it's now 3 times better than my one is...
    The 3861 Speedie is one of the worst offenders IMO.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy2254 View Post
    I paid £2600 for my Speedmaster in 2018, it's nearly tripled in price. I know it has developed & evolved but I remain unconvinced that it's now 3 times better than my one is...
    Probably bought mine not long after and paid a bit less I think and in my honest opinion I donít think even at that price itís worth the money there were and still are plenty of chronograph watches out there for less that are just as well made.

    At 7 grand thatís just utter madness

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by robert75 View Post
    Probably bought mine not long after and paid a bit less I think and in my honest opinion I donít think even at that price itís worth the money there were and still are plenty of chronograph watches out there for less that are just as well made.

    At 7 grand thatís just utter madness
    You'd struggle to get any change from £4k now for a second hand, big box edition 1861

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy2254 View Post
    I paid £2600 for my Speedmaster in 2018, it's nearly tripled in price. I know it has developed & evolved but I remain unconvinced that it's now 3 times better than my one is...
    Agree with that .I paid Ä3k for my big box version pre owned in 2020 .I love the speedmaster and doubt I will ever part with it but the new one is not that much better to warrant the price Ä8800

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Speedy2254 View Post
    I paid £2600 for my Speedmaster in 2018, it's nearly tripled in price. I know it has developed & evolved but I remain unconvinced that it's now 3 times better than my one is...
    Neither is 500g of butter

  22. #22
    Anyone paying retail for a new Speedmaster must be bonkers. They are easily obtainable on the grey market for a significant discount on retail if you don't mind a lightly used one.

  23. #23
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boring_sandwich View Post
    Anyone paying retail for a new Speedmaster must be bonkers. They are easily obtainable on the grey market for a significant discount on retail if you don't mind a lightly used one.
    Used <> Grey market.

    That said, I agree, a Speedmaster is crazy prices nowadays, but then you'll look very silly when the bottom falls out of the Rolex market if you paid grey market prices.

    Of course, most (not all, before Rolex fans get all bent out of shape) people who buy Rolexes aren't interested in the watch itself, they just want the brand, which is how the prices are sustained.

    M
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  24. #24
    Quote Originally Posted by snowman View Post

    That said, I agree, a Speedmaster is crazy prices nowadays, but then you'll look very silly when the bottom falls out of the Rolex market if you paid grey market prices.
    Anyone that paid over retail for a Rolex were also bonkers!

  25. #25
    Grand Master Chris_in_the_UK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by boring_sandwich View Post
    Anyone paying retail for a new Speedmaster must be bonkers. They are easily obtainable on the grey market for a significant discount on retail if you don't mind a lightly used one.
    100%
    When you look long into an abyss, the abyss looks long into you.........

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by TaketheCannoli View Post
    Yes. Latest Moon Watch at £7400 is insane. Seamasters are now far too expensive.
    Is that the list price now for the `bog standard` Speedy Pro Moonwatch?

    Is it now a Co-Axial?

    Manual wind NLA?

    What`s the ref now for the Moonwatch?

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by E_2_Right-Force View Post
    Is that the list price now for the `bog standard` Speedy Pro Moonwatch?

    Is it now a Co-Axial?

    Manual wind NLA?

    What`s the ref now for the Moonwatch?
    Sapphire Sandwich on bracelet.

    A hesalite 'bog standard' moonwatch is £6400.

  28. #28

    Red face

    That makes the Speedmaster Cal. 321 'Ed White' almost good value at £14k list - especially as it's so rare as to be almost unobtainable.


    Quote Originally Posted by TaketheCannoli View Post
    Yes. Latest Moon Watch at £7400 is insane. Seamasters are now far too expensive.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by TaketheCannoli View Post
    Yes. Latest Moon Watch at £7400 is insane. Seamasters are now far too expensive.
    I bought my first Moonwatch in 2004 from a Glasgow based Ďgreyí seller via eBay for a negotiated £860. It had been supplied by an Italian AD and I considered my purchase to be a bit of a bargain at the time. He had at least two more Moonwatches and a couple of steel Rolex Submariners.

  30. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by RAJEN View Post
    Yes, I do think so. I donít know if the market can absorb these prices. The worst offender in my view is the new IWC Ingenieur. There is nothing in the watch to support the outrageous price.
    Oh yes, I saw the new IWC Ingeniur, too. I thought it's a rather nice watch until I saw the price tag......£10,500
    I almost peed in my pants....

