The best watches to invest in are those that will become tomorrow’s vintage classics. But how do we know which timepieces these are? The truth be told, no one can predict which luxury watches will grow in popularity and become investments, and which ones we should steer clear of. There are many factors involved in determining which models make for the best investment-worthy watches.
It all comes down to qualities like brand prestige, consumer loyalty, fashionable styles and aesthetics, and watches that have proven to be long-time favorites. Several luxury watch brands continue to hit people’s sweet spots, creating wristwatches that are loved universally year-on-year. But investible watches fluctuate yearly. Some brands do better than others.
In this guide to the best watches for investment, we’re going to look at some watch brands that remain at the forefront of cutting-edge technology. These are brands that have well and truly cemented their position within the world of Haute Horlogerie. Browse through the top ten best investment watches to look out for in 2020, and get a good feel for which watch brands and which luxury watches to put your money on next.
View The Best Investment Watches Below
1. Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea Oyster Bracelet
The best overall watch for investment has to be a Rolex. We’ve chosen the Sea-Dweller. The Deepsea watch features an Oystersteel case that includes a monobloc middle case, a corrosion-resistant Oystersteel bracelet, a screw-down crown with Triplock triple waterproofness system, and a domed scratch-resistant sapphire glass lens.
All these features enable this Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea watch to uphold its impressive water-resistant capability of 3,900 meters!! The luxury watch is a great investment piece since it gives you all the technology you’ll need for professional diving, including a unidirectional rotating bezel and a luminous dial, plus lots more!
+ 3,900-meter water resistant Oystersteel case with Triplock crown
+ Black ceramic diving bezel
+ Black luminous dial with date at 3 o’clock
+ Calibre 3235 – 70-hour power reserve – Parachrom hairspring
+ Screw-down case with helium escape valve
Why We Like It – The 60 minute graduated bezel of this Rolex Sea-Dweller watch can only reduce remaining dive time for complete diver safety.
2. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Blue Dial Automatic
Our premium choice for an investment piece is this Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, integrated with cutting edge technology, housed inside an iconic design. The Royal Oak is AP’s most popular collection. This watch features a stainless steel bracelet that will secure around your wrist with a folding clasp for a snug fit.
The blue “Grand Tapisserie” dial is home to white gold hour markers and Royal Oak hands with a luminous coating. As an investment piece, Audemars Piguet holds its value well. They’re incredibly sought-after even on the second-hand market. The iconic hexagonal-shaped case with 50-meter water resistance protects the beautifully crafted manufacture caliber 4302 at its center.
+ Glare proof sapphire crystal glass front and back
+ Blue textured dial with gold appliques
+ Date window at 3 o’clock
+ Stainless steel model with 50-meter water resistance
+ In-house made caliber – 70-hour power reserve
Why We Like It – Stainless steel Royal Oak models are a desirable collector’s piece since the design is so instantly recognizable and unique on the market
3. Longines Heritage Classic
If you want to get the most for your money, this Heritage Classic watch from Swatch Group-owned company, Longines, combines style with performance. Its elegant copper surface directs you to the time via a set of blued steel hour and minute hands. The even numbers on the hour track are presented in Arabic numerals, whereas the odd numbers are presented in beautiful ball-bearing shaped bulbs.
A small second dial is provided by the automatic self-winding L609 caliber, which will provide you with a 42-hour power reserve. The beige calf leather strap with steel buckle gives this luxury watch an authentic vintage-inspired feel.
+ Copper dial with legible blued steel hands
+ 40mm steel men’s watch with 42-hour power reserve
+ Scratch-resistant sapphire glass lens
+ 30-meter water resistance
+ Small seconds dial at 6 o’clock
Why We Like It – You can remove this Longines Heritage Classic watch from the wrist and rest assured it will keep perfect timing, thanks to its impressive power reserve.
4. Rolex Submariner Watch
We’re coming back to Rolex with another tried and tested model from the luxury watchmaker. This yellow Rolesor case, which combines traditional 18k yellow gold with steel, provides a stunning contrast against the vibrant sea-inspired blue colored dial of this Submariner watch.
If you want robust materials, a diving-inspired aesthetic, and a reliable engine – the Rolex Submariner is an investment piece for life. Rolex watches will always sell for a reasonable price on the pre-owned market, especially models from the manufacturer’s flagship collection.
This 40mm Submariner watch features a 300m water resistant Oystersteel case housing an independently manufactured movement. A unidirectional rotating blue ceramic bezel, screw-down Triplock crown and sapphire crystal glass lens with cyclops feature over the date window at 3 o’clock, make this watch such a recognizable favorite.
