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Investment watches: The best brands and designs to collect

Best Investment Watches

For most people, watches are practical accessories that add a dash of style or professionalism to an outfit. But, if you're a seasoned collector or starting to think about investing in watches, you'll know a well-considered collection can be a goldmine.

Of course, there are so many brands, models, and design features out there that buying a new watch can be overwhelming, regardless of your intentions. When looking to purchase an investment watch that's going to hold its worth — or even increase in value — things can get complicated.

To help you make the best decision when you're shopping for an investment watch, we're going to share our top tips. We'll recommend some of the best investment watch brands, outline some of the most sought-after features and details, and explain how you can do your research to ensure you’re getting a good deal.

Just remember, with investments, nothing is ever guaranteed, so it's important you also carry out plenty of extra research and use your own insight when deciding whether making a purchase is going to be the right choice for you.

1. Buy from the best investment watch brands

When you're shopping around for the best investment watch, the easiest way to narrow your options down is by brand. This is because watches from top brands are most likely to hold their value. Here, we're going to outline which brands we would recommend looking at, so you can make the most fruitful investment.

Rolex

Mention investment watches to anyone and Rolex is likely to spring to mind. It's one of the best investment watch brands around, and its watches have become a statement for wealth and class, making its models in high demand. As a result, Rolex watches can make a great investment, although some designs are typically more valuable than others. If you would like to learn more about the brand as a whole, make sure you read our piece about the Rolex history and brand.

What is the best Rolex for investment?

Of course, Rolex has created a huge array of different watches, and it’s coming out with new models all of the time. So, if you're truly looking for an investment piece, you need to think carefully about which watch you're going to buy.

The Rolex Submariner is one of the most popular styles, thanks to the fact it's smart and durable with a sporty finish. It's sleek and has watertight integrity to depths of about 300 metres, so it’s no wonder why this style of watch is so highly coveted by collectors. As a result, there are plenty of people out there who are willing to pay a premium to get their hands on one, which means, if you’re lucky enough to bag one for a reasonable price, you’ll be likely to make a pretty penny if you decide to sell it on in the future.   

The Rolex Daytona is another model that has seen considerable price growth on the pre-owned market, and there's no sign of this stopping any time soon. The best example is perhaps the Rolex Daytona 16520 'Inverted 6', which has a highly sought-after white face, and an error on the dial (hence the 'Inverted 6' nickname).

Rolex's GMT-Master and GMT-Master II are always in high demand, too. Originally designed to meet the needs of international pilots, they’re quite remarkable. They have distinctive 24-hour hands, rotating 24-hour advanced bezels, and the GMT-Master II even lets the wearer keep track of three time zones at once. Both models combine style and functionality perfectly, which is why they make such great investments.

If you're looking to buy, we have a wide range of pre-owned Rolex watches, which are certainly worth a browse. There are lots of styles for both men and women, so you should have no trouble finding one that suits your needs.

Patek Philippe

Patek Philippe is an independent, family-owned, and traditional Genevan watch manufacturer — the last of its kind, in fact. The business was established in 1839 and has created watches some connoisseurs consider to be the finest around. It has its own research and development departments, where all of the movements and external components are engineered. All of the cases are produced, finished, and assembled in-house, and Patek Philippe services and repairs any watch it has made since the beginning. This level of commitment to its craft is unique, and it's one of the reasons its watches are so coveted.

What is the best Patek Philippe watch for investment?

After Rolex, Patek Philippe is the most popular watch brand among investors, and there are three models in particular that get a lot of attention.

The Patek Philippe 5170 Chronograph is a beautifully simple watch collectors love, which makes them a great investment. Its 1940s design has a deep black face and a smart leather strap, so it's incredibly stylish and sophisticated. Despite the fact it was primarily designed as a sports watch, this style works well with a suit and tie, as well as more casual outfits, so its versatility works in its favour, too.

