15 Best Investment Watches For A Prestigious Collection
As much as we love recommending watches for people, it is generally not a good idea to aim for an investment watch. This is because, in all honesty, watches do not necessarily make for the best investments. Compared to the likes of lots and precious metals where the return is guaranteed, a watch’s investment value is highly dependent on current trends. By and large, watches tend to depreciate in value over time. Depending on the circumstances, however, it is possible for a well-kept investment watch to retain and maybe even increase its value, albeit not at an astronomical rate. As such, you have to be careful when picking which watches to invest in.
If you are looking for the best investment watches available, but are not sure which models to opt for, maybe we can give you a helping hand. In this guide, we will be showing you some of the best investment watches that money can buy, along with a handful of things you should consider before making that purchase.
15 Best Investment Watches
1. Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 116505-0013
Those familiar with the watch community will surely have heard stories about the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona. With its extravagant price and incredible ten-year waitlist, this luxury timepiece shoots up in value the moment you get your hands on it. Any Rolex Daytona piece would make for an excellent investment watch. However, if there is one specific model you should go for, it is definitely the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 116505-0013.
Showcasing the iconic Cosmograph Daytona style, this striking Rolex watch comes in a sleek 40mm case made out of 18K Everose gold, paired with a matching Everose gold bracelet. On the right side of the case, you can find an average-size screw-down crown that has been reinforced with Rolex’s Triplock triple waterproofness system. As such, even though this Cosmograph Daytona piece is not a dive watch, it still has an impressive depth rating of 300m. Fitted on top of the case is a rotating bezel that has been engraved with indicators for a tachymeter scale.
Protected by a layer of scratch-resistant sapphire glass, the dial of this Rolex Daytona shows off a gorgeous chocolate sunburst finish. It is also adorned with applique rose gold indices, luminous watch hands, and a chronograph display with three sub-dials. The sub-dials consist of rose gold outlines and a darker black surface that adds a splash of variety to this watch face.
This watch is driven by a Superlative Chronometer-rated Rolex Calibre 4130. This self-winding movement has an accuracy of -2/+2 seconds per day and an extended power reserve that can last for approximately 72 hours. Because this stunning piece is made almost entirely out of 18K rose gold, you will find that it holds its value remarkably well.
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona Ref. 116505-0013 retails at $89,865 USD.
2. Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5726A-001
Designed by the legendary watch artist Gerald Genta, the Patek Philippe Nautilus is one of the most recognised luxury steel sports watches ever built. Forty years since its release and the Nautilus has never gone out of style. Vintage models of this Patek Philippe piece are somewhat hard to come by, but if you want something more modern and accessible, have a look at the Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5726A-001.
This Patek Philippe watch is presented in a 40.5mm stainless steel case with a matte black alligator leather strap. On top of the case, you can find the emblematic octagonal fixed bezel, with a fine brushed finish that enhances the watch’s suave and masculine look. Its face and caseback are both sealed with transparent sapphire crystal, giving wearers a good view of the dial and the movement inside the watch. Equipped with a screw-down crown, this Nautilus piece is water-resistant up to 120m.
The dial of this watch showcases a black horizontally embossed surface, harkening back to the wooden teak floors of ships’ decks. It is decorated with luminescent white gold hour indices, long blunt hands, and an annual calendar window that shows the day and month. At 6 o’clock, you can also find a compact sub-dial that consists of a 24-hour display and a subtly tasteful moon phase indicator. Underneath the sub-dial is a plain rectangular date window.
Operating below the watch face is the Patek Philippe Calibre 324 S QA LU 24H/303, which is fitted with a 45-hour power supply. Although the market for Patek Philippe watches is definitely smaller compared to Rolex, you can still secure a good return on your investment with a model as stylish and “in” as the Nautilus.
The Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5726A-001 sells for approximately $147,360 USD.
3. Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Self-Winding Chronograph Ref. 26331ST.OO.1220ST.02
Before helping Patek Philippe design the Nautilus, Gerald Genta first entered the doors of Audemars Piguet. During his time with the brand, Genta created one of his greatest works, the trail-blazing Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. This watch is characterised by its integrated steel bracelet and octagonal steel bezel with eight screws that mimic the front of an old-fashioned dive helmet. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak is nothing short of an icon, inspiring many copycats, such as the Bulova Royal Oak and the CasiOak. One outstanding model that features the Royal Oak style is the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Self-Winding Chronograph Ref. 26331ST.OO.1220ST.02.
