What determines whether a watch appreciates, depreciates, or maintains its value over time? What models make good investments other than the typical frontrunners from Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet? These were some of the questions posed last year in our article “Three Watches Under $6,000 With Good Value Retention (That Aren’t Rolexes)”. Today, we’re reporting how our predictions fared in the last year. Which of our choices came out on top? Were there any disappointing performers? Did the three timepieces retain their value as promised? Let’s find out.
Omega Speedmaster: To the Moon and Beyond
The Omega Speedmaster is the clear winner from our line-up. Last year’s rumor mill was full of whispers about a possible discontinuation of the ref. 3126.96.36.199.01.005 with Hesalite crystal and ref. 3188.8.131.52.01.006 with sapphire crystal and a display case back. Well, the rumors turned out to be true. At the start of the year, Omega unveiled a new Speedmaster Professional. The updated watch comes with a new steel bracelet, a new METAS-certified movement, and numerous other improvements. In light of the updated technology, Omega has positioned the new watch in a higher price range than its predecessor. This has had a positive influence on prices for older Moonwatches, meaning they’re not only holding their value well but have lots of upward potential.
Last year, you could still find an unworn Moonwatch for under the $6,000 mark, but that is no longer possible today. Pre-owned timepieces have likewise appreciated by several hundred dollars. This trend is quite typical; discontinued references often become much more desirable once retired. Omega’s introduction of a replacement reference at a higher price point has also positively influenced prices. That being said, the new Speedmaster is a bit controversial. Not every enthusiast has welcomed Omega’s updated design. The new bracelet and clasp are not everyone’s cup of tea, despite notable improvements, and the new watch doesn’t come with extras like two NATO straps. Plus, the new watch is significantly more expensive than its predecessor, giving some collectors pause. All of these factors have caused some fans to look back to older references, especially since the case and dial designs have barely changed. Overall, the Omega Speedmaster is the clear winner of our list; it has easily outperformed the others in the past year.
Omega Seamaster 300M: Stable as Can Be
The next watch on our list hasn’t been discontinued, nor has a new model been released. Thus, it’s not surprising that the Omega Seamaster 300M prices have not changed as much as the Speedmaster Professional. Does this mean the watch is a bad investment? Absolutely not. If you look at the Chrono24 Watch Collection, you can see how prices for the Seamaster 300M have steadily crept up across the year. It performed exceptionally well in early 2021, landing just north of its 2020 price.
So, what’s the reason behind this increase? We covered the appeal of this model in our original article, and not much has changed in the meantime. Omega’s Seamaster 300M offers a great alternative to the Submariner, which continues to have a rather reserved design and ever-increasing prices. The Seamaster boasts a great modern design, superb technology, and a price under $6,000 – what more could you want from a diving watch? Novice collectors who aren’t prepared to spend upwards of $10,000 on a Sub but still want a high-quality diver from a well-known brand can’t go wrong with the Seamaster 300M. Likewise, seasoned enthusiasts can find plenty to love in the independent design of this model. In fact, some may even opt to own both! In any case, the Omega Seamaster 300M has maintained its value well over the past year and remains an attractive alternative to the Submariner.
Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight: A Declining Fan Favorite
The Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight was the darling of the watch world when it first debuted. This is in large part because Tudor listened closely and responded to fans with the watch’s design. The smaller, 39-mm case and thinner profile made this model much more appealing than the standard Black Bay for many enthusiasts. While the original is also a popular choice, it has never gathered much momentum in collector’s circles. The Fifty-Eight’s retro charm and overall design, on the other hand, struck a chord with many fans, making the watch a sought-after collector’s item.
That being said, the Black Bay 58 is the only watch from our list that has decreased in value in 2021. What happened? When we published our original article, the Black Bay 58 was only available in one standard variant. Shortly after that, Tudor introduced a blue edition. This initially caused quite a stir in the watch community. Then, the manufacturer expanded the Black Bay 58 line even further with gold, silver, and bronze versions in addition to the existing stainless steel models. This is an understandable move on Tudor’s part, and most collectors welcomed the addition of more options. As a result of the expansion, however, prices for the original Black Bay 58 have dropped slightly. While prices remain relatively stable overall, it is a far cry from being an excellent investment at this point. I personally believe the first edition will be the best performer in the long run. After all, it’s the original model, and its materials and dial color are the most timeless and versatile of the lot. Despite the expansion of the Fifty-Eight family and subsequent weaker performance, the original Black Bay 58 is still a decent watch to hold on to.
The Omega Speedmaster was the clear winner from our list due to the discontinued reference, while the Seamaster 300M prices remained fairly stable over the year. The Black Bay 58, on the other hand, depreciated slightly in value due to the expansion of the model family. Nevertheless, all three models can still be considered watches with good value retention in 2021 and will likely continue to grow in popularity in the years to come.
The Watch Industry and COVID: A Retrospective
Rolex Datejust for Beginners: The Best References Under $7,000