- The luxury watch resale market has been on a tear this year, led by popular brands like Rolex.
- As top-tier brands reach new price heights, collectors are rediscovering lesser-known classics.
- The Vacheron Constantine Overseas has become a standout of 2021, and is on track to double in value.
Rolex may be the undisputed king of the Swiss luxury watch world, but it’s not the only royalty.
The brand commands roughly a quarter of the entire market for new watch sales – nearly double the runner-up – and practically all of its models tend to increase in value in the resale market.
And compared with collector favorites like Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe, which tend to cost several tens of thousands of dollars to start, Rolex has several models that come in more affordably below $10,000.
But those prices also depend on actually finding a watch that is available to buy, and that scarcity is leading prices on once affordable Rolexes to climb out of reach for collectors at a price point they expect will have room to appreciate.
“These collectors are looking for alternatives,” Charles Tian, the founder of WatchCharts, told Insider. “So overall, the whole watch market is boosted by this interest in the high end in the upper echelon.”
Although no other brand competes with Rolex’s brand-wide popularity, collectors do tend to coalesce around specific models from other makers, leading some to see a lift from the heightened interest in the secondary market.
The Overseas stainless steel sport watch by Geneva-based Vacheron Constantin is one of the standout hits in this year’s wild market. Fueled in part by its popularity on Instagram, the Overseas 4500V is on track to double in value this year, according to WatchCharts.
Tian also said his company’s posts featuring the watch were some of the best-performing posts ever on Instagram.
Vacheron Constantin first launched the Overseas collection in 1996, but the company has been continuously making watches for more than 265 years and was a technological innovator in its own right, decades before Hans Wilsdorf kicked off the scientific juggernaut that is Rolex.
Tian told Insider he saw one Overseas for sale at his local Vacheron dealer just before the pandemic for a retail price of $22,000.
“Now, the market we show is $36,000 to $37,000 and the waitlist is like five years,” he said. “So yeah, this watch is getting more and more interest from collectors.”
The surge in popularity has become a turnoff for some longer-term followers of the brand, such as the watch blog ScrewCrownDown, which deemed the company a “hype brand” that increasingly caters to social-media influencers.
One way or another, the brand is having a cultural moment, appearing on the wrist of Jeremy Strong as Kendall Roy in HBO’s Succession, and causing others to tweet their regret at missed opportunities.
“Should’ve got that Overseas Vacheron two years ago when I saw it,” one watch fan wrote. “Colossal error.”
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