This contemporary version of the Royal Oak utilises a 41mm stainless steel case with the signature integrated stainless steel watch strap. Located at its side are a bulky crown and two thick, protruding pushers for wearers to access the watch’s chronograph functions. As you look through the protective layer of sapphire crystal, you are greeted by a dial showing off an intricate Grand Tapisserie pattern in sunburst black. The dial also consists of white gold applique indices, luminous blunt hands, and three chronograph sub-dials. Indeed, no timepiece does the Clous de Paris dial quite like Audemars Piguet.
The beating heart of this luxury sports watch is a self-winding Audemars Piguet Calibre 2385, complete with its 304 components, 37 jewels, and 40-hour power reserve. The Royal Oak is one of the best investment watches on the market as it retains its value very well, allowing you to sell the timepiece at a higher price if necessary.
You can purchase this Audemars Piguet piece for around $85,655 USD.
4. Vacheron Constantin Fifty Six Complete Calendar Ref. 4000E/000A-B548
The Holy Trinity of watchmaking comprises Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, and Vacheron Constantin. Although Vacheron Constantin wristwatches still demand quite a fortune, they are actually considerably more affordable than the models from Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe. With its classic designs and precise movements, it is easy to understand why enthusiasts and collectors place Vacheron Constantin in the upper echelons of horology. One striking Vacheron timepiece that stands out is the Vacheron Constantin Fifty Six Complete Calendar Ref. 4000E/000A-B548.
Hailing from the Fifty-Six collection, this watch is housed in a 40mm stainless steel case fitted with sapphire crystal on its top and rear. Its petrol blue dial holds an alternating pattern of Arabic numeral markers and luminous baton indices. The centre of the watch face showcases applique sword hands, two apertures that display the day and month, and a sleek moon phase function with a silver moon icon. At the rim of the dial is a chapter ring that shows the date as indicated by the watch’s arrow-shaped hand. This watch runs on the Vacheron Constantin 2460 QCL/1, a movement that has 308 components and a 40-hour power reserve.
This Vacheron Constantin Fifty-Six timepiece fetches a price of $24,060 USD.
5. Rolex Submariner Date Ref. 126613LB-0002
When it comes to the best investment watches, no timepiece can out-appreciate a Rolex. As long as it is an authentic Rolex piece, it is bound to appreciate in value as time passes by. Of course, some Rolex watches do increase in value more than others. In most cases, the more popular and scarce a model is, the more value it has. Today, the Rolex Submariner Date Ref. 126613LB-0002 stands as one of the most popular and recognisable modern Rolex Submariners to date. It already demands a high price on the second-hand market; imagine the potential returns you could get once this model is discontinued.
Also known as the Rolex “Bluesy”, this Submariner Date piece uses a 41mm Oystersteel case with a Rolesor bracelet consisting of Oystersteel outer links and yellow gold centre links. On top of the front case, you can find a unidirectional rotating bezel made out of 18K yellow gold. It is fitted with a blue elapsed time scale insert made of ceramic for maximal resistance against scratches. With its screw-down gold crown and Triplock triple waterproofness system, this Submariner model has an excellent depth rating of 300m.
The dial of the Bluesy is also faithful to the traditional Submariner look. It boasts a lustrous, royal blue sunburst dial with applique gold indices, Mercedes watch hands, and a magnified date aperture at 3 o’clock. Ticking beneath this watch face is the Rolex Calibre 3235. It is a Superlative Chronometer movement with an accuracy rate of -2/+2 seconds per day and an extended 70-hour power reserve.
You can get this iconic modern Rolex piece for $23,855 USD.
6. Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 5196R-001
With its classic style and minimalistic dial, the Patek Philippe Calatrava is as elegant and prestigious as a dress watch can get. With a 90-year long history, the Calatrava is the undisputed flagship that brought the brand into the mainstream. While the Calatrava collection holds many high-end luxury models, you would not want to miss out on a watch as stunning and exquisitely designed as the Patek Philippe Calatrava Ref. 5196R-001.
This Patek Philippe watch comes in a slim 37mm rose gold case coupled with a shiny chocolate brown alligator leather strap. Measuring just 7.8mm in height, this timepiece is extremely thin and very comfortable to wear on the wrist. Its dial flaunts a silvery grey finish and is embellished with rose gold hour indices and dauphine-style watch hands. At 6 o’clock is a simple and understated printed subdial that displays the small seconds. This watch is driven by a Patek Philippe Calibre 215 PS. It has a 44-hour power supply, a Spriomax balance spring, and is marked with the signature Patek Philippe seal.
This Patek Philippe piece fetches an estimated price of $27,545 USD.
7. Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ref. 4500V/110A-B128
Arguably the most iconic Vacheron Constantin watch of 2021, the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ref. 4500V/110A-B128 is an excellent luxury investment timepiece that can look good with any attire. And as with any Vacheron Constantin watch, this Overseas model is sure to increase in value every year. So, whether you are getting it as an investment or as a personal timekeeper, you cannot go wrong with this sleek and distinguished watch.
The Vacheron Constantin Overseas Ref. 4500V/110A-B128 comes in a 41mm stainless steel case and a matching stainless steel bracelet with alternately polished and satin-finished surfaces. Its transparent, screwed-down sapphire caseback provides a clear view of the watch’s movement at work while also contributing to the watch’s 150m water resistance rating.
The dial of this watch has a smooth matte blue surface, adorned with luminous applied indices and sword-shaped silver hands. A date window outlined in silver also replaces the 3 o’clock marker. Underneath this watch face beats the Vacheron Constantin Calibre 5100. It is made up of 172 parts and has a solid 60-hour power reserve and a beat frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz).
You can get your hands on this Vacheron Constantin timepiece for around $58,850 USD.
8. Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Ref. 3126.96.36.199.01.005
Omega is known for numerous watches, one of which is the Speedmaster Moonwatch. Having been worn on all six moon landings, the Omega Speedmaster is as iconic as a watch can get. But while the current demand for this Speedmaster piece is high, so is its supply. Not a lot of people will be looking for a Speedmaster Moonwatch on the second-hand market as the brand still provides it in retail today. If you want a Speedmaster Moonwatch that can retain or appreciate in value in a few years, you might want to settle for a vintage or discontinued model instead. One great option is the Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional Ref. 3188.8.131.52.01.005.
Furnished with a layer of hesalite glass, this vintage-inspired Speedmaster Moonwatch sports a 42mm stainless steel case with a black tachymeter bezel. The dial has a rugged matte black finish and is decorated with silver applied indices, sword-shaped hands, and three submerged chronograph sub-dials. A three-link stainless steel bracelet finishes off the robust look of this Speedmaster Moonwatch.
This Omega watch runs on the classic Omega Calibre 1861. This manual-winding chronograph movement can be found in several Omega Speedmaster watches and is the descendent of the very calibre that powered the original 1969 Moonwatch. The Omega Calibre 1861 has a beat frequency of 21,600 vibrations per hour (3Hz) and a power reserve that can last up to 48 hours.
This Omega timepiece is worth around $5,555 USD.
9. Panerai Luminor 1950 Marina Ref. PAM01392
A rich heritage, traditional Italian artistry, and modern-day technological advancements — these are qualities that define the esteemed brand of Panerai. As one of the leaders of Italian watchmaking, Panerai manufactures first-rate luxury watches that showcase exceptional durability and distinct craftsmanship. For a Panerai watch that works as a great investment piece, look no further than the Panerai Luminor 1950 Marina Ref. PAM01392.
Housed in a 42mm cushion-shaped stainless steel case, this Panerai Luminor 1950 watch possesses brushed surfaces with a round polished steel bezel and the Panerai-exclusive semi-circle crown guard. Coupled with a black alligator leather strap, this timepiece utilises sapphire crystal for its front and rear case and has a water resistance capacity of 100m.
Simple, elegant, and straightforward, the matte black dial of this Panerai watch is embellished with muted Arabic numeral markers and stick indices, luminous pencil watch hands, a date window at 3 o’clock, and a small seconds sub-dial on the opposite side. The blue hand of the small seconds sub-dial adds a touch of vibrant colour to the watch face, giving it more charm and attractiveness. This timepiece is also driven by the Panerai P.9010 Calibre, complete with its Glucydur balance spring, Incabloc anti-shock system, and 3-day power reserve.
This Panerai Luminor 1950 piece has a price tag of approximately $6,350 USD.
10. Omega Seamaster 300 “1957 Trilogy” Ref. 184.108.40.206.01.001
While it does not appreciate in value as much as the Speedmaster Moonwatch, the Omega Seamaster 300 “1957 Trilogy” Ref. 220.127.116.11.01.001 is another dependable Omega watch that brings its wearer stylishness, precision, and higher returns. Limited to just 3,557 pieces, this Omega Seamaster piece draws inspiration from the original 1957 Omega Seamaster Ref. CK2913. As a tribute to its predecessor, the Seamaster 300 “1957 Trilogy” retains the emblematic Naiad logo on its sizeable screw-down crown.
