Brexit makes Rolex prices soar

Date: 08 Dec 2016

Bumblebee Design

David Sonnenthal, founder of New Bond Street Pawnbrokers in London’s Mayfair, also says if buying for investment stick to Rolex, Breguet, Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe.


Is it a good time to invest in watches? 

Yes, political uncertainty in various countries across the world can cause adverse effects on the value of currency, meaning foreign investors can pick up bargains like watches. We’re certainly seeing this post-Brexit. Regardless of the political situation though, it’s well worth investing in vintage watches at the moment.


What are the best buying strategies?

When the new Rolex Daytona came out in June this year, it retailed at £8,250. Within days a number of dealers had put theirs up for sale, with a going rate of £14,000; a cool £5,750 in profit. This isn’t a phenomenon that’s exclusive to Rolex either. If you can get your name on waiting lists for the most sought-after watch brands, buy them as soon as they’re available. There will be people willing to take them off your hands at an inflated price almost immediately.


What watches are the best investments?

If you’re looking to invest, it’s good to stick with the top brands. I think Rolex, Breguet, Audemars Piguet and Patek Philippe are all winners. All of these brands have lengthy waiting lists for their top models, and the demand is strong.

What should clients watch for when buying a timepiece?

If you’re just getting started, I’d recommend purchasing watches from auction houses, or directly from the manufacturer. This gives the purchaser the peace of mind that their new timepiece is authentic. As you become more skilled, and your ability to spot a fake improves, you can start thinking about buying from private dealers.


Has Brexit impacted the watch industry?

The post-Brexit weakness of the pound against the US dollar has meant that American dealers have plundered the British market, snapping up watches that are effectively 20% cheaper. Watch collectors in Britain were quick to see the trend, and decided to put the prices up to fend off American buyers looking for a deal. The result is that prices have effectively doubled, not just making up for the 20% deficit exploited by US dealers, but exceeding it. Rainbow Daytona for instance would typically sell for £60,000 before the referendum, but these days you’d be hard pressed to find one for less than £120,000.


How does that impact British buyers?

Many Brits who are looking to invest in their first luxury watch are priced out of the market. It feels a bit like the housing market: those who aren’t on the ladder are struggling to get a foothold. Rolex is one brand that has seen especially steep price hikes. In my twenty years working in the luxury industry in Mayfair, I’ve never seen such a sharp increase in the value of a particular brand over such a short space of time. I attribute this to Brexit. I get the feeling that the British watch market will only get more expensive, not more affordable. If you’re thinking of investing, sooner rather than later would be advisable.