The year 2017 is an important year for watches, with many models celebrating landmark anniversaries. In collecting terms, an anniversary generally means that a watch will rocket in value and new collectors might pop-up, making it a lucrative time both to buy and to sell.
This is, in part, thanks to a marketing drive by brands that capitalise on the potential to create renewed interest. Furthermore, many auction houses and pre-owned websites will mark the occasion by hosting special sales dedicated to these brands and models.
Pre-owned luxury retailer, Collector Square, has developed a unique international database – the LuxPrice-index© – which compiles and analyses hundreds of thousands of bag and watch auction results over the last 12 years, offering a point of reference for the changing value of pre-owned luxury goods. On the 50th anniversary of the Rolex Daytona in 2013, Collector Square recorded a staggering 79% increase in value.
5 Watch Models to Watch
We take a look at 5 watch models celebrating landmark anniversaries in 2017 and evaluate how their value has evolved over the past decade, using data from the LuxPrice-Index.
100 Years – The Cartier Tank (1917)
Built in the midst of World War One and modelled on French military tanks built by Renault, the Cartier Tank is a true icon of 20th century design and a legend in watchmaking history. The Tank’s defining features include its bold Roman numeral dial with a chemin de fer chapter ring, sword-shaped blued steel hands, and a sapphire cabochon-surmounted crown.
Since its inception, Cartier has released countless variations of the watch, such as the Tank Louis Cartier in 1922, the Tank Americaine in 1989, and the Tank Francaise in 1996. In its various forms, the Tank has graced the wrists of Jackie Kennedy, Princess Diana and Yves Saint Laurent, to become one of the most coveted wristwatches of all time.
According to the LuxPrice-Index, the average price of a Tank watch has increased by 30% in 10 years. The Tank represents 23% of all Cartier watches sold at auction and 40% of these are the Tank Americaine or Tank Française.
85 Years – The Patek Philippe Calatrava (1932)
Created in 1932, the iconic Calatrava watch by Patek Philippe takes its name from the Spanish Calatrava military order founded in the 12th century, whose emblem is a Greek cross with fleur-de-lis at its ends. This emblem can be seen on the watch crown, representing its sleek lines and understated elegance. Classic and detached from trends, the Calatrava ranges from an ultra-thin format to a ‘Jumbo’ size (39mm), with a smooth or fluted bezel. More than 80 years on, the essential design hasn’t changed, and as an icon of horology, the Calatrava has been Patek Philippe’s most sold model for 30 years.
According to the LuxPrice-Index, the Calatrava (in all its forms) has increased in value by 50% in 10 years. One quarter of all Patek Philippe watches sold at auction are Calatravas.
60 Years – The Omega Speedmaster (1957)
The first Speedmaster was created in 1957 under the reference CK2915 for research, industry and sport but fate decided otherwise. In 1962, NASA was looking for precise, resistant and reliable chronographs to give to their astronauts. Among all of the brands tested, the Speedmaster was the only watch strong enough.
In 1965, the Speedmaster was officially registered as “flight qualified by NASA for all manned space missions” and NASA supplied each of the Apollo astronauts with a standard issue Omega Speedmaster Professional manual-wind wristwatch with a Velcro strap. In 1969, the Speedmaster travelled to the moon on the wrist of Buzz Aldrin. The Speedmaster is still the only watch worn on the moon and is part of every astronaut’s equipment.
The Speedmaster makes up 20% of the total number of Omega watches sold at auction. Across all variations, its average price has increased by 2.5 in 10 years. The most expensive reference is the CK2915 with an average price of €32,146.
50 Years – The Rolex Sea-Dweller (1967)
Created in 1967, the Oyster Perpetual Sea Dweller was created for professional divers working at great depths; the vintage models function 2,000 ft. under water whilst the most recent Sea-Dwellers can travel 12,800ft deep. The original Sea Dweller was based on the Submariner watch adapted for COMEX diving company in 1960.
The most common Sea-Dweller sold at auction is the ref.1665 as it’s an old model and thus highly collectible. The Sea-Dweller represents 3% of all Rolex sold at auction in volume and 4% in value. For a stainless steel model, its average price has multiplied by 2.3 in 10 years.
20 Years – The Patek Philippe Aquanaut (1997)
In 1997, Patek Philippe launched the Aquanaut with the ambition to combine technical excellence and a creative design for a model of casual elegance. The Aquanaut is characterised by its rounded octagonal shape and the complex construction of its case. The “Tropical” strap, made of a high-tech composite, is soft, comfortable, resistant and hypoallergenic.
While the Aquanaut represents 1% of all Patek Philippe watches sold in volume, as it’s so rare, it represents 22% in value because it’s an expensive model. Its average price has increased by 63% in 10 years.
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