The appreciation of the Patek Philippe brand has been strengthened greatly by its Nautilus timepieces. The Nautilus is a luxury sports watch, which was created by famous designer Gérald Genta and first introduced in 1976. The Chronograph ref. 5980 was introduced in 2006 to mark the 30th birthday of the original design, and it's the ultimate sports watch in both form and function. Many collectors consider these watches to be masterpieces, and their value is steadily rising all of the time, making them a fantastic investment.

The Patek Philippe Chronograph ref. 5070, released in 1998, was the brand's first basic chronograph watch released in almost 40 years. The design was based on a unique aviator's split-seconds chronograph dating back to the 1950s, with the Lémania-based Caliber CH 27-70 movement. For these reasons, it's by far the most celebrated Patek Philippe model.

You'll often find Patek Philippe watches in our selection of other watch brands, so make sure you check back regularly to grab a good deal on one of their famous designs.

OMEGA

OMEGA's watches have been seen on the wrists of presidents, kings, astronauts, and fictional spies, so one would make a fantastic addition to your collection. The brand uses traditional craftmanship, state-of-the-art materials, and relentless innovation to make some of the best watches around. OMEGA has set more precision records than any other watch manufacturer — all of this goes a long way to making its watches some of the most highly sought-after on the pre-owned market.

What is the best OMEGA watch for investment?

The OMEGA brand has become synonymous with space travel, its timepieces have been helping astronauts explore space since 1962. Its Speedmaster is particularly famous, since it was worn by Buzz Aldrin in July 1969 when he became the first man to land on the moon. This inevitably earned it the nickname of the Moonwatch. Understandably, this model quickly became one of the most celebrated chronographs in the world,  making these watches very difficult to get hold of. But, as a result, it’s likely you’ll turn a profit if you invest in and sell a Speedmaster on down the line.

Another of OMEGA's most famous timepieces is the Seamaster Railmaster. The first model from this collection was released in 1957, and the style recently made a much-anticipated return with updated touches of style and a new mechanical movement. Buying a vintage Railmaster is going to be the best course of action if you're looking for a short-term investment, but if you want to play the long game, it’s likely even the newest designs will go up in value as the years and decades go by.

The OMEGA Seamaster 300 is also a fantastic watch any collector would be lucky to have. It's James Bond's watch of choice and is increasing in resale value faster than most other models on the pre-owned market. If you look hard enough, you might even be able to find the quartz version of the Seamaster, which will soon be phased out. Discontinued watches typically become far more valuable, so one would make an incredible investment.

We stock a wide range of pre-owned OMEGA watches here at Est.1897, so if you're interested in any of the models we've mentioned, we're sure to have one that will fit into your collection perfectly.

Panerai

Giovanni Panerai opened his first watchmaker's shop in Florence back in the 1860s, and the store was moved to its current location in Piazza San Giovanni at the beginning of the 20th century.

In 1916, to meet the needs of the Royal Italian Navy, which the brand had already been supplying with high-precision instruments, Officine Panerai created Radiomir, which is a radium-based powder that can illuminate the dials of sighting devices. The high-visibility and underwater adhesive qualities of the substance quickly made it a key element in Panerai's designs, kickstarting a new level of innovation for the brand. It has continued to create new and exciting designs, cementing its place as one of the best investment watch brands.

What is the best Panerai watch for investment?

Many Panerai watches are made in particularly small numbers, putting them in very high demand. Plus, the brand has managed to create a variety of models that have developed somewhat of a cult fan base, making even its core models popular. 

Panerai's Luminor Marina might not be limited edition, but it still has passionate fans all over the world. This model has a chunky, cushion-shaped face, and comes at a reasonable price as far as luxury timepieces are concerned. If history is anything to go by, the value will only increase as time goes on — especially if you can get your hands on an early example of this particular model. It's the best investment watch from the brand.

Here at Est.1897, we stock a selection of pre-owned Panerai watches well worth a browse. Our range often includes the Luminor Marina, so look no further if you're wanting to make an investment.

Vacheron Constantin

On 5 July 1819, François Constantin said: "Do better if possible, and that is always possible",  a sentiment embraced by the Vacheron Constantin brand. Founded in 1755, Vacheron Constantin is the oldest watch manufacturer still operating today, and it has done a fantastic job of fusing tradition and innovation to create its incredible timepieces since the very beginning.  