This version of the Omega Seamaster is presented in a 39mm stainless steel case with a black unidirectional bezel on top. This bezel holds an anodised aluminium insert bearing indicators for an elapsed time scale. The caseback of this watch is also engraved with the brand’s 1957 seahorse logo, as a commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the Omega Seamaster. As a diver’s watch, this Omega piece is water-resistant up to depths of 300m, making it ideal for all sorts of water activities including swimming, snorkelling, and diving.
Moving on to the watch face, the Seamaster 300 “1957 Trilogy” shows off a matte black dial adorned with triangular vintage-style hour markers, arrow hands, and silver-tone quarter numerals. On the whole, the dial of this Seamaster watch shows off a dashing and appealing retro look. What lies underneath, however, is something a lot more modern. This timepiece is run by the Omega Master Chronometer Calibre 8806. It is a COSC and METAS-certified movement with an accuracy rate of 0/+5 seconds per day and a substantial 55-hour power reserve.
This Omega Seamaster watch retails at $7,110 USD.
11. A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Honey Gold “Homage to F.A. Lange” Ref. 425.050
One of the oldest watchmakers in Germany, A.Lange & Sohne is a reputable name known for its unparalleled German watchmaking. With over 170 years of watchmaking expertise under its belt, there are not many brands that can rival the skill and heritage A.Lange & Sohne timepieces boast. Apart from being good investment pieces, A.Lange & Sohne watches also showcase exceptional finishing and powerful movements. One timepiece that possesses all three characteristics is the A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Rattrapante Honey Gold “Homage to F.A. Lange” Ref. 425.050.
Crafted from 18K honey gold, the 41.2mm case of this watch emphasises smooth bevelling and pointed lugs that play with light impressively. Located at its side is an unguarded crown with two pushers which allow wearers to control the chronograph functions of this timepiece. The dial of the 1815 Rattrapante is made out of solid silver, with a gorgeous matte black finish. It bears pink gold Arabic numeral markers, slender Lancette hands, and two chronograph sub-dials, along with a white gold seconds hand that sweeps across the dial.
Through the watch’s see-through caseback, you can get a close-up view of the Calibre L101.2. This is a hand-wound movement with 36 jewels and a 58-hour power reserve. Those who plan to get their hands on this watch should make your purchase quickly, as the 1815 Rattrapante Honey Gold is limited to only 100 pieces.
You can purchase this lavish timepiece for around $146,640 USD.
12. Tudor Submariner Prince Oysterdate Ref. 79090
The Rolex Submariner is an impressive timepiece, but if you want the best investment watches that come at more affordable prices, let us refer to Rolex’s sister company, Tudor. A favourite amongst enthusiasts and collectors, Tudor is widely known for its brilliant luxury dive watches, which can be found in their signature collections such as the Black Bay and Pelagos. For this entry, we will be looking at a more classic Tudor piece: the Tudor Submariner Prince Oysterdate Ref. 79090.
This Tudor Submariner watch is encased in a 40mm stainless steel case with a matching three-link stainless steel bracelet. It has a black elapsed time scale bezel on top, along with a layer of acrylic glass that has a cyclops magnifier for the date window. The crown at the side of the case is screwed-down, giving the watch a good depth rating of 200m. The dial of this watch has a matte black surface and is furnished with luminous geometric indices, Mercedes-style hands, and a large date aperture at 3 o’clock. Operating this watch is the ETA 2824-2 calibre. This is a famous and reliable workhorse movement with a 38-hour power supply.
The Tudor Submariner has been discontinued by the brand for quite a long time. As such, a timepiece like this is bound to have a considerable increase in value as years pass by. You can get this elusive Tudor timepiece on the second-hand market for around $10,090 USD.
13. Rolex GMT Master II Ref. 116710 BLNR
Rolex never seems to run out of iconic timepieces. Interestingly enough, they all make for the best investment watches, too. We have gone through the Cosmograph Daytona and the Submariner, but now, let us take a look at another prestigious collection, the Rolex GMT Master II. With its exquisite design, virtually indestructible build, and high functionality, the GMT-Master II is the ultimate luxury GMT watch in the market. There are many notable models in this series, but one stand-out piece that always catches the attention of onlookers is the Rolex “Batman” GMT Master II Ref. 116710 BLNR.
This distinguished timepiece is presented in a 40mm Oystersteel case covered by a layer of sapphire crystal and a solid Oystersteel caseback. Its two-tone GMT bezel has a black and blue Cerachrom insert, which is the source of the watch’s “Rolex Batman” nickname. Compared to the standard steel and aluminium inserts, Cerachrom is much more scratch-resistant. Although this is not a diver model, Rolex makes sure to give it a securely screwed-down crown, ensuring that the Rolex Batman is water-resistant up to depths of 100m.
