The world of horology has long been buoyed by its enthusiasts' love for their favorite brands and timepieces. From the history and craftsmanship to the engineering and design, watchmaking is a naturally very romantic industry. Few brands strike all of those cords with a sweeter note than Patek Philippe. However, watchmaking has another influential factor that has to be considered, money. While it might not be to everyone's taste to talk about, the idea of making money on the watches we buy is something we all hope can become our reality. Whether the purists like it or not, luxury timepieces have become investment-class assets whereby enthusiasts hope to earn a return while they wear their favorite watch, and why shouldn't we hope for that? The automotive industry is filled with investment vehicles (literally and metaphorically), so why wouldn't horology? Today, we'd like to examine how someone might invest in Patek Philippe, from what Patek Philippe you should buy to where you should sell your Patek Philippe; we'll try to cover it all.
What Patek Philippe To Buy
Upon deciding to invest in a brand like Patek Philippe, you will be faced with a tough decision regarding the very models you choose to purchase. Before getting into where to buy and sell your Patek Philippe, let's explore some of your possibilities. Since we could talk about all of the various Patek Philippe models and collections forever, let's break it down by vintage and modern, and what you should look for in those categories.
Suppose you decide to invest in modern Patek Philippe timepieces. In that case, you will need to spot trends within the marketplace and apply them to Patek Philippe to predict where you will see the most potential appreciation. While stainless steel is hot right now, and will probably be for the next few years, if you spot an upcoming trend for a different material or style, you should jump on it as Patek's tiny production output will ensure that any spike in demand will see the supply quickly shrivel up.
So, while the tried and tested stainless steel sports watches like the Aquanaut and Nautilus are all the easy to pick low-hanging fruit, with a brand like Patek Philippe, their collections that venture a bit outside of the norm like the Rare Handcrafts might be well suited as great investment pieces should you spot a trend that might make them popular. Likewise, with vintage Patek Philippe, their chronographs and perpetual calendar chronographs are all great choices that will always remain popular and should see decent price appreciation over the years as their supply will only decrease over time.
Buying your Patek Philippe
After you have spotted the watch you want to buy, the question that naturally follows is where to buy it. Sure, for a lot of Patek Philippe watches, you can buy them on Chrono24 or from another accredited business, but with rare modern watches or vintage watches, you should take extreme caution to ensure that the watches you buy are wholly original, in excellent condition, and are complete as they can be with their paperwork, provenance and archive papers, if applicable. While it is undoubtedly true that Patek Philippe holds their value over time, one incorrect handset, a damaged dial, an incorrect movement part, or any other inaccuracy could spell disaster for your investment. As such, extreme caution should be taken to protect your investment when you first begin to explore the market for a place to buy.
Ideally, you should buy from renowned Patek Philippe experts that will stake their reputation on the condition and originality of their stock. Yes, your initial outlay will probably cost more money, but you will be protecting your investment, and, at the least, it will hold its value better over time. Additionally, any gains you make will be amplified by your timepiece's association with the renowned dealer that you bought your watch from
Selling your Patek Philippe
In the same vein that you should only buy your Patek Philippe watch from a renowned seller, you would be better off selling it through a medium that is best suited to selling such a high-end watch. Of course, selling it privately is always an option, but selling it through an auction house or on consignment with a renowned dealer will ensure that your watch is sold appropriately for total market value.
While you don't pay any fees or commission to sell a watch privately, you will get significantly less than an auction house or renowned dealer will get, which would most likely yield a negative effect on your margin versus selling through someone else.
Of course, this applies to higher-end Patek Philippe watches more so than it does lower-end or even more modern watches. The larger the required emphasis on knowledge and expertise is during the sale, the harder your watch will be to sell. With that said, modern Patek Philippe watches don't need as much expertise as vintage or rare examples, unless the Patek Philippe you invested in is extremely rare, valuable, and not seen on the open market often – in that case, you should opt to sell through someone else.
As you can see, investing in Patek Philippe is not easy; there are certain hurdles to overcome and details to figure out. At the end of the day, no guide like this will ever be able to give you the exact formula and explain how you should invest in Patek Philippe watches with 100% accuracy. All any guide can do is highlight the things that you should consider on your journey, and we hope we have done exactly that here.