WATCHES AT A PREMIUM?
The following article is intended for our end customers, but also gives our investment clients an insight into the dynamics of the international watch market.
Although the demand for popular watches has increased significantly, it does not match the supply. Therefore, we experience a dramatic price development in the market. A development which, in our view, is based on the fact that the end customers are not necessarily only wealthy, as they were ten years ago. Today, the majority of buyers are still wealthy, but we also see that the upper-middle class has discovered that it is possible to tie up capital in beautiful watches without experiencing major depreciation. Read more about this effect here.
Today, the market is largely free of volatility, which is why more people dare to buy a beautiful piece of wearable art for their wrist. Or said differently one no longer needs to be “rich” to wear a Rolex.
LAST 10 YEARS OF DEVELOPMENT
If we go back just ten years, the relationship between supply and demand was not nearly as skewed as it is today. Although the target audience has grown to other parts of the social classes, this does not mean that producers intend to expand their production. This dramatic development is based on the fact that today we have many more potential customers in the market than the supply from manufacturers dictates. The main reason for this imbalance lies in the value set of manufacturers. We see, for example, Rolex, which is foundation-owned, and Patek Phillipe, which is family-owned, their value sets clearly diverging from other commercially minded companies.
Rolex and Patek Phillippe prioritize protecting their brand over quick profits, unlike other commercially minded companies. They are generally concerned with exclusivity rather than immediate profit.
When we experience a market as we do today, it is natural to question the manufacturers’ production. Because why don’t they just increase production when demand is so high? And will they even do so in the long term? Our answer is “no, they will not increase production”. The main reason is that as long as manufacturers can control the whole process by producing only the number of watches, they need to keep top quality, that’s what they’ll do. It is simply a question of putting quality before quantity.
You will see a significant price difference between our price and the one you find in the high street shop, but it is important to emphasize that it is usually a good deal to buy your watch now at a higher price. And what do we mean by that? The time you will spend on a waiting list with price increases anyway, you can instead spend on “saving value” in your watch bought at market price. Because watches are in demand. They are popular. And they are not readily available on the market.
Therefore, you may ask yourself, which of the two prices is really the real price? Is it the price at which the watch is traded or is it the price at which you are allowed to trade in the shop? We know what we think. And that is why we see the list price as irrelevant to free-market forces.
A good pressure test on the above would instead be to look at the second-hand value of the watch. If you buy a brand-new Pepsi from us, it costs at the time of writing 200.000 DKK, so it is probably worth at least 180.000 DKK when it is used the next day(!) That means that the depreciation between used and new is minimal- in this case about 10%. An important point is that trading at a premium is really trading at a real price. The list price is suddenly just a number and not a reality for the vast majority when trading these popular watches.
We, therefore, believe that we should look away from list prices as they do not give an accurate estimate of the watch. It does, however, when we look at the final second-hand value of the watch. This is because the second-hand value of the watch is the same when you buy it from the watch retailer or from a high street shop. What matters is whether you want to wait several years for your watch or whether you want it now. Because one thing is certain, watches are more popular than ever! The growing audience across cultures and borders is a strong contributor to the dramatic increases in value we are seeing in the market these years. And with no prospect of manufacturers increasing production, there is plenty of opportunities to buy a watch that can be used for capital preservation as well as daily use and aesthetic enjoyment.
We can neither make nor break how manufacturers affect the market we see today. One of the major consequences for end-users is the long waiting lists they will experience in the high street shop. A waiting list that offers many years in a waiting position and several of the manufacturers’ price increases. At UrHandleren, you have the opportunity to avoid sudden price increases and long waiting lists.
Read more about waiting lists and how to avoid them via the link below