Thursday, 10 September 2009

Profitable investment

Collectors are on the increase every year and auction prices prove that collecting vintage wristwatches has been profitable investment. It is always the most important pieces by known names in mint condition that appreciate the fastest. Names like Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, Cartier and Rolex all achieved record prices in the past.

There has also been increasing interest in wristwatches made prior to World War I, particularly those with enamel dials. Today, these are virtually impossible to reproduce. Waltham, J.W. Benson, Omega, Longines and Rolex made watches with these types of dials. Though attractive, they are fragile and good restoration is impossible.

For serious collectors, price seems inconsequential compared to the historical and investment value of an old timepiece. Would you fork out close to $4 million for a wristwatch? A Japanese collector did at an auction in Geneva for a Patek Philippe in 18K gold, with a face on both sides. Its value lies in the sophisticated mechanical movements and computer systems. It has a perpetual calendar and celestial chart showing the Milky Way and 2,800 stars. The watch has 24 hands and 1,728 parts, shows the time in 125 cities and gives temperatures, moon phases, tides, sunrises and sunsets. Described as portable, it would hardly be the kind of watch worn on the wrist, weighing in at two pounds and measuring 8.75cm in diameter and 2.5cm thick.

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