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11/17/2020
 6 minutes

Chrono24 Gift Guide: 5 Watches With Good Value Retention

By Sebastian Swart
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Chrono24 Gift Guide: 5 Watches With Good Value Retention

Many people would be delighted to receive a luxury watch for Christmas. Gifting the right watch to your loved one can offer the perfect combination of thoughtfulness and practicality. That being said, the number of watch manufacturers out there is massive, and the diversity of timepieces available is downright daunting. Once you’ve narrowed it down in terms of style and features, the next thing to consider is its price and value retention. We’ve selected five watches that we think will be in high demand for years to come.

Looking for a Watch With Lasting Value

For many, good value retention – or even appreciation – is playing an increasingly decisive role when selecting a new watch. If you’re on the search for the perfect timepiece to gift someone, this may be one of your considerations as well. Acquiring a high-quality watch isn’t just about picking a beautiful, functional timepiece; it’s also about making a good investment – or at the very least, not making a bad one.

This article features several watches that have the potential to be in high demand in the coming years, making them particularly stable in value. Of course, no one can say whether they will increase in value, as some brands are known to do. Generally speaking, classic models from the industry’s most renowned companies tend to retain their value well; however, some smaller, independent manufacturers also have timepieces that have withstood the test of time.

Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch

Omega Speedmaster 311.30.42.30.01.005
Omega Speedmaster 311.30.42.30.01.005

When it comes to price stability, few can compare to the Omega Speedmaster. Known as the Moonwatch since accompanying the astronauts on the lunar surface during 1969’s Apollo 11 mission, this timepiece has spent decades as one of the most popular chronographs on the market. Some fans and collectors have an almost cult-like obsession with limited and special edition Speedmasters. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that Omega has released numerous takes on this timeless classic. The most authentic version, however, is reference number 311.30.42.30.01.005. This 42-mm stainless steel watch features the manual caliber 1861 and Hesalite watch crystal.

Over the past five years, this reference has proven that it not only retains its value well but also has the potential to appreciate. The same pre-owned timepiece that cost around $3,250 in 2015 was demanding just shy of $4,400 in 2020. The Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch is not only a good investment, but it also has one of the most unique stories of any modern timepiece.

Sinn 103: The Flieger Chronograph

Sinn 103 ST, Image: WatchVice
Sinn 103 ST, Image: WatchVice

Sinn was founded in 1956 by pilot and flight instructor Helmut Sinn. Many watch enthusiasts still consider this German brand’s functional timepieces “insider’s tips.” The Sinn 103 is one of the company’s most popular chronographs; some even view it as the best, most affordable alternative to Omega’s Speedmaster Moonwatch. Although the two models don’t share much in terms of looks, both exude that classic chronograph charm from days gone by. That should come as no surprise. After all, the 103 has been part of Sinn’s catalog since the late 1960s.

The watch is a tool watch in the truest sense of the word: It is sturdy, versatile, and durable. The basic version, the ref. 103.031, comes with the proven automatic Valjoux 7750 movement from ETA and acrylic watch crystal. This timepiece enjoys excellent value retention. Pre-owned models cost around $1,300 five years ago, though that price has since grown by several hundred dollars.

Tudor Black Bay: Everyone’s Darling

Tudor Black Bay ref. 79220N
Tudor Black Bay ref. 79220N

Rolex’s sister company, Tudor, first released the Black Bay collection in 2012. It immediately garnered attention from diving watch fans and collectors. This was in part due to the model’s classic looks, which were inspired by the ref. 7924 “Big Crown” from the 1950s. Early Black Bays come in 41-mm cases and with a range of bezel and dial options. Versions with ETA calibers are particularly popular today, as they were discontinued in 2017 and replaced by watches with in-house movements.

The ref. 79220N has a black dial and bezel and is one of the most stable Black Bays in terms of price. Its gilt dial features striking gold lettering and indices. You’ll also find this golden hue on the hands and diver’s scale. In 2016, this watch would have set you back around $2,800. Today, however, it costs closer to $4,100, meaning it’s certainly demonstrated the potential for appreciation.

Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight, Image: WatchVice
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight, Image: WatchVice

Many customers felt the classic Black Bay’s 41-mm diameter was too large. In response, Tudor launched the Black Bay Fifty-Eight in 2018. This watch has a more modest 39-mm case, making it even more akin to its famous predecessor. Thanks to its smaller size, the Black Bay Fifty-Eight also makes a great unisex watch. The timepiece’s harmonious and balanced looks have led many people to deem it the preeminent alternative to the Rolex Submariner.

The Black Bay Fifty-Eight certainly has what it takes to compete with its more famous cousin. In addition to craftsmanship nearly on par with that of the Sub, the Tudor also boasts an in-house automatic caliber. Although it has only been on the market for around two years, prices for used versions already speak for themselves. While you could purchase a pre-owned watch for around $3,800 in late 2018, a used ref. M79030N-0001 now costs closer to $4,000.

Navitimer: Breitling’s Famous Pilot’s Watch

The Breitling Navitimer is one of the most famous pilot’s watches in the world. The Swiss luxury watch manufacturer presented the first model back in 1952. It is a versatile timepiece that is as close as it gets to a mechanical computer for your wrist. If you want to gift someone a way to calculate speed, rates of ascent and descent, and fuel consumption, this is your best bet. Thanks to the slide rule bezel and various scales on the dial, you can do all of that and more with the Navitimer. Plus, your loved one will be in good company with a Breitling on their wrist; Hollywood legend and amateur pilot John Travolta is a fan of this highly functional timepiece.

Breitling Navitimer A23322
Breitling Navitimer A23322

As is the case with all classics, there are many different versions of this watch available. If you are looking for an inexpensive entry point to the line, we would recommend the ref. A23322. This classic watch features the automatic Breitling 23 caliber, which is a modified version of the ETA Valjoux 7753. Prices for used models have been extremely stable, sitting at around $4,500 since 2015. If you gift someone a Navitimer, you’ll be giving them an exciting piece of watchmaking history as well as a useful tool for everyday life.

Bvlgari Serpenti: A Luxury Watch for Women

The Serpenti has been one of Bvlgari’s most popular watches since 1940. The design is unique and reminiscent of a snake’s lithe body. In reality, the watch’s distinctive shape actually comes from the flexible gas pipes (Tubogas) that were popular in the 1920s. The coiled bracelet wraps around the wearer’s wrist in a striking pattern. The timepiece ascended to icon status in the 1960s when it appeared on the wrist of Hollywood star Elizabeth Taylor in 1963’s Cleopatra. These watches are available in various materials and get their power from high-quality Swiss quartz calibers.

Bvlgari Serpenti SPP35BGDG.2T
Bvlgari Serpenti SPP35BGDG.2T

Each Serpenti Tubogas is highly coveted and, therefore, has demonstrated good value retention. The popular ref. SPP35BGDG.2T features an 18-karat rose gold case and bracelet, as well as diamonds. The precious stones adorn the top of the case and surround the black dial. Prices have fluctuated slightly in recent years; however, they remain stable overall. It was demanding around $26,000 at the start of 2018, but that price has since fallen slightly to around $24,000 as of 2020.

If that’s a bit above your budget, you may be interested in the ref. SP35S. This watch features a stainless steel case and bracelet. In late 2017, you could buy this watch for around $5,200. The price has fluctuated throughout 2020 but has now settled around $4,900.

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About the Author

Sebastian Swart

I've been using Chrono24 for years to buy and sell watches, as well as for research purposes. I've had an infatuation with watches for as long as I can remember. As a …

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