Here’s Why Owning a Luxury Timepiece Now is More Challenging than Ever

These are not great times for luxury timepieces, if the recently released research from luxury pre-owned watch specialists, Watchfinder & Co, is anything to go by.

Not only has it reported that counterfeits in circulation in the UK have surpassed one million, but its research has also revealed that theft of luxury watches is on the rise. As of last year, the pre-owned luxury watch brand recorded about 6,815 pieces missing, a 60% increase from the previous year.

Theft of luxury watches and counterfeits is increasing
Theft of luxury watches is on the rise, as well as hard-to-detect counterfeits. Image courtesy of Perfect Rolex

This is not surprising. Although prices of luxury timepieces continue to fall from their pandemic highs, they are still more expensive than they were pre-pandemic, and resellers will still definitely command a higher price than current retail value should they choose to sell today. For example, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116500 model is listed at around $29,000, nearly double its original price, on the luxury watch price tracker, WatchCharts. On the same site, a Patek Philippe Nautilus 5711 stainless steel model goes for $103,357 on average, a threefold increase from its retail listing of $34,890.

If you’re looking to add a luxury timepiece to your rotation, here are some useful tips to keep in mind in times like these

1. Avoid making purchases where counterfeit pieces are high in circulation.
A rolex watch from the certified pre-owned programme
Going to accredited resellers would reduce the risk of purchasing counterfeits or worse, stolen pieces. Image courtesy of Rolex

Per Watchfinder & Co, the UK is currently one such place. But in reality, counterfeits of luxury items are on the rise everywhere as they continue to prove to be valuable assets in and out of times of economic uncertainties.

Which may make it better to

2. Avoid the secondary market.

Especially if you cannot confirm the authenticity of the reseller or access credible pre-owned luxury watch dealers.

However, getting new models of some luxury timepieces is nearly impossible, since some are limited editions restricted to loyal customers or have been discontinued. If the timepiece you’re looking to buy falls in these categories, then it is best to

3. Employ the services of a trustworthy personal shopper.
Watch brands like Rolex suffer from high theft and counterfeits
Using a tested personal shopper to purchase your luxury watch would save you from possible counterfeits. Image courtesy of Luxity

Personal shoppers are known to source for deals that are not available to the public, including hard-to-get items. Instead of relying on online/offline secondary markets that may or may not have authentic timepieces on display, a better option would be to leave the sourcing and authentication of your desired timepiece in the hands of an experienced personal shopper.

But remember, theft of luxury timepieces is on the rise, which means you may end up still losing out even if your Rolex is the real deal. To this end, you may want to

4. Get your luxury timepieces from ‘less popular’ luxury brands or indie houses.
A Cartier tank watch
Other luxury watch brands are popular, but there are fewer counterfeits of their models and they may not be easily targeted for theft. Image courtesy of The Watch Company

Although the value of luxury timepieces has skyrocketed since the pandemic, not all luxury watch houses have enjoyed this hike in value. In fact, it appears as though this ‘windfall’ is restricted to only Patek Philippe, Rolex and Audemars Piguet.

Try timepieces from other luxury brands that are still valuable but without the ‘hype’ associated with the big three. However, if you already own one from any of these labels

5. Be careful of the places you wear your timepieces to.

Keeping them safe includes not taking them to areas that are known to be unsafe and environments whose security you are not sure of.

It is also a good idea to insure your timepieces, so that, in the event they ever get lost, you do not lose both the watch and the money used in getting it.

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