Two Excellent Watches for Long-Term “Investment”

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Hands up! This article’s based on the article 5 Best Watches to Invest in Right Now. Writing at t3.com, Spencer Hart advises us that the Tudor Heritage Black Bay, Rolex Submariner, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Automatic, OMEGA Seamaster 300M and Panerai Luminor Base are timepieces giving you the best chance of not losing, sorry, making money . . .

Layup! All of those models are classics. Save the Tudor, they’ve been in production in the same form for decades. Unfortunately, buying one is harder than finding a female unicorn (as per the hot/crazy matrix). Which leaves us looking for “investment” watches that aren’t headline attractions. [NB: A Watch Is Not An Asset.]

Cartier Tank Must Watch SolarBeat™ – $2,790

A watch from a famous luxury brand holds its value better than something, anything downmarket or obscure (save high-end watchmakers no one but FU money can afford). The Cartier brand positively oozes cachet, and will continue to do so ’til the rivers all run dry.

Like the horological icons chosen by t3.com, the Cartier Tank has been around for donkey’s years. Louis Cartier launched his Renault tank-inspired design in 1918, at the conclusion of The War to End All Wars.

I’d like to see today’s Cartier designers take their cue from the sleek new Abrams X. Meanwhile, the Cartier Tank collection offers money both old and new a wide range of instantly recognizable Tanks. The cool thing about this one? It’s solar-powered.

While most TTAW readers turn up their noses at a watch that doesn’t have a bunch of internal metal pieces moving in perfect harmony, the solar Cartier costs you bupkis to maintain. It appeals to women who are brand obsessed and can’t be bothered to wind their watch (overlapping circles in the Venn diagram I’m afraid).

Muhammad Ali wearing a Cartier Tank

This 29.5 mm x 22 mm, 6.6 mm thick variant is a damn small wristlet. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing. As you can see above, real men wear tiny Tanks. Or did. Will in the future? Paging Harry Styles! Anyway, unisex means twice the potential market come sale time.

While the $2790 Solarbeat is a bit pricey compared to a $38 Casio solar watch, the diminutive Cartier Tank is just as beautifully made as its bigger brethren. In fact, the Solarbeat is an excellent value proposition. It’s a little cheaper than the quartz version ($2930), but less dear than the steel auto ($4400).

The Solarbeat Tank won’t appreciate as much as a full-on gold model, but it’s easy-in, easy-out. You’re welcome.

OMEGA Seamaster 1948 – Around $5k

Buying a pre-owned watch is a good way to protect your horological “investment.” That’s assuming the watch is a desirable piece that took a hit straight out of the gate, that will someday return, Phoenix-like, to its original sticker. Or better. (Inflation counts!)

Good luck choosing one of those, right? There are a lot of variables involved: maker, movement, condition, quantity produced and long-term wrist appeal, to name a few. I nominate the OMEGA Seamaster 1948.

Not-so-coincidentally, the Swiss watchmaker made 1,948 retro-style 1948’s. The 38mm stainless steel watch boasts an opaline silvery domed dial with small seconds right where they belong (at the 6). OMEGA fashioned the leaf style hands, indexes and the coveted (deceptive) vintage logo in 18K white gold.

Unlike the early OMEGAs to which the Seamaster 1948 pays homage/slavishly copies, this one’s powered by their robust anti-magnetic self-winding coaxial METAS-certified Master Chronometer Calibre 8804. It’s the only watch so motivated. Which makes its both serviceable and rare.

OMEGA Caliber 8804

The 1948’s busy AF caseback is a pet peeve – the 70th Anniversary logo, Chris-Craft boat and the clipped wing Gloster Meteor obscure the beautiful movement. (A more expensive London Olympics version is even more occluded.) Despite that, or maybe because of it, I predict the 1948 will age well, financially speaking. Let me know . . .

2 COMMENTS

  1. Automatic and mechanical watches are fun, but solar powered is looking to be a great compromise between the relative longevity of an automatic or mechanical watch and the convenience of a quartz watch with a (non-solar) battery life of two years.

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