Watches that hold their value best – Best investment watches

A huge number of watch brands exist worldwide but not every company holds high value. In fact, there’s a great number that doesn’t carry any value once old.

So there are only a few names that beat all in terms of retaining value not only when new but also in the pre-owned state. Some excellent examples include the Patek Philippe watches and the Deepsea Sea-Dweller of Rolex.

The list below shows the top valuable brands that have their watches that hold their value best and are the best investment watches.

  1. Rolex
  2. Patek Philippe
  3. Audemars Piguet (AP)
  4. Jaeger-LeCoultre
  5. Omega
  6. TAG Heuer
  7. F.P. Journe
  8. Breitling

But before discussing each of these individually you should know the basic factors that make watches valuable even in their pre-owned state.

Factors that make watches hold their value

Why is it so that some watchmaking companies hold value way more than others? Well, most of this depends upon how the particular brand keeps control over its product’s distribution i.e keeps check over the cost or the discounts that its dealers provide to their customers.

Thus no wholesaling is allowed as that devalues their products to a great extent and hence affects their price in the resale market.

The most efficient in controlling their market are Rolex and Patek. Apart from these two, all lag behind in keeping the standard up to the best level.

This so far was a comparison in general, while when being more specific, one would want to know about the particular types of models which come under the caption of “holding value”.

Well, the stainless steel sports models hit the top list in this area. Here, one should know that the precious metal watches and females’ watches are a separate subject of talk as they are affected very differently e.g keeping “no discounts” won’t work at all with the ladies’ watches.

So when we talk about holding value we refer to the stainless steel sports models for the most part. Though the stainless steel sports models lie usually on the lower price range of the brand, these watches hold a higher value than others as they are usually more in demand.

Therefore one who goes for these is more confident about the future value and thus has no fears regarding resale. You see, it all depends upon supply and demand.

Besides all this, ironically, when it comes to holding value, almost nothing depends upon the quality of the brand, rather it’s all based on the marketing and distribution of products by the brands.

Many companies have some products which are much higher in quality than those of the top-rated brands, still, they hold lesser value. Why? The reason behind this is “not so great distribution control”. Thus keeping watches at high ranking value requires a strong grip on both distribution plus marketing.

Let’s now compare all the above-mentioned watchmaker companies in order to get a deeper insight into the game of value in the watch world.


A Rolex watch

Rolex – the most iconic luxury watch brand – is all famous for its outstanding position in the market, and that, of course, is because of some of its best investment watches.

Here too, the increased resale value plays a great role in keeping the value high up on the graph. The Deepsea and Submariner are top on the list in this regard. So if you have these used watches, you probably are the lucky one to get high returns on every resale.

Thinking why Rolex watches are so special? It takes almost a year to manufacture one Rolex timepiece, thus making it really pricy. The company’s watches are handcrafted and each and every piece is passed through high pressure and stress tests to make sure it meets the brand’s required merit. This testing is done for fifteen days and nights and every product has to go through this strict procedure. Thus Rolex has proved itself to bear all hard conditions worldwide.

Also, Rolex was the first-ever wristwatch that received a class A chronometer certificate which was taken as a distinctive feature of merit and excellence.

As highlighted previously Rolex maintains its high value by keeping a check on its item’s market distribution. They are really good at this and thus this keeps the resale price very high up in the market.

Patek Philippe

A Patek Philippe watch

Patek Philippe is a Swiss luxury watch manufacturer and no doubt this company produces extremely valuable watches and are really hard to buy. As mentioned above, they have a really strong hold on their distribution and thus their value goes up as they get older and older. So, the more antique the piece, the higher the price of the watch.

This can be understood by the fact that a brand new Patek Philippe model may cost millions of dollars while the rarer vintage pieces can reach up to five times the price of the newer creations. So they are also one of the best investment watches.

What makes Patek Philippe watches so valuable? The answers to this question lie in many of the facts related to this highly successful company :

  • Has preserved its incredible legacy.
  • Complicated inner mechanics and hand-making of each and every part of its pieces.
  • Keeps detailed archives of its every single watch that was created since 1839 i.e information regarding when was it manufactured, how was it made, who bought it, etc, etc.
  • Never ever compromised in terms of the quality of its products.