+ 300-meter water resistance
+ Blue cerachrom unidirectional rotating diver’s bezel
+ 3135 Calibre – Parachrom hairspring – 48-hour power reserve
+ Oysterlock safety clasp and Glidelock extension system
+ 40mm Oystersteel case with yellow gold
Why We Like It – The Submariner is the ultimate tool for diving, adventure-seeking, and day-to-day living.
5. Breitling Limited Edition Navitimer
This limited-edition Breitling Navitimer B03 Chronograph Rattrapante watch bears a large 45mm diameter across the wrist and is crafted from 18k red gold with a stealthy black chronograph dial. This spilt seconds chronograph watch is one of Breitling’s most complicated timepieces. Lightly shaded counters at 3, 9, and 6 o’clock accompanied by luminous hands and injections of vibrant red color seen here and there make this Breitling Navitimer watch one collect and cherish.
The limited model has two patents making it an incredibly desirable wristwatch to add to your collection. The push-piece crown at 3 o’clock stops and restarts the split-seconds hand for you, while a 70-hour power reserve means you can be without the watch and still rest assured it will keep accurate time.
+ Split-second chronograph feature
+ Date window at 4:30
+Black leather strap with white contrast stitching
+ 18k red gold case
+ Powered by the Breitling B03 manufacture
Why We Like It – This luxury watch from Breitling also features a bidirectional slide rule bezel
6. Omega Seamaster Railmaster Automatic
This Railmaster watch from Omega’s Seamaster collection is powered by a Co-Axial chronometer movement, developed in-house by Omega. Seamaster watches are highly sought-after by collectors since they showcase some of the company’s finest materials and innovative know-how.
If you want a watch that will allow you to take a quick swim but also accompany you to an evening of sophisticated drinks afterward, this 40mm steel Omega Railmaster watch will ensure the Calibre 8806 performs effortlessly inside an anti-magnetic housing. At the same time, vintage Super-LumiNova details will light up the dial for you in dark conditions.
+ Caseback features a NAIAD LOCK design
+ METAS tested movement
+ Anti-magnetic qualities
+ 150-meter water-resistant case
+Screw down crown and brushed steel bracelet with folding clasp
Why We Like It – The Omega Seamaster models are passed by METAS standards, ensuring the highest level of precision and quality is adhered to during its manufacture.
7. Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot Travel Time Automatic
This Calatrava Pilot Travel Time watch from prestigious luxury watchmakers, Patek Philippe, is the perfect investment piece if you’re looking for a watch that will combine the classic style of a dress watch with features that you can utilize while traveling.
Calatrava watches can sometimes sell for more than their original retail price due to being so desirable. This model is powered by the Caliber 324 S C FUS movement, which provides you with a dual time zone, a day/night indication, a local date, sweep second hand and a 45-hour power reserve.
+ 18k rose gold case – 60-meter water-resistant
+ Local and home day/night indication
+ Brown leather strap with off-white contrast stitching
+ Sapphire case back showcasing an in-house caliber
+ Dual time zone on a brown sunburst dial
Why We Like It – We love the retro-inspired feel Patek Philippe has created with this pilot-friendly watch, dressed in brown and rose gold tones.
8. Omega Seamaster Automatic
Omega is a reliable manufacturer who has refined its expertise in creating diver’s watches belonging to the iconic Seamaster collection. With an impressive 300-meter water-resistant steel case, this Omega Seamaster watch is sure to tell the time accurately under dark depths of water, thanks to luminous hands and markers and an antiglare sapphire glass lens.
A stainless steel bracelet with a folding clasp secures the watch to the wrist firmly. Additional features include a unidirectional rotating diver’s bezel to keep track of remaining dive time while underwater, a helium escape valve, and a sapphire glass case back to admire the impeccably built Omega Master Chronometer Calibre 8800.
+ 300-meter water-resistant steel diving watch
+ See-through sapphire case back
+ Laser-engraved sun-brushed PVD chrome-colored dial with wave effect
+ Anti-magnetic case with screw-in crown
+ Chronometer-tested caliber with 55-hour power reserve
Why We Like It – This 42mm Omega Seamaster watch with a date window at 6 o’clock, is completed on a stainless steel bracelet, enabling you to dress it up with a suit for formal occasions.
