What determines the value of a watch?

Jul 25, 2012
What determines the value of a watch?

Quite simply the emotional attachment or "i've got to have it value" mentality of the prospective owner.

In that regard, they're similar to diamonds. They have zero intrinsic value. They don't do anything but look sparkly, but people want them for emotional reasons. As Alton Brown would say, a watch is for the most part a unitasker. You can get a much better quartz/electronic watch that looks nice for a few hundred dollars that keeps better time than a ladies 18K solid gold case and bracelet, mechanical diamond bezeled Omega Seamaster for $20k, but some people want the glitz.
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Well-Known Member
May 31, 2010
provoctive thread. I own Rolex, Blancpain and Omega...Planet Ocean Chrono. I like it better than my rollie cosmograph. I do not think of watches in the way you do however...status symbols ? Weak sauce..

Not purposefully trying to be provocative, but I am definitely letting my ignorance and my biases show through. Having grown up in poverty until 12 or so, I always saw luxury in 2 ways. First, there was "old luxury". It was for "rich" people from a higher class or caste. In my minds eye, I always saw an old lady, probably the queen, driving a Rolls Royce that broke down every couple of weeks. However, she had to have the Rolls to signal to society that she was better and richer than everyone else.

But lately, as the world grew economically, a lot of "new luxury" brands have come on the market. These types of products, like a BMW car, a $5 latte, a $50 bottle of Belvidere vodka, or a high end audio system, all offer an emotional experience and tangible benefits to the enjoyer. A cup of Maxwell house is not the same experience as the $5 latte and a trip in a Ford is not the same as a trip in the BMW.

So I guess I am trying to figure out what tangible benefits enjoyers and consumers of expensive watches derive and glean from their timepieces. Other than a cool design, I don't yet see what drives value of fine watches.


Well-Known Member
Dec 26, 2010
Not purposefully trying to be provocative, but I am definitely letting my ignorance and my biases show through...I am trying to figure out what tangible benefits enjoyers and consumers of expensive watches derive and glean from their timepieces. Other than a cool design, I don't yet see what drives value of fine watches.
From what i understand, its the appreciation of the workmanship that went into it. Take a bar of silver for people who collect old silver...if they really just loved the silver, just buy a bar of silver and leave it on the table. The real reason though is someone says...this has been handed down generations...someone carved this piece intricately and its beautiful and i enjoy using it and looking at it at the same time.

I think a watch is the same for those who appreciate the ability to have something on them that they carry with them at all times that is both functional, beautiful and well made. I know a guy who has several...a lot of Lange...and he loves the fact that the movements are some of the best made, that the second hand is so smooth you cannot see it 'tick'...it slides across the face of his dial, the design, the hand stitched alligator...and the fact that the whole mechanism can be submerged under 50m when swimming (so actually about 100m waterproof)...and then its also beautiful to look at and he enjoys that every time he looks at the time.

For some, that dont do a thing...not a thing. Beauty is in the eyes.


Active Member
Jun 5, 2010
About 20 years ago, I visited the Blancpain factory. Their marketing head told me that the three inputs to make a watch are the materials used such as gold or platinum, the wear and tear on the tools and the cost of hiring a watchmaker. A platinum watch cost a lot more than a gold watch because platinum takes a longer time to work on and wears out the tools 10 times faster than working on gold. Their watches are made by one single watch maker from start to the final product. These watchmakers are very unpredictable in their work habits. They will only work when they are in an inspired mood, and when they are in that mood, they work non stop until they collapse and at times even end up in the hospital.

As for appreciation of their value, I will give two actual cases. In the late 1970s, one can purchase a Patek calatrava with gold strap for about 15k US dollars. That same model is still in production and will cost at least 50k US dollars today. Twenty yers ago, one can buy a Vacheron skeletal watch in white gold with diamonds around the bezel for about 20k US dollars. Today, this same watch will cost 90k US dollars.

As for the young not being interested in watches, this I think is generally true. I just have a 14 year old daughter who is a watch lover. If her interest stays until the time she can afford to buy watches, I am certain she will be a watch collector.


Well-Known Member
Apr 20, 2010
Pleasanton, CA


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Aug 31, 2010
Mexico City
Both my 18-year old son and I like wrist watches, I like more traditional designs like IWC, Jaeger and Chopard while he likes more new Omegas, Hublot or HYT - at any rate, a fine watch is a piece of art, dedicated craftmanship and high POO, sadly enough he is not (yet) into hi-end audio and remains as a respectful watcher when I listen or helps me carrying heavy boxes to my audio room :)c

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