So you’re thinking of buying a brand new Swiss watch? Kudos to you. We can only assume you’ve recently come into a hefty sum of cash (we’re not here to ask how). If you haven’t just had a windfall, however, it makes sense to shop second-hand. It’s at the pre-loved end that things get a touch more democratic, and there are plenty of watches priced at a fraction of those fresh from Switzerland that will hold or even accrue value. Don’t just take our word for it, we asked two experts to source the timepieces well worth their weight, even as time ticks along.
Rolex Sea-Dweller Deepsea D-Blue 116660
Rolex is arguably the most coveted watch brand on the planet, something that makes its rarest pieces an even more worthwhile investment. “Rolex rarely makes special editions, yet James Cameron’s 2012 expedition was deemed worthy of a limited run,” says Alex Stonely, head of retail at Watchfinder. “Made in the same shade as Cameron’s submarine, the D-Blue is fast becoming a collector must-have, and its value will only increase.” Available at Watchmaster, priced £10,800.
Chopard LUC Lunar Big Date 161918-5003
Swiss firm Chopard is a top-end choice that’ll cost a small fortune bought new. But shop second-hand and there’s a big drop in price, especially for lesser-known models. “Chopard’s LUC range flies under the radar despite a finish that could rival the very best brands,” says Stonely. “For the pre-owned buyer, this translates to a lot of watch for the money. The Lunar Big Date boasts multiple complications and a very high-end movement for a lot less than seems possible.” Available at Chronext, priced £17,990.
Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 16523
The Daytona to Rolex is what Stan Smiths are to Adidas – a classic signature piece that’s unlikely to fall out of style, and one that gains kudos with every new release. “The latest Daytona was subject to a year-long waiting list, which highlights the degree of demand for the piece,” says Erica Redgrave, buyer at The Watch Gallery. “This makes any previous model valuable since numbers are so limited, and that model, the 16523, will likely be worth a great deal in the future.” Available at The Watch Gallery, priced £7,950.
Tag Heuer Monaco CAW211P.FC6356
Tag Heuer may be an ‘entry-level’ option (in as much as it costs the same as a rent deposit rather than a new car), but the more affordable Swiss manufacturer can be just as investment-worthy as its more expensive counterparts. “The Tag Heuer Monaco, first unleashed in 1969 as the world’s first automatic chronograph, is a style icon tied to legends like Steve McQueen and original models are fast becoming unattainable,” says Stonely. “The re-issue features classic touches like the early ‘Heuer’ logo and a left-handed crown, making for a strong performer that’s easier on the pocket.” Available at Watchfinder, priced £3,650.
Breitling Navitimer Vintage Small Counters 806
Vintage Rolex and Omega pieces aren’t the only stars in the spotlight. Despite Breitling continuing to increase in popularity, its pre-owned price tag remains reasonable. “If you’re looking for an investment but can’t quite justify big ticket prices, opt for a vintage Breitling Navitimer,” says Redgrave. “The 1967 model is still relatively affordable compared to brand new reissues and it’s likely destined for big things in the future, as collectors widen their nets.” Available at Chrono24, priced £3,995.
Tudor Heritage Black Bay
There’s little chance of most men owning more than one Rolex during their lifetime, so turn to the brand’s sibling at the pre-owned point for a more affordable choice. “The Rolex Submariner has walked far away with its RRP in recent years, and for many, that’s out of reach,” says Stonely. “Cue the younger brother, Tudor. Started by Rolex founder Hans Wilsford, the brand promises the same level of quality for much less, and the latest Black Bay models even boast an in-house movement.” Available at Watchfinder, priced £2,320.
Omega Speedmaster 3570.50.00
Without skipping a few meals or selling off some kidneys, few can justify the skyrocketing cost of watches. However, the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch is a little more down-to-earth at the second-hand stage. “This is the watch that went to the moon during the first American spacewalk,” says Stonely. “Plus, it’s the watch that has remained the closest to its sixties original, making the Speedmaster chronograph a timeless yet affordable watch that still carries strong residuals.” Available at Watchmaster, priced £2,380.