What is the best Vacheron Constantin watch for investment?

In 2005, to celebrate its 250th anniversary, Vacheron Constantin created the most complicated watch the world had seen: the Tour d'Ile. Only seven were made. The brand broke the record again in 2015 with the Ref.57260, which boasts 57 complications. These watches are incredibly difficult to find but, if you do manage to purchase one, you could be sitting on a goldmine.

You'll frequently find Vacheron Constantin watches on our other brands page, so if you're looking to invest in one, make sure you browse our selection on a regular basis!

Jaeger-LeCoultre

Jaeger-LeCoultre has been manufacturing watches in the Swiss Jura Mountains since 1833. It combines 180 expert skills under one roof to craft incredibly intricate and reliable timepieces. From the start, the Maison has created more than 1200 calibers, which has helped it to earn a fantastic reputation within the watchmaking industry.

What is the best Jaeger-LeCoultre watch for investment?

The Jaeger-LeCoultre Polaris Memovox was released to celebrate the 50th birthday of the brand's iconic Polaris. There were only 1,000 made, which adds to their exclusivity and desirability, and the subtle nods to the original 1968 design helps to attract vintage fans.

The undeniably smart Jaeger-LeCoultre Deep Sea Chronograph is a model that’s in high demand, too. Revived from the brand's historical archives, it's already got a committed following, which means it makes a great investment watch.

If this is a brand you're looking to invest in, you might be interested to know that we stock a wide range of Jaeger-LeCoultre watches here at Est.1897. And, from time to time, you will find some of the most highly coveted styles in our collection, so it's well worth checking back on a regular basis if you can't find what you're looking for straight away.

Oris

Oris is a Swiss brand that has been creating impressive timepieces for more than 100 years. Its watches all have distinctive designs, as well as a red rotor, which is the symbol of Oris mechanicals. It’s also been seen on the wrists of everyone from top Formula One drivers to jazz stars and professional divers. So, whether you're looking for a showpiece or a practical accessory with unique features, Oris' range of watches is going to have exactly what you're after.

What is the best Oris watch for investment?

One of Oris' latest diver watches commemorates the inspirational life of Carl Brashear, the first African-American and amputee to become a US Navy Master Diver. The bronze-cased, two-counter chronograph is the second limited-edition watch the brand has dedicated to his memory, and it's admired by watch collectors everywhere. So, if you're looking to invest in a smart-looking timepiece with a lot of heart, the Oris Carl Brashear Chronograph Limited Edition could make the perfect choice.

The Oris Divers Sixty-Five is a beautiful vintage-inspired diver watch based on the brand's heritage. It has released a number of similar designs, all of which have increased in value over time, so one of these models can make a smart investment.

You’ll find Oris timepieces in our selection of other watch brands, make sure you browse our selection and keep checking back to see if the accessory you’re coveting becomes available.  

Longines

Longines is another Swiss watch brand well worth looking out for. Established in 1832, the watchmaker is heavily devoted to retaining the tradition, elegance, and high level of performance associated with the brand. Every Longines timepiece is made with an expert level of craftsmanship and fantastic attention to detail.

What is the best Longines watch for investment?

Much like when a record company remasters and releases an old classic, the Longines Heritage 1945 has been plucked from the brand’s archives, given a subtle update, and introduced back into the market. It has a retro look, with its copper-tone convex and aged leather strap. It’s no wonder why timepiece fanatics everywhere are looking to get their hands on one. So, if you’re lucky enough to find one, keeping it in your collection to sell when they’re inevitably discontinued could earn you a pretty penny.

The Longines Heritage Chronograph can also make a great investment, thanks to its classic but stylish look. The brand has made full use of its history and engineering expertise in designing this timepiece, and it certainly shows — this model is as timeless as it is well-made.

Want to see some of the Longines watches we stock? Make sure you check out our selection of other watch brands, where you’re bound to find a much-coveted model or two!

