Are high-end watches a good investment? What you need to know before you buy

Wednesday, November 17, 2021
Are high-end watches a good investment? What you need to know
Shark Tank's Kevin O'Leary says that high-end watches can be a good investment; here's what you need to know before you dive in.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Making a buck in the stock market is getting harder these days. Stocks are priced richly. Bonds don't pay much. So maybe you should look for new places to stash your money. A different asset class, perhaps?

Star of the ABC show Shark Tank, Kevin O'Leary, who bills himself as "Mr. Wonderful," can be a tough investor. So when he suggests putting money in a hard asset, it is worth checking out.

O'Leary believes high-end watch brands, like Rolex, can be a great investment. He's not alone. Headlines about luxury watches have been shifting from focusing on fashion to highlighting investment potential. "Rolex Daytonas outperform stock market," reads one headline. "5 Rolex watches to invest in during the second half of 2021," reads another.

So can you really make money buying a nice watch?

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Avi Dayan keeps a close eye on watch prices. He owns San Francisco-based A and E Watches. His company sells watches, concentrating on pre-owned Rolexes.

There is a booming market for them. Back in 2017, a watch once owned by Paul Newman sold at auction for $17.8 million. All Rolexes of the same style and vintage are called Paul Newmans.

"My last Paul Newman," Dayan tells 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney, "I bought about 20 years ago. The watch cost me $15,000. The same watch today is about $450,000 to $550,000."

Now that is exceptional, but not out of the ordinary. One customer, Eric, says he bought a pre-owned Rolex diver's watch, wore it for two years, then sold it again.

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"The one I had went up significantly," Eric says, "I was able to sell it at a substantial profit. It worked out well for me."

So how do you get into this? Dayan says buy pre-owned. If you have the money, buy a Daytona model. If you can't afford that, look for one of the diver's watches.

"You buy a stainless steel submariner today, I bet you that in 10 years it's going to be way, way more expensive than what you spend today," Dayan says, "Buy a watch in good condition and buy it with a warranty."

Before investing in anything, you need to know what you are doing. So if investing in watches seems like a good idea, learn now and invest later.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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