The world’s largest marketplace for luxury watches, Chrono24, is reporting wild spikes in popularity and prices for pre-owned versions of the world’s hottest watches.
The company suggests the volatility is being fueled by announcements and rampant rumors of model discontinuations and the related introductions of new replacement collections at Watches & Wonders.
Within the past weeks, Chrono24 has seen rampant surges in demand and increasing valuations for the soon-to-be-exited models including the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5711, the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo Ref. 15202ST, the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch, and the Rolex Explorer II 216570.
Lists of existing watches that are set to be axed used to be closely guarded secrets shared between brands and authorized retailers, with occasional leaks spread across forums and social media.
This year discontinued watches have made headlines, particularly the announcements by Patek Philippe that it was replacing its white hot Nautilus 5711/1A and Audemars Piguet axing its Royal Oak Jumbo ref. 15202ST.
Omega had already set a precedent in January this year, when it revealed it would discontinue two Speedmaster Professional Moonwatches: ref. 318.104.22.168.01.005 and ref. 322.214.171.124.01.006.
Amplified breaking news of discontinuations — whether by accident or design — is giving brands two major shots of publicity when previously it would only have been the launch of a novelty that attracted attention.
It also lights up the secondary market, with investors or collectors scrabbling to buy watches that will never be on sale new again.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Jumbo ref. 15202ST has seen prices rise from arund $33,000 to $45,000, and prices continue to surge, according to Chrono24.
Rolex Price Rises
Replacing Rolex’s Explorer II ref. 216570 with the almost identical ref. 226570 has seen the older model shoot up in price from around $9,000 to over $10,500.
For the Patek Nautilus, Chrono24 reported a 25% price jump when the discontinuation was only a rumor, then went on to experience a further 31% increase in the ref. 5711’s price on the day of the announcement.
The blue dial model is now valued on Chrono24 at approximately $100,000 and search inquiries for the ref. 5711 also doubled within a month of the February announcement.
All this hysteria is good for business at Chrono24, which has reported sales up 30% in 2020 with transactions worth $2.2 billion (turnover for the company is a percentage of each transaction).
“Pre-owned watches are perhaps the best example of the staying power of luxury resale,” suggests Chrono24 co-CEO, Tim Stracke. “Watch lovers are undeniably one of the most passionate collector groups on the planet. Now we see luxury brands playing into the chatter, teasing rumors and both discontinuations and novelties. More than ever, watches can be looked at as a financial commodity – where rumors perpetuate fluctuations in value, and skyrocketing demand immediately impacts valuation, especially in the pre-owned marketplace.”