Tudor

Hans Wilsdorf, the creator of the Rolex watch brand, wanted to design watches that could be sold at a more modest price than Rolexes, and that’s how Tudor was born. The most important thing to remember is while they can be bought for slightly less, they still attain the same level of dependability you get with a Rolex, which is why they’re so highly coveted by watch collectors. But, which models are most likely to increase in value over time?

What is the best Tudor watch for investment?

When you’re looking to invest in a watch you’ll be able to sell for a profit eventually, it’s wise to go for classic models likely to garner the most interest, regardless of what’s on-trend. If this is the strategy you choose to go with, you’ll struggle to do much better than one of Tudor’s Heritage Black Bay models.

Two of the most sought-after versions are the standard model and the S&G model. This refurbed variation has a dual composition of steel and yellow gold that will attract even the most seasoned watch collector.

Want to get your hands on a gem from the brand? Make sure you browse our range of pre-owned Tudor watches, where you’re likely to find some great investments that will make a fantastic addition to your collection.

Breitling

Léon Breitling, the founder of the Breitling brand, was an incredibly skilled watchmaker who also made intelligent measuring tools. The innovative features he created for his timepieces earned him a reputation as a master of his craft and, in 1889, he received his first patent for a simplified model of a pocket watch. Ever since, the brand has been creating watches any collector would be glad to get their hands on.

What is the best Breitling watch for investment?

Breitling’s Navitimer is arguably the brand’s most recognisable model, thanks to the fact these watches have been gracing the wrists of pilots since the 20th century. Early examples are becoming collectible and increasingly popular, if you do see one you’re interested in buying, don’t wait long to close the deal! There are a number of Navitimer models worth collecting, including the 806, Rattrapante, and the B01 Chronograph.

Here at Est.1897, we offer a wide range of pre-owned Breitling watches that would all make a fantastic addition to your collection. Whether you’re looking for a timepiece you can eventually sell for a profit, or you simply want an impressive accessory you can wear, we’re sure to have a watch that suits your needs perfectly.

TAG Heuer

TAG Heuer is another celebrated Swiss watch brand that has been creating beautiful timepieces for more than 150 years. Unlike many brands that have originated in Switzerland, TAG Heuer has defied many of the industry’s traditions and time-honoured conventions, which has allowed the creators to achieve higher levels of performance. By making their own rules and choosing their own path, the team behind the brand constantly make innovative and beautiful watches manyother brands would struggle to match.

What is the best TAG Heuer watch for investment?

The TAG Heuer Silverstone is a limited-edition model that has been flying under the radar for a while.It’s not nearly as expensive as some of the other styles available but, with its TV case and leather rally strap, this model is becoming increasingly popular every day.  Keep an eye out for a Silverstone as it could make a fantastic long-term investment piece.

The TAG Heuer Autavia was relaunched following a public vote, proving there’s high demand for this model. If you get the chance to snag one, don’t let it go: it won’t be long before these reiterations of the 1966 model become goldmines.

We stock a whole host of pre-owned TAG Heuer watches here at Est.1897 so, if this is a brand you’re a fan of, make sure you browse the range to see if there’s a model you’re interested in.

Rado

Rado is a globally recognised Swiss brand that has been using revolutionary materials to create some of the most beautiful and durable timepieces on the market. The brand’s philosophy is "if we can imagine it, we can make it", which is reflected in the selection of watches it designs and develops.

What is the best Rado watch for investment?

The Rado HyperChrome Captain Cook Limited Edition gives a nod to the Royal Navy explorer and is a sixties icon that has been given a modern update. It’s a relatively small model with a case width of 37mm, but it still has the classic look you‘d come to expect from this brand. The timeless design means it’s always going to be a favourite and, as it’s limited edition, there’s a relatively small supply. This formula makes it a fantastic option when you’re looking to invest.

Want to purchase a timepiece from this brand? We often have models in our selection of other watch brands, so make sure you check out our collection to see if there’s a Rado gem you would like to invest in.