  31. #31
    Grand Master
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAJEN View Post
    Yes, I do think so. I donít know if the market can absorb these prices. The worst offender in my view is the new IWC Ingenieur. There is nothing in the watch to support the outrageous price.
    I really liked the teal one they released this year, until I saw the price tag.

  32. #32
    Master
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    I think itís getting crazy. Some of the hikes from the likes of JLC are just daft.

  33. #33
    Personally I think they are, I’m glad I brought my small collection of omega watch when I did but have zero urge to buy a new one
    They have gone from 20% off new price to +20% and no discount
    Last edited by Balance wheel; 13th April 2023 at 18:29.

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by Balance wheel View Post
    Personally I think they are, Iím glad I brought my small collection of omega watch when I did but have zero urge to buy a new one
    They have gone from 20% off new price to +20% and no discount
    I am surprised at this comment. If you can negotiate a 20% discount off a new watch then it has no brand value. That means it will almost cost you money by devaluing and you can bet your bottom Dollar the a low value watch gets repaired by some local toe rag and then goodness knows what the watch will end up like.

    A watch that commands a premium is sought after and it will probably increase in value over the years. The maker will be fussy who is supplied with parts and all this increases the brand image.

  35. #35
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    Interesting how many mentions the Speedmaster gets in this thread.

    Twice I have been into Omega with the RRP burning a hole in my pocket; and twice I walked out empty handed - simply unable to get my head around it costing a mere 4k (at the time).

    Seems I missed a relative bargain compared to todays prices, so clearly the Speedmaster boat has well and truly sunk for me at 7k plus!

  36. #36
    Master helidoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RAJEN View Post
    Yes, I do think so. I donít know if the market can absorb these prices. The worst offender in my view is the new IWC Ingenieur. There is nothing in the watch to support the outrageous price.
    The new Ingenieur is a particularly egregious offender with respect to what you actually get at RRP. JLCís increases over the last couple of years are also bonkers.

    They need to attract future buyers, and that means Gen Z, not the Baby Boomers / Gen X that have sustained them. Gen Z doesnít look much beyond a phone or Apple Watch. If these companies arenít careful, they will wish themselves out of existence.

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  37. #37
    Master Christian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by helidoc View Post
    They need to attract future buyers, and that means Gen Z, not the Baby Boomers / Gen X that have sustained them. Gen Z doesnít look much beyond a phone or Apple Watch. If these companies arenít careful, they will wish themselves out of existence.
    I do wonder if Rolex, Omega etc have a long term plan or whether there is a strategy to maximise profits whilst watches are at peak popularity. The problem with a luxury good is that it is a bit of a one way street...if sales start to drop off, you can't just lower your retail prices without cheapening the brand.

  38. #38
    Master
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    To the original question I donít think watches in general are too expensive. They are priced at the level the market supports, if they donít sell at that price manufacturers will reduce the price.

    People have to decide what watches are worth to them. If they donít want to pay the current price, they either donít buy or move down the value curve. There are plenty of watches available from a fiver upwards.

  39. #39
    Master Ruggertech's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paule23 View Post
    To the original question I donít think watches in general are too expensive. They are priced at the level the market supports, if they donít sell at that price manufacturers will reduce the price.

    People have to decide what watches are worth to them. If they donít want to pay the current price, they either donít buy or move down the value curve. There are plenty of watches available from a fiver upwards.
    Down the value curve? Price curve maybe, but not value.

  40. #40
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    Yep. Watch companies are taking the p*ss with prices in my own humble opinion. But, they can get away with it because there will always be people willing to shell out. I personally will not be buying anymore more luxury pieces. There is nothing out there that I really want anyhow. I get same enjoyment from owning £50-£60 casios as I get from more expensive pieces.


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  41. #41
    Grand Master snowman's Avatar
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    At one end of the market, it appears that people will pay frankly mental amounts for watches which have intrinsic value nowhere near their cost, but that's luxury items for you.

    At the other end of the market, though, you can buy properly water resistant watches (forget all the 1000M WR, we're talking watches that withstand a scuba dive) in 316L stainless steel, with sapphire crystal and a reliable and often accurate (again, ignore the spec ranges and look at the real world time keeping) Seiko produced movement for well under £100.

