Luxury Watch Market Watch 1: Rolex Down

Bulgari - Geneva watch dealers closed (courtesy thewatches.tv)

Welcome to the first update for the TTAW Watch Market Index. We will be updating this series of posts every week or so, or sooner if something unexpected happens. The story this week . . .

the higher end of the pre-owned watch market continues its slow move downwards. Two of our bellwether Rolex – the Panda Daytona and Rolex Explorer 1 – dropped a couple of (listed) percent.

The softness in the Rolex¬† market shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone who reads this website. Saying that, someone bought a Pepsi GMT-Master on eBay a few days ago for $19k. 19k. That is remarkable.¬†Cartier Tank - watch market doldrums?

At the middle end of the market, prices remain stable. Some models – like the Bell & Ross BR05 and the Cartier Tank – didn’t see a single price shift all week.

This doesn’t necessarily mean mid-market watch values are holding firm during the coronavirus shutdown. It could simply reflect the well-established fact that sales are down generally.

Bell & Ross Turn Coordinator

In fact, a market flying level and one with zero sales would look very similar from external observation of marketplace prices. In other words, it’s entirely possible no one’s biting and the dealers aren’t desperate enough to drop prices. Yet.

As has been mentioned before, publicly listed prices are usually the last to see strong downward moves, as dealers shake the trees of their loyal customers first, then more informal markets, and only finally bringing prices down on marketplaces.

Chrono24 watch market

Lending credence to this theory is that the observed bottom-three prices haven’t changed at all. In a market with healthy turnover, we would expect to see small changes in both directions as inventory gets put on the market and sellers optimize for placement and conversion rate.

The fact that we’re not seeing tells us the $3k to $5k end of the market is completely frozen. Everything else shifted a bit as the cheapest inventory got picked off and dealers adjusted pricing.

In short, it’s quiet out there. Too quiet? Watch this space. Updates to follow.

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