Bremont

Bremont is a relatively new watch brand, having only been established back in 2002, but that doesn’t mean its timepieces aren’t among the most impressive out there. The creators wanted to design and make beautifully crafted pilot watches and, inspired by historic aircrafts and intricate mechanics, their accessories have been tested beyond the usual call of duty. They are exceptionally durable and reliable, which is ideal when you’re looking to make a lasting investment.

What is the best Bremont watch for investment?

If you’re looking to invest in a modern Bremont timepiece, the S301/BK is a fantastic choice. Designed in response to the demand for a professional diver watch slightly smaller than those already on the market, it has a niche, making it popular among watch collectors. Its name comes from the Supermarine aircraft company. Supermarine’s first ever Spitfire prototype — the Type 300 — helped lead to the creation of one of Britain’s most iconic aircrafts. This is another reason the model is so highly sought-after.

You’ll often find a range of pre-owned Bremont timepieces in our range of other watch brands. So, if you’re looking to make a great investment, make sure you browse our selection and check back to see if your preferred model becomes available.  

2. Look out for highly sought-after features and details

When you’re looking to invest in a timepiece, it’s not just the brand you need to consider: there are also certain features particularly popular among the watch-collecting community. This can mean certain models are more likely to be snapped up if you do decide to sell them on.

Here, we’re going to look briefly at some of the features and details that are often highly regarded by those looking to build an impressive watch collection.

Manufacturing errors

When you’re shopping for anything else, a manufacturing error might seem like a flaw that will reduce the value of a product, but this isn’t always the case when it comes to watches. A subtle error can make a timepiece more unique, and  drive up the sell-on price.

Perhaps the most famous example of this is the Rolex Daytona 16520 ‘Inverted 6’. As well as featuring a coveted white face, these watches also have an error on the dial that means the 6 is upside down. And, because the brand rectified this problem not long after spotting it, there aren’t many of them on the market. This, again, makes them highly sought-after, and this is something you’ll see with most imperfect timepieces..

Small production numbers

If a watch model is a limited edition, this creates a feeling of exclusivity that adds to the value. If you do manage to get your hands on one, it’s likely there’ll be someone ready to buy from you — typically for a better price. As a result, limited editions are usually well worth investing in. 

Many brands release limited-edition timepieces to celebrate anniversaries and special events. There are also companies that partake in collaborations with famous faces, whether mainstream celebrities or people particularly respected in watch-collecting circles. These will often be produced in relatively small numbers making them a great addition to your portfolio.

Interesting backstory

Anything that makes a watch stand out is going to help it become more of an investment so, if you find a model with an interesting backstory, this could work to your advantage. There are a whole host of ways in which a timepiece might have a valuable history. For example, some are dedicated to respected icons — whether  a sportsperson, historic figure, or industry celebrity. Other designs are reiterations of much-loved models from the past which are no longer available, while some are new-and-improved versions of watches that have been highly sought-after in the past.

The value of a watch isn’t just in its look. If it has a tale, collectors can pass on to fellow fanatics and potential buyers, this can add a whole lot to a deal.

3. Only invest in watches that come with the relevant paperwork

If you’re looking to buy a watch that’s going to hold its value, and possibly even increase in price, it’s best to opt for one that comes with all of the relevant paperwork, as well as its original box. These details will provide a buyer with confidence, adding to the value and making your timepiece easier to sell.

Here at Est.1897, we will always try to provide you with the original papers and box for the watch you buy. All of our timepieces come with an authentication card to say our experts have carried out all of the necessary inspections and deemed your purchase to be the real deal. Every product description explains what you can expect to receive when you buy with us online, so you can be confident you’re getting exactly what you’re looking for.

Whether you’re a seasoned watch collector or looking to buy your first investment watch, it’s important you keep all of these considerations in mind and choose the right one carefully. If you’re ready to buy, make sure you check out our entire range of pre-owned luxury watches. Or if you think you’re sitting on a goldmine and are considering selling some of your collection on, simply send us some details via our sell your watch page and we’ll be in touch! 

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