From Patek Philippe’s Nautilus to a Rolex, a luxury watch is a high-value asset representing the wearer’s status and sophistication. A well-maintained luxury timepiece can appreciate in price over time, allowing the owner to profit from their investment. However, if improperly taken care of, even the most expensive watch can lose its merit and become worthless.
How to Maintain a Luxury Watch’s Value
Let’s dive in and discuss the seven foolproof ways to maintain a designer watch’s desirability in the luxury secondhand market.
1. Regular Servicing
Bring your timepiece to a professional watchmaker for routine servicing every three to five years. A luxury watch is a complex machinery demanding proper care and attention. Professional servicing guarantees that your watch runs smoothly through precise tuning, cleaning, and checking for potential issues long before they cause significant, irreparable problems.
2. Proper Storage
How you safe-keep your timepieces is an important aspect of maintaining their value. Instead of leaving your watch in your bedside drawer and potentially forgetting about it, follow these tips on proper storage for high-end watches:
- Keep the watch in its original box. Expensive watches come in an original box. Sturdy and has a soft interior lining, brands designed these boxes to protect against scratches and other signs of damage during storage. If you no longer have the original box, you can buy a watch case designed for luxury watches.
- Avoid direct sunlight. High temperatures can impair a designer watch’s movement and reduce its value. Keep your watch away from extreme heat or direct sunlight, as this can break down the lubricants inside a watch and damage the delicate parts of its movement.
- Invest in a watch winder. If you own an automatic watch, ensure to keep it wound even if you’re not wearing it. A watch winder is an excellent investment for mechanical watches, as it will keep the timepiece wound and running in storage. This device can also prevent the lubricants inside a watch from settling, preventing damage over time.
3. Avoid Magnetic Objects
According to renowned Japanese watch brand Seiko, magnets can adversely affect watches, obstructing their movement or stopping the timepiece from running. It is crucial to keep a distance between watches and magnetic objects. In particular, Seiko revealed that mobile devices, TVs, computer speakers, magnetic jewelry, bag clasps and hardware, electric razors, hair dryers, and certain parts of refrigerators are all magnetic.
4. Avoid Water Damage
Water damage is a common cause of luxury watch depreciation. Although some timepieces are designed for diving and sailing, if your watch is not water-resistant, do not risk exposing it to water.
5. Use Correct Cleaning Techniques
Proper yet thorough cleaning practices help maintain the value of a luxury timepiece. However, using the appropriate cleaning methods is essential to avoid costly damages. Here are some leading tips and tricks on how to clean a luxury watch:
- Opt for a soft cloth. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe your watches.
- Apply a mild cleaning solution. Use a gentle cleaning solution and a soft cloth to rid your watch of stubborn dirt and grime. Avoid harsh chemicals or strong cleaning products, as these can damage the watch’s surface or strip away the protective coating.
- Avoid accessing and cleaning the movement. Because a high-end watch’s movement is complex and delicate, only a professional watchmaker should clean it. If inexperienced, do not attempt to remove the screws to clean the watch’s movement yourself, as you may lose certain parts and cause damage to your once-valuable piece.
- Be as gentle as possible. Avoid using excessive force when cleaning your watch’s surface. Being too rough can leave scratch marks or damage the movement. Take your time, be patient, and be gentle when cleaning your investment watch.
6. Keep the Original Inclusions
The paper bag, case, paperwork, and any accessories that come with your high-end timepiece are crucial to maintaining its value. From the warranty card and instruction manual to the receipt and other documentation, keeping these items in excellent condition will help your watch retain its value once you are ready to cash in your investment.
7. Avoid Alterations
Although it can be tempting to personalize your watch to make it unique or to suit your personal taste, making alterations can cause your watch’s value to plummet. In particular, here are the top reasons why you should never modify a high-end watch:
- Modifications can damage a timepiece. Altering a luxury watch can ruin its original parts or compromise its overall water resistance. For instance, drilling holes in the case to add diamonds or other embellishments can weaken the piece’s structure. Switching out the original dial or hands can also impact the watch’s originality and lower its resale value.
- Modifications can void the warranty. For obvious reasons, most designer watch brands will not honor the warranty if the piece has been altered in any way. This can be a costly mistake if the watch needs repairs or replacement parts in the future.
- Modifications can lower the watch’s value. Many luxury watches are highly sought-after for their rarity and unique design. Changing a piece’s components can reduce its resale value, as it is no longer in the condition most collectors desire. Watch enthusiasts prefer timepieces in their original state and will pay premium prices for them. Proving this case, in March 2023, Christie’s set a new global record for the most expensive watch sold and auctioned online, with a rare Patek Philippe Sky Moon Tourbillon selling for $5.8 million.
Of course, the exception to the modification rule is if you have no interest in selling your luxury watch or making a high profit. At the end of the day, it’s your timepiece, and you can alter it to your heart’s content.
Takeaway: Maintenance Is Key
High-end watches are investments necessitating proper care and maintenance to preserve their value. Regular servicing, proper storage, avoiding magnetic objects and water damage, following the correct cleaning techniques, keeping the original packaging and documents, and avoiding alterations are all critical to ensuring your timepieces retain their value over time. With these tips and advice, you can enjoy your designer timepieces for several years and see their value rise.
Biltmore Loan and Jewelry is a reputable watch buyer in Phoenix, Arizona. Sell your luxury watch or use it for a loan today.