We have been using clocks since the 15th century, back then clocks were mechanical devices that needed to be wound to ensure their working. The term watch came into being when clocks become portable and people started to wear those using chains and kept them either in their pockets or in their bags. Over time due to the discovery of new and improved methods and materials watches became smaller and smaller and their movements more and more complicated.
From 16th to 20th century watches evolved into what we know them to be today, in between those 4 centuries watches started get worn around their hands because they became small enough. However, until the 1960s watches were still mechanical and required a lot of moving parts that made them extremely expensive and not everyone was able to afford one. In the 1960s the first quartz watch was invented which used electricity and kept time with a vibrating quartz crystal. This proved to be a turning point for the industry as watches now needed a lot fewer parts and they were a lot cheaper to manufacture.
During the 1980s the quartz watch took over the mechanical watch market entirely in an event which is commonly referred to as the quartz crisis. Although quartz watches took over the mechanical market. Mechanical watches still sell at extremely high prices and today mechanical watches have become a luxury item for the rich and the powerful.
The Watch Industry
If we look at the watch industry of today you will find that the majority of world-renowned brands are based in Switzerland, so it is quite common for people to think that the origin of watches also came from the same country. But in reality, the first clock that was small enough to be called a watch was made by a German citizen Peter Henlein somewhere in between 1509 to 1530, the watch itself was around 3 inches long, it was not small enough to fit in a pocket but it was small enough to be worn as an item of clothing.
The Swiss watch industry started when the French wars of religion led to the fleeing of many Huguenots into Switzerland bringing together their knowledge of clock and watchmaking skills into Geneva. This influx of refugees helped Geneva to transform their city into a city that is known for making high-quality watches.
The Value of Watches Today
Watches have been in the mix of things since the 16th century and in this time many countries were making groundbreaking discoveries in that era. The most influencing of those countries being Germany, Britain, and Switzerland. These countries have constantly been making mechanical watches since the 16th century and ever since the development of the quartz watch, these mechanical watches became a commodity rather than a necessity.
Due to this the mechanical watch market mainly dealt with their hi-end customers and thus these mechanical watches became rare and limited which added to their value over time.
Today these mechanical watches have become an extreme commodity which many people buy and sell all according to their value over time. This buying and selling lead to a resale market that primarily deals with used watches that tell their history.
The Resale Industry
If we look at the current financial stand we will see that the Popularity in luxury watch resale’s has grown significantly over the past few years and since the pre-owned market now estimated at $5 billion per year, many designer brands have noticed the trends and are now exploring how they can take advantage of resales.
Audemars Piguet took the first step and revealed that they would be opening stores primarily for the selling and purchasing of pre-owned watches. The customers will be offered parts and trading services, but still, it is not clear that the company will offer cash exchange on their products or not.
As the internet has infiltrated everything the majority of second-hand luxury watches business is conducted online or via specialized retailers, and with demand increasing, prices have risen above retail prices. Steel sports watches such as Rolex’s Sea Dwellers and GMT Masters and Patek Philippe’s Nautilus and Aquanaut are just some of the watches with the biggest demand.
Aaron David’s Views
Aaron David states that the prices of used watches will continue to rise. With some watches having a five-year waiting list, Aaron states that the pre-owned market is the easiest and quickest way in which investors can get their hands on such pieces.
Some people say that a thing should always be like before purchasing is but since the return on these pieces is so good, investment into a piece is also not a bad option. In terms of investment Rolex and Patek Philippe have outperformed many mainstream investments. New buyers from around the world, including Asia, mean this market is expanding as we speak.
The Watch Market of the Future
Today the watch market is quite different from back then when it started and the demand for models that are rare or only made in a limited quantity is increasing day by day. This is due to the combination of social media and the internet. And since new models are being released the discontinued models are becoming even more sought after.
Since the market is still relatively new the future is still unknown and we will have to wait and see what happens. But as the watch market is evolving we are seeing that many hi-end companies are experimenting with new technologies and materials that are currently in style, for example, watches usually were made from gold, silver, or similar metals, but today we are seeing that many companies have also started to use stainless steel and titanium as their material of choice.
Also, we have seen some companies experimenting in the smartwatch category making the future even more unpredictable. Even though all these breathtaking developments are being taken we can assure you that the value of time tested mechanical watch will not fade over time, rather it is going to increase even more.