Luxury watches with a value of around $60 billion are thought to be gathering dust and all-but forgotten in the United States, alone, according to new analysis from pre-owned watch specialist Watchfinder & Co.
Many owners do not realise that these watches could be worth tens, or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, a study commissioned by Watchfinder discovered.
Eager to acquire as many of the right watches as possible, Watchfinder is reminding people around the world that they could be sitting on a potential goldmine and should get their treasures valued.
“The luxury watch market is going through a purple patch currently, with many watches reaching all-time highs when it comes to their resale value, making now the perfect time to check,” a statement from Watchfinder suggests.
Watchfinder’s research surveyed 26,000 watch owners around the world and 42% admitted they have no idea what their watches could be worth.
From the same sample, 43% of respondents said they have at least one luxury watch they don’t wear.
Watchfinder did not supply figures for markets outside the United States, but the country accounts for around 10% of Swiss watch exports every year. If Chinese customers catch the bug for trading in their watches, potential worldwide inventory could skyrocket to hundreds of billions of dollars.
Arjen Van de Vall, who recently took over as CEO at Watchfinder & Co. says: “Whilst a large proportion of watch owners around the world keep a very close eye on the value of their watches, it’s clear that there are also lots of people who have no idea what their watch is currently worth. It’s widely recognised that a Rolex, Omega or Patek Phillipe is likely to be worth quite a bit of money but there are also watches out there made by smaller, more boutique, manufacturers that are lesser known.
Relatively inexpensive Cartier watches from the 1970s are now soaring in value after being unloved by collectors for decades.
“You may have inherited a watch, or perhaps you have a watch you no longer wear; we would encourage you to find out its value so you can make an informed decision on whether to keep it, sell it or exchange it for something new. Any good pre-owned watch specialist will be able to provide you with a quick, easy and complimentary valuation so you are better informed,” urges Mr Van de Vall.
Pre-owned watch dealers are keen for the market to catch up with the used car market where every vehicle is likely to be resold at least once.
Were that to happen with every prestige watch, the pre-owned market would balloon to be worth tens of billions.
In its most recently accounts, for the year to March 2020 (pre-pandemic), Watchfinder.co.uk reported sales of £123 million and the business reported stock of watches valued at £55 million.