Rolex Appreciation Beat Other Investments Over Past Decade
Why invest in the stock market when you can invest in your wrist.
Why invest in the stock market when you can invest in your wrist.
With 10 years of sales data to draw from, the team at Bob’s Watches, an e-commerce retailer of pre-owned Rolexes and luxury watches, analysed how Rolex values have performed in the secondary market over the past decade compared to stocks, bonds, real estate, and gold. When the results came in, Rolex watches outperformed them all.
“We were surprised by how much the values have appreciated,” says Paul Altieri, founder and CEO of the California-based Bob’s Watches, during a recent interview, noting that few online sources have access to a full decade’s worth of sales data. “We were hoping to come up in the top three, so we were happy that it was number one.”
Evaluating percentage increases for gold and real estate, based on inflation-adjusted values for gold from macrotrends.net and median sales price data for houses sold in the U.S. from the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) database, Rolex watches significantly outperformed both.
When it came to the Dow Jones Industrial Average, based on values from macrotrends.net, returns were comparable over the decade, but Rolex produced significantly higher appreciation percentages over the past five years.
According to the data, the average price of a used Rolex watch rose from less than US$5,000 in 2011 to more than US$13,000 by the end of last year. Intriguingly, the appreciation of Rolex watches since the beginning of the pandemic in early 2020 is nearly equal to the total price increase over the preceding five years.
“Demand is driving that, of course, inflation as well—but inflation only accounts for maybe 20%,” Altieri says. “The vast majority is overwhelming demand. Supply has been constrained and demand just keeps surging globally.”
He added that strong economic growth around the world, and particularly in China and elsewhere in Asia, over the past five years has also helped drive up values.
“Rolex has been a huge benefactor. I would say the same for Omega, Patek Philippe, and Breitling. A lot of brands have had tremendous success the last 10 years, especially the last five, and Rolex is certainly at the top of the list.”
Bob’s Watches also evaluated appreciation by Rolex model. Not surprisingly the brand’s purpose-built sport and tool watches account for eight of the top 15 reference numbers (including the top three positions). While the stainless-steel Submariner 16610 is the single best-selling Rolex reference over the past decade and its two-tone steel-and-gold sibling Ref. 16613 comes in second, Daytona is number one when it comes to the highest-appreciating model with an average pre-owned price topping US$30,000 last year.
“Daytona has always had a broader appeal, a stronger demand,” Altieri explained. “There is at least a five-year waitlist to purchase the new Daytona at retail. It’s a more complicated watch and it has always been a popular model with a higher value.”
As an example, he cites the Ref. 116500 Daytona with a white dial, which sells for around US$38,000 in the secondary market when the official retail price is about US$13,000. “That is the ultimate example of demand and supply being out of sync with each other,” he says.
To illustrate the dramatic shift that has taken place, he said that when Bob’s Watches entered the market in 2010, prices for pre-owned watches typically ran 25% to 40% below full retail in a store. Now, for some models, the pre-owned prices are dramatically higher than retail prices, because those new hot-ticket models are so hard to come by in a store.
Altieri points out that the imbalance has been growing over the last five to 10 years, and he doesn’t predict a correction any time soon. “I don’t see Rolex increasing production substantially to satisfy demand, so quantity will remain limited,” he says, adding that Omega is also surging in demand with unit sales almost doubling last year compared to 2020.
“Watches as a category are really popular today and growing,” he says. “Barring some major recession, I don’t think you will see any change. I know it seems unsustainable, like a bubble, but I just don’t see it changing.”
Reprinted by permission of Penta. Copyright 2021 Dow Jones & Company. Inc. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Original date of publication: February 1, 2022.
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You’ll never guess where they found a little extra room when renovating this west coast house
There was a time, not too long ago, when the most important must-have for would-be renovators was space. It was all about space to be together and space to be apart.
But as house prices increase across the country, the conversation has started to shift from size for the sake of it towards more flexible, well-designed spaces better suited to contemporary living.
For the owners of this 1920s weatherboard workers’ cottage in Fremantle, the emphasis was less on having an abundance of room and more about creating cohesive environments that could still maintain their own distinct moods. Key to achieving this was manipulating the floorplan in such a way that it could draw in light, giving the impression at least of a larger footprint.
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Positioned on a site that fell three metres from street level, the humble four-room residence had been added to over the years. First order of business for local architect Philip Stejskal was to strip the house back to its original state.
“In this case, they were not quality additions,” Stejskal says. “Sometimes it is important to make sure later additions are not lean-tos.”
The decision to demolish was not taken lightly.
“Sometimes they can be as historically significant as the original building and need to be considered — I wouldn’t want people to demolish our addition in 50 years’ time.”
Northern light hits the site diagonally, so the design solution was to open up the side of the house via a spacious courtyard to maximise opportunities to draw natural light in. However, this had a knock-on effect.
“We had to make space in the middle of the site to get light in,” Stejskal says. “That was one of the first moves, but that created another issue because we would be looking onto the back of the neighbouring building at less appealing things, like their aircon unit.”
To draw attention away from the undesirable view, Stejskal designed a modern-day ‘folly’.
“It’s a chimney and lookout and it was created to give us something nice to look at in the living space and in the kitchen,” Stejskal says.
“With a growing family, the idea was to create a space where people could find a bit of solitude. It does have views to the wider locality but you can also see the port and you can connect to the street as well.”
A garden tap has also been installed to allow for a herb garden at the top of the steps.
“That’s the plan anyway,” he says.
Conjuring up space has been at the core of this project, from the basement-style garaging to the use of the central courtyard to create a pavilion-like addition.
The original cottage now consists of two bedrooms, with a central hallway leading onto a spacious reception and living area. Here, the large kitchen and dining spaces wrap around the courtyard, offering easy access to outdoor spaces via large sliding doors.
Moments of solitude and privacy have been secreted throughout the floorplan, with clever placement of built-in window seats and the crow’s nest lookout on the roof, ideal for morning coffee and sunset drinks.
The house has three bedrooms, including a spacious master suite with walk-in robe and ensuite overlooking the back garden. Adjustable blades on the bedroom windows allow for the control of light, as well as privacy. Although the house was designed pre COVID, it offers the sensibility so many sought through that time — sanctuary, comfort and retreat.
“When the clients came to us, they wanted a house that was flexible enough to cater for the unknown and changes in the family into the future,” Stejskal says. “We gave the owners a series of spaces and a certain variety or moods, regardless of the occasion. We wanted it to be a space that would support that.”
Mood has also been manipulated through the choice of materials. Stejskal has used common materials such as timber and brick, but in unexpected ways to create spaces that are at once sumptuous but also in keeping with the origins of the existing building.
Externally, the brickwork has been finished in beaded pointing, a style of bricklaying that has a softening effect on the varied colours of bricks. For the flooring, crazy paving in the courtyard contrasts with the controlled lines of tiles laid in a stack bond pattern. Close attention has also been paid to the use of veneer on select joinery in the house, championing the beauty of Australian timbers with a lustrous finish.
“The joinery is finished in spotted gum veneer that has been rotary cut,” says Stejskal. “It is peeled off the log like you peel an apple to give you this different grain.”
Even the laundry has been carefully considered.
“The laundry is like a zen space with bare stone,” he says. “We wanted these different moods and the landscape of rooms. We wanted to create a rich tapestry in this house.”
The owners now each experience the house differently, highlighting separate aspects of the building as their favourite parts. It’s quite an achievement when the site is not enormous. Maybe it’s not size that matters so much after all.
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