Luxury-watch boosters like to say that five-figure pieces, with only a limited number made every year by the Swiss giants, make solid investments in times of high inflation. But tell that to many of the new-money buyers from the shaky world of cryptocurrency who appear to be trying to ditch their Rolex and Patek Philippe watches on the secondary market as the prices of bitcoin and other leading cryptocurrencies struggle to come out of their massive dive earlier this year.
According to Bloomberg, the secondhand market for luxury watches has been flooded in the last few months as a result of the crypto collapse. The watch-selling platform Chrono24 told reporters there that the dip has “directly impacted pricing of luxury watches from brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe.” Supply for prestige watches like the Rolex Daytona (starting at $17,194 plus shipping on Chrono24) and the Patek Nautilus 5711A (starting at $101,783 plus shipping) is “now much larger,” according to the company.
The increase in the resale supply is a stark turnaround compared to late 2021 and earlier this year, when a booming stock market and crypto prices, followed by the early shocks of inflation, increased the cost of secondhand Swiss luxury watches, which were being sought out as an investment. Now, increased interest rates and multigenerational inflation highs have hit other parts of the luxury sector. Though not everyone is down: Thanks to a strong dollar and the resilient need for the rich to spend money, luxury brands including Hermes, LVMH, and Prada are all posting sales growth so far this year. And according to the Washington Post, the secondary market for these and other luxury goods, as well as some less obvious luxury watch brands, has not taken a the same crypto-crash concurrent dive, either.