Prices in the secondary market fell 13% last year, across all makes and models, a steeper decline than in the full year of 2022, despite it being the year in which prices peaked in the first quarter and then declined. from April onwards.

Over a three-year period, prices in the secondary market have followed a see-sawing path, but still remain 10% higher than at the start of 2021, according to a report by Morgan Stanley which uses data from WatchCharts.

As for the “big three,” Rolex prices fell 8% in fiscal 2023, Audemars Piguet prices fell 18%, while Patek Philippe watches lost 15% of their value. It's important to note that anyone who buys new watches from authorized dealers can still resell them at a profit, as long as they can find another buyer (professional buyers will offer significantly less).

The “pinball” market that exploded in 2021 and early 2022 has virtually disappeared. Anyone who bought them at the peak has seen their investment decline for seven consecutive quarters.

The report of Morgan Stanley highlights for the first time an important indicator called “value retention“, which compares the retail prices of major brands with those in the secondary market.

It's worth delving into this data reference by reference, but for investors looking for the relative strength of manufacturers, it's a useful guide. Patek Philippe leads the industry, with its watches selling, on average, for 39,4% above retail prices. The premium for Rolex has fallen to 20%, while Audemars Piguet, which once saw its steel Royal Oaks sell for up to 4 times the retail price, now attracts only an average markup of 14,4%.

Each maison of Swatch Group e Richemont, both listed on the stock exchange, has its own watches sold on the secondary market for less than retail prices.

It should be noted that 13% of Vacheron Constantin references still trade at prices above retail, down from 19% in July 2023, but the average for 15 Overseas references records a loss of more than 7% from retail to the secondary market.

Among the “big three,” the highest premiums on the secondary market are paid for the average Patek Philippe Aquanaut, which sells for 80% more than its retail price.

Report: Morgan Stanley Research & WatchCharts