    So, YES and NO!

    The watch world is a crazy place!

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian View Post
    Certain brands, yes,... Over the last decade, they've just become symbols of extravagance in a really bad Instagram-flaunt-your-wealth way.
    I don't know how old you are, but Rolexes fitted that description (less the Instagram reference) in the 1980s! More Loadsamoney than Influencer, but it's not much different.

    M
    Last edited by snowman; 13th April 2023 at 13:11.
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  42. #42
    Master
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    The high value of some of the modern SS watches makes them less enjoyable for me. Hardly wear my BLNR due to it, itís a shame as I am back travelling again and itís all the watch you ever need.

  43. #43
    Master Christian's Avatar
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    Part of the problem for me is the association. I've always known that mechanical watches are 'overpriced' in that you are always paying a significant proportion of the price for marketing...it's the brand and how it makes you feel which is the reason you are paying thousands for something that actually only costs hundreds to make. In the past, I had the association that, for example, the Rolex Sub was the ultimate divers watch or the Speedmaster was the choice of astronauts.

    Nowadays, whenever I think of Rolex as a brand, my first association is just those grotesquely rich people that park their lambos on Bond Street or muggers on mopeds weilding hammers, rather than a professional diver. I don't really aspire to the image it presents me any more.

  44. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by Christian View Post
    Part of the problem for me is the association. I've always known that mechanical watches are 'overpriced' in that you are always paying a significant proportion of the price for marketing...it's the brand and how it makes you feel which is the reason you are paying thousands for something that actually only costs hundreds to make. In the past, I had the association that, for example, the Rolex Sub was the ultimate divers watch or the Speedmaster was the choice of astronauts.

    Nowadays, whenever I think of Rolex as a brand, my first association is just those grotesquely rich people that park their lambos on Bond Street or muggers on mopeds weilding hammers, rather than a professional diver. I don't really aspire to the image it presents me any more.
    Bit like the whole IWC CEO thing, selling dreams. Produce for this much and sell for this much. Brands will just pull people as far as they can the only difference is these days is people seem to be falling all over themselves to pay what they are asking and almost seeing it as a privilege for a company to accept their money.

    You have to hand it to these people, create a market that the buyer actually thinks you are doing them a favour by taking their money.

  45. #45
    Grand Master abraxas's Avatar
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    What I do see is that due to the price increases watch aficionados will change their habits from "watch collections" to "one or two exceptional watches"... just like the good old days.
    I work on a razor blade between gimmickry and amazement. Ė Richard Mille

  46. #46
    Quote Originally Posted by abraxas View Post
    What I do see is that due to the price increases watch aficionados will change their habits from "watch collections" to "one or two exceptional watches"... just like the good old days.
    Perhaps, but also there are very good watches in terms of construction and technical specifications that are at a much lower price point. I think that the prices quoted in this thread for Rolex and IWC are frankly ridiculous. I'm not crazy wealthy by any means but I do just fine, cars are paid off, mortgage is perfectly reasonable, and I just wouldn't be comfortable with wearing something the price of a used car on my wrist. It's a diminishing returns thing. I'm very happy with my Smiths and my G-Shocks and Citizens and will just admire the expensive ones on other peoples' wrists.

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  47. #47
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    I would have to say yes, they are.

    I think they have well and truly arrived with regards the absurd prices they are asking, even in the time I have been on here and into watches, which isn't that long really. I now live in Perth, W.A. and when you look at the Australian prices for Omega as an example, it's eye watering.

    I rather like the new Omega Aqua Terra with the funky new dials but they are the best part of A$10,000!!! Absolute madness and for the most part, new watches are not an option, and they didn't use to be. I understand the relative pros and cons but come on folks, let's wake up eh!

  48. #48
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    My own two pennies on this subject is that everything is becoming more expensive and watches are just a part of increasing prices for everything.

    But I might have misunderstood the question =)

  49. #49
    Master
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    The price increases to us hobbyists can be frustrating but ultimately these are businesses aiming to maximise profit so you have to assume the market is absorbing it and boosting their bottom line.

  50. #50
    Grand Master
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    Maybe only in terms of disposable income,or the worry about resale values.
    But generally expensive pre owned watch values are decreasing!.

    Just look at some brands how thay have fallen.....is it now a buyers market.


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