From The Straits Times    |

Photography: Tan Wei Te / Art direction: Alice Chua
Location: Brightime at The Bencoolen

You’ve finally figured out if you should save or invest your hard-earned money and you’re now looking to diversity your portfolio. Just where do you start? Don’t worry; we’re here to help.

But why watches, you ask? Simple. Timepieces have an interesting role in the market: They’re not just functional accessories, but they also double up as an investment. Kind of perfect for our fashionable readers, wouldn’t you agree?

So without further ado, here are the top brands that are likely to give you the best returns.





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The undisputed champion, particularly in the Asian market. Why? “The mindset is that if you are in need of cash, a Rolex is always a valuable asset to trade in,” says Elizabeth Hsu, owner of Brightime by Championtime, which deals in pre-owned luxury timepieces.

Many of the classic models are still in demand, but one of the most sought-after is the Rolex Submariner (pictured left), which has had consistently strong market value since the 1960s. Hsu says that 10 years ago, a first-hand Rolex Submariner cost about $8,000. Today, it’s good for about $6,000 on the secondhand market. A growing number of younger clientele are now opting for sports models like the Submariner-Date, the Yacht-Master or the GMTMaster. This will drive up their popularity and boost their resale value.


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With its strong signature military look and large face, Panerai has ridden on the bigwatch trend. It also owes its popularity to limited product numbers, and its unique versatility. “Panerai watches come with a tool to change the straps whenever you like,” says Hsu. “When female customers entered the Panerai market, the brand released a full range of different coloured straps.” Models like the Panerai Radomir Black Seal (45mm) keep their resale value well even after a few years.


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Demand for Audemars Piguet watches has spiked in recent years, driven by the brand’s limited-edition timepieces. Hsu says people tend to buy them as investments, with the aim of trading up later.

One of the most popular (favoured for its contemporary look), and accessible (at about $40k), models is the Royal Oak Off shore.


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Of course this luxury timepiece juggernaut makes the list: its watches owe their steep prices to complex handmade mechanisms and extremely high quality control. “As long as you have the budget, Patek Philippe is always the number one brand on the market,” says Hsu.

An entry-level model like the Twenty-4, a quartz number that runs on batteries, will easily set you back about $20k.


This story was originally published in the June 2017 issue of Her World magazine.