9. Panerai Luminor Marina Automatic
Panerai Marina models make for great investment watches since the history of the brand is told like a story through each design. These diver’s watches bear slightly retro-inspired looks from the 1950s and have stayed true to the originals, albeit with slight improvements made to the luminous material used in their dials.
This Panerai Marina model boasts its tremendous crown protector and luminous dial details, accompanied by a small seconds dial in blue at 9 o’clock, along with a date window at 3 for keeping on track of a busy lifestyle. Powered by an in-house developed caliber, this 100-meter water-resistant watch is perfect for adding retro accents to a smart suit for the office and comes complete on a traditional black leather strap with off-white stitching down the sides.
+ Diving-inspired tool with luminous dial
+ 100-meter water-resistant
+ Oversized crown protector
+ Antiglare sapphire glass lens
+Powered by an in-house movement
Why We Like It – Panerai’s distinct Marina design is highly collectible by those who are invested in the company’s rich heritage in traditional watchmaking.
10. Tudor Heritage Black Bay
The Black Bay watch collection by Tudor is highly-sought after. Collectors have a desire to invest in these luxury watches since they combine traditional watchmaking skills with indispensable features used for diving. This 41mm steel case features a black dial with grey indexes and a dark blue anodized aluminum unidirectional rotating bezel.
Unique features like the Tudor rose logo in relief on the steel screw-in winding crown, and a blue anodized aluminum winding crown tube make this Tudor diving watch the perfect tool to wear for formal occasions, outdoor adventure-seeking and exploring underwater with its 200-meter water resistance.
+ 200-meter water resistance
+ Unidirectional rotating bezel in blue
+Legible dial with luminous accents
+ Stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp and safety catch
+In-house developed movement
Why We Like It – The domed sapphire crystal glass lens of this watch mirrors the domed shape of Tudor’s innovative diving dial underneath.
Investment Watches Buyer’s Guide
What makes a watch so investible?
Even though the modern man or woman has a phone for telling the time, there’s just something irreplaceable about wearing a classic wristwatch. They have an appeal and stylishness that a phone just can’t compete with. There are hundreds of watches out there on the luxury wristwatch market at the moment, but which ones are investible, and how do we know which timepieces to look out for in the future?
There’s no doubt that an investible watch is a model that combines traditional watchmaking with modern-day cutting-edge technology. Manufacturers are competing in an industry where patents reveal more than just a useful function. They provide the collector with an insight into the brand and what they stand for – the company’s heritage, for example, or an invention made in answer to a particular type of wearer’s need.
Breguet’s Type X, Type XX, and Type XXI watch, for example, were created for the French Naval Air unit in the 1950s. In contrast, Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms watch was developed around the same time but for professional divers, underwater photographers, and scientists. Investible watches also need to promise values of reliability, durability, comfort, and practicability.
Watch brands that are steeped in history have often evolved their manufacturing skills, honing into the needs of the wearer much deeper and refining their watchmaking traditions to an expert level. Those brands, proud of their watchmaking heritage, include the likes of Rolex, Vacheron Constantin, Patek Philippe, TAG Heuer, Omega, and Audemars Piguet, among many others. After all, consumers will always invest their money in a manufacturer that can look back on a history of success, be that a washing machine, a computer, or a luxury wristwatch.
The fact that the best watches for investment are often developed by brands who restrict their production to limited numbers makes them more desirable. If you own a watch that becomes rare, you automatically own a more valuable watch without even trying! Your watch can instantly become a status symbol associated with luxury and prestige. People pay exceptional amounts of money for this. They want to own a rare timepiece because it reflects the status of wealth as well as good taste.
Despite many believing that the more luxurious the materials used in the design of a watch, the more valuable and investible it will be – this isn’t always the case. Some of the most prestigious watch brands have manufactured highly sought-after stainless steel watches that have become so popular because of their robust and everyday appeal.
Making models in limited numbers will sometimes result in suppliers paying more to secure orders. Value, therefore, has a ripple effect, with consumers paying top-end prices for watches that are only so highly-priced because they are short in supply.
In this guide to finding the best watches to invest in this year, we’ve covered the factors that make a watch so investible, as well as our top 10 investment timepieces for 2020. It’s possible to follow trends by researching what other collectors are raving about to an extent.
Popular vintage wristwatches of the past will always give a clear indication of the most well-loved designs to earmark for investment purposes. Good solid research, year-on-year brand performance, and keeping up-to-date with current trends amongst elite watch collecting circles is an effective way to stay in-the-know. It’s also a great indicator of which watches are piquing collectors’ interests in real-time.