- Luxury watches outperformed most other asset classes last year, according to Morgan Stanley.
- Secondhand watch prices fell 8%, compared with the S&P 500’s 19% drop and bitcoin’s 65% crash.
- Mid-priced brands like Cartier and Omega have actually rallied over the past three months, the bank said.
Luxury watches like Rolex and Patek Philippe were better-performing assets than stocks and cryptocurrencies last year, according to Morgan Stanley.
The price of secondhand high-end models fell just 8% in 2022, the bank said in a research note published Wednesday, citing data from WatchCharts.
That performance beat that of popular US stock indices like the benchmark S&P 500 , which fell 19%, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, which plunged 33%. It also outdid leading cryptocurrency bitcoin, which crashed 65%.
“Nearly all asset classes are down so far over the past 18 months, but the market for secondhand watches is actually down less in comparison to others,” a team led by equity analyst Edouard Aubin said.
Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet are seen by watch lovers as the “Big Three” luxury makers, with a 70% market share. But prices for preowned timepieces fell slightly for all those brands in the last quarter of 2022, Morgan Stanley said.
Secondhand Rolex prices slipped 5% over that three-month period, led by losses from the popular Daytona, GMT Master II, and Submariner models.
Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet prices dropped just under 7% in the final quarter of 2022.
Big Three preowned watches fell in value due to a supply surge and because prices had shot up so dramatically in the previous two years that there wasn’t any space for further rallies, according to Morgan Stanley.
“It appears that the decline of secondary prices of these big brands was mostly a function of price normalization, as these brands should have experienced the largest price appreciation in the last 24 months,” Aubin’s team said.
“As these three brands account for around 70% of the secondary watch market, their price decline continued to weigh on the overall market.”
But models made by midmarket names like Cartier, Omega, and Tudor actually rose in price in the final three months of the year, per Morgan Stanley. The S&P 500 rose 4% and bitcoin fell 14% over the same period.