The dial of the Rolex Batman has a matte black hue and is decorated with geometric applique indices, large Mercedes hands, a vibrant blue GMT arrowhead hand, and a magnified date window at 3 o’clock. This watch is powered by the Rolex Calibre 3186, which has a 50-hour power reserve and an accuracy rate of -2/+2 seconds per day.
The Rolex “Batman” GMT-Master II Ref. 116710 BLNR has a price tag of around $24,605 USD.
14. Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Ref. 85180/000G-9230
Purity and elegance are the heart and soul of the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony. Inspired by its 1950s vintage models, the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony brings back the minimalist designs of a bygone era, melding them with contemporary innovations to keep up with modern expectations. And as with most Vacheron Constantin timepieces, the Patrimony retains its value impressively well. If you are looking for a refined dress watch from Vacheron Constantin, take a gander at the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Ref. 85180/000G-9230.
Coupled with a black Mississippiensis alligator leather strap, this Vacheron Constantin piece utilises a 40mm case crafted from 18K white gold. It comes with a small unguarded crown on its side, a transparent caseback, and narrow lugs that direct your eyes towards the watch’s pure white dial. Sheltered by a layer of sapphire glass, the snow-white dial consists of slender pointed indices, stick-like hands, and a modest date window at 6 o’clock. This watch runs on the self-winding Vacheron Constantin Calibre 2450 Q6/3, which has a balance frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour (4Hz) and a 40-hour power reserve.
Wearers can obtain this Vacheron Constantin Patrimony piece for approximately $22,260 USD.
15. Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Geographic Ref. Q1428530
SIHH 2017 unveiled many promising watches from numerous highly-respected brands. Although each timepiece was remarkable in its own right, one model that really caught our attention was the Jaeger-Lecoultre Master Geographic Ref. Q1428530. Although most Jaeger-LeCoultre watches do not appreciate in value that much, this watch is certainly the exception to that norm.
Representing the Jaeger-LeCoultre Master collection, the Master Geographic boasts a 39mm stainless steel case with two crowns and a see-through caseback. Its elegant look is finished off with a black alligator leather strap, which wraps comfortably and securely around your wrist.
While the case features smooth bevelling and a lovely polish, the star of this watch is undoubtedly its three-sector dial. With its brushed metallic outer dial ring and matte-finished inner sector, the watch face of the Master Geographic is quite unique. There is also a smaller second time zone sub-dial between the blue skeletonised syringe hands and the geographic ring, which wearers can set using the two crowns. The minute sub-dial on the left is an AM/PM indicator, which helps wearers adjust the time of the geographic aperture. This watch is driven by the powerful JLC Calibre 939B/1, which is equipped with a 40-hour power reserve.
You can purchase this complex and highly functional Jaeger-LeCoultre watch for approximately $8,640 USD.
Things To Consider When Investing in a Watch
As with any timepiece you purchase, you would want to ensure that the model you are getting is totally authentic. Having an investment watch with modifications or replaced parts will drastically affect its overall value. Additionally, you should also find a dealer who provides the model with its original box and papers.
Scratched or Polished?
In the spectrum of vintage investment pieces, you will mostly find models with visible signs of wear and tear. Does that mean you should not get it? Of course not. In fact, watch collectors would prefer a scratched-up model over one that has been polished. This is because polishing watches involves removing thin sheets of metal from their cases. While the surface of the watch is cleaner, you will surely notice the altered composition of the timepiece, which, in turn, reduces its overall value.
One of the most crucial factors regarding what makes the best investment watches is its rarity. The fewer pieces of a model produced, the more likely it will increase in value. Another instance is when a watchmaker only manufactures a few watches each year. Because of the brands’ slow production rates, some modern timepieces, particularly from watchmakers like Rolex and the Holy Watch Trinity, will increase in value the moment it leaves their doors.
And there you have it — a list of some of the best investment watches money can buy, along with some things to consider before making that investment. While the value of an investment watch is undoubtedly a pivotal aspect for many, all of the timepieces listed above are excellent and guaranteed to make you stand out from any crowd. They come with top-of-the-line innovations and craftsmanship — ensuring precision, style, and longevity.
After viewing the stunning models on this list, you can surely understand why collectors search high and low just to get their hands on them. Ultimately, the end goal of an investment watch is to sell it for a higher price than it was purchased at. The problem now remains: when the time comes, will you be willing to let these precious timekeepers go?
Featured Image By: Patek
Looking for an outstanding dress watch that’s bound to make you the center of attention? Check out the Grand Seiko SBGH271 and see if “Rikka” is the one timekeeper for you.