Patek Philippe watches are unbelievably very very rare. They may take up to nine months to make one of their simplest pieces, and years to finish the most complicated ones, thus maintaining their incredible position in the market.

Audemars Piguet (AP)

A Audemars Piguet watch

AP, a brand that makes luxurious and handcrafted designed timepieces also have some of the best investment watches. They are famous for their Royal Oak creations and are the ones who brought forth the very idea of luxury sports watches. Their efforts for manufacturing high-end Swiss luxury items date back to 1875 and their timepieces have kept their collectors impressed through their elegance, beauty, refinement, and intricacy.

This brand too has done really good efforts in controlling their product’s distribution as they focused on regulating and restricting some of their output. Thus they have been working a lot to hold high market value as they are producing very suitable and relevant timepieces and are not allowing discounts at the dealers’ level.

Similarly, the highly relevant Royal Oak watches and the dial combinations are no doubt one of the key role players which have raised their position in the resale market.


A Jaeger-LeCoultre watch

This brand is one of the best in holding value in the vintage watch world thus making them fall in the category of the best investment watches. Starting under the name “Wrist Alarm”, JLC made great achievements in developing their unique timepieces.

The Caliber 601 model was released in few numbers and thus is very very rare. As we know that the rarity of a timepiece increases its value to impressively high levels so if somebody has gotten hold of such an item in good condition then he is no doubt in a great benefit because such facts make the product really really pricy.

Another example of their rarer piece is JLC Deep Sea Alarm which also is one of the strikingly collectible watches.


An Omega watch

Omega which was founded in 1903 is a Swiss luxury watchmaker and is one of the prominent manufacturers. They pay special attention to not only their sales but also their quality.

They have done a lot of modifications in their items and are all the time providing their buyers with special changes and innovations. But the drawback is that they are not having much value on the resale grounds except for their Omega Speedmaster – the moon watch which has no doubt held its value over time and is one of the collectible watches.

TAG Heuer

A TAG Heuer watch

TAG is one of the world’s most distinguished watchmakers. They were the ones who introduced stopwatches that had micrograph with the accuracy of about 1/100th of a second and thus this helped in documenting time more accurately. Therefore TAG Heuer became a favorite in sports competitions.

Though TAG Heuer does make some good watches, in general, there’s a flaw in their efforts i.e they greatly focus on marketing only and are negligent in terms of quality of their creations. Creating quartz timepieces but with plastic housings, and still demanding a high price in return is really overpricing.

Apart from all this, Vintage Heuer pieces fall in the category of best value watches. They carry a premium in the market especially the Heuer Monaco which is an icon. Vintage Heuer Monaco is one of the extremely collectible watches and tends to retain its value in the market.

F.P. Journe

A F.P. Journe watch
Image via F.P. Journe

This is one of the most influential brands with timepieces that have a really wonderful look. The use of gold by F.P. Journe is also very impressive. Not only the rotor weight but also the caliber and the dials too are fashioned from gold which gives a clearly matchless impression to their watches.

Journe though being a small company has a stronghold on the distribution of its products which makes its watches really valuable. 


A Breitling watch

An expensive luxury brand that has a lot of heritage and is adored by a high profile watch loving community. It’s famous for the wonderful precision-made chronometers that are especially helpful for aviators.

No doubt they are very good in the field of marketing but their distribution control is not up to the mark and thus this is probably going to endanger the resale price.


  • Rolex and Patek Philippe beat all brands in keeping their standards really high.
  • Of all the types of models, stainless steel sports watches (though being lower in price) rank high in holding value as they are much more in demand.
  • In regards to running a brand, no company can prosper by relying only on stainless steel sports models because such types of watches are easily available on nearly every brand.
  • Almost every brand tries to update its older versions and so newer models gain more attention and attraction, thus somewhat lowering the value of older styles of the same company. Still, there are some exceptions too e.g in case of Rolex’s Deepsea, Sea-Dweller, and Submariner the older pieces are much more valuable than the newer ones. Similarly, the pre-owned Patek Philippe watches are way more valuable than the newer ones.

Our Recommendation

Decide for yourself what you can afford in your budget plus estimate the results in the light of benefits that can come out of your purchase.
Wish you all the best for your purchases.

Also read: Best watches for businessmen