The Watches To Watch In 2021
The markets for vintage and pre-owned-modern watches have seen a dramatic rise in interest over the last year. That is thanks in no small part to a global pandemic that has forced nearly the entirety of civilization indoors and inspired many to research and explore the world of luxury watches and watchmaking.
Our sponsor, eBay Watches, has recently doubled down on the secondary market's resurgence by launching their Authenticity Guarantee and Escrow services. Gone are the days of purchasing a watch on eBay and crossing your fingers that it would arrive on time, be in the condition the seller reported, and most importantly, be the genuine article. eBay’s Authenticity Guarantee is professional authentication with secure delivery, at no cost to you. The service is available for any luxury watch purchase over $2,000.
For each qualified watch purchased over $2,000, the seller will send the timepiece to eBay’s authenticity center for a full review down to the box and papers. The watches will then be neatly packed and sent on to their future homes (and wrists!).
The Watches To Watch In 2021
Though there is a litany of watches on eBay – approximately 165,000 daily live listings – the platform offers everything from highly desirable Swatch Watches to coveted Richard Mille creations. So Team Watchonista chose some of its favorite timepieces that are currently undervalued in the marketplace for today's list.
Vintage Audemars Piguet
Over the past five years, thanks to the leadership of François-Henry Bennahmias (CEO of Audemars Piguet), the iconic brand from Le Brassus has seen a meteoric rise in the prices of its modern timepieces. Similar to brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe, the prices of Audemars Piguet’s stainless steel timepieces have tripled and even quadrupled in some cases.
However, one undervalued segment from Audemars Piguet’s past collections would have to be vintage Royal Oaks from the 1980s. We’re not talking highly desirable Jumbos; we are talking about mid-sized Royal Oaks available in a variety of case materials and complications.
Pictured is the Royal Oak Day-Date Two Tone. A 36mm reference in stainless steel and yellow gold. A few years ago, this timepiece was trading for $4,000-$5,000 in secondary markets like eBay. Today the watch can fetch north of $20,000.
Another overlooked watch is the Omega Speedmaster ‘57 Chronograph. While this is by no means a Moonwatch, it was inspired by the very first Speedmaster model, the CK 2915 "Broad Arrow." Released in 2017, the Speedmaster ‘57 still trades for around its retail price of $7,250, which is shocking considering vintage CK 2915 models can easily go for upwards of $100,000 plus.
The Speedmaster ‘57 is sized at 38.60mm and powered by the manually wound Omega calibre 1861 movement. When it was released, customers had the option of purchasing the standalone reference (a limited edition of 3,557) or purchasing the coveted Trilogy Set (limited to 557 sets). Either way, expect to pay between $5,000-8,000 for the Speedmaster ’57 Chronograph.
Hublot’s Past Ambassadors
Over its four decades of existence, Hublot has disrupted industry norms time and time again. From unique ambassadors like Sang Bleu to sponsoring the entire FIFA World Cup, Hublot is no stranger to the world of partnerships.
One such partnership that often gets overlooked is the brand’s relationship with Shawn Carter. You know, Jay-Z.
In 2013, this relationship culminated in the production of two Classic Fusion Shawn Carter editions. The watches were the perfect accompaniment to Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail album released at the same time.
The first was a black ceramic model (limited to 250 pieces) with an initial sticker price of $17,900, while the second was a limited edition (100 pieces) model in 3N yellow gold. Both watches were available almost exclusively at the now-shuttered Barney's department store in New York City. And in the last year, the Classic Fusion Shawn Carter editions have seen a nearly 40% rise in their secondary market valuations.
Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Master Control
One of La Grande Maison’s most renowned timepieces doesn’t get nearly the love that it wholeheartedly deserves: the Master Control. A staple of Jaeger-LeCoultre's collections for decades, the Master Control is known for its 1,000 Hour Control. Meaning each Master Control passes a standardized 1,000-hour test for accuracy, temperature and atmosphere, shock and magnetic resistance, and waterproofness.
The stainless steel Master Control is Jaeger-LeCoultre’s most affordable stainless steel timepiece. But don't let its comparatively small price tag fool you. There is plenty of watchmaking prowess contained within each Master Control, including one of the brand's proprietary in-house movements with up to 70 hours of power reserve.
As pictured, the 39mm Master Control has highly polished sloping lugs and a finely finished calibre 899AC movement visible through the sapphire crystal caseback. Nowadays, you can pick up a Jager-LeCoultre Master Control anywhere from $3,000-$6,000, depending on the configuration.
Tudor’s Black Bay GMT
Last but certainly not least, we have the Tudor Black Bay GMT. This watch was highly regarded at the time of its release in 2018 but has seen interest cool in the years since, as it's become more readily available in retailers and the secondary market. Despite that, this uber-cool traveling companion is available on Tudor's proprietary NATO strap, brown leather strap, or a stainless steel bracelet.
Sized at 41mm and powered by Tudor's manufacture calibre MT5652, the Tudor Black Bay GMT is COSC certified and ready to hit the road once you're fully vaccinated. While collectors may be unable to get their hands on a Rolex GMT Master II, collectors can easily acquire a 'Pepsi' bezel Tudor Black Bay GMT for around retail.