Times are tough and getting tougher. Millions of jobs are being lost globally in tourism, aviation, restaurants, media, face-to-face retailing and many more sectors. Even the watch industry may yet see a big downturn in demand as people put off luxury item purchases in 2020.
But let’s assume you have some cash – say 10K – earning a feeble 1% interest in a UK bank or cash ISA now. What do you do, risk it buying gold bullion, a classic car, guitar, or maybe a couple of watches? After all a Swiss watch doesn’t need a heated garage, servicing, tyres, oil, spare parts and insurance at £250 a year. So that’s a plus. On the downside, you may find some roaming Orcs in London might want to part you from your Rolex at the tip of a machete, so you will mostly keep your fancy watches inside a safe. Or even an underground vault.
ROLEX GMT II BATMAN
Now you could splash that entire £10,000 on a Rolex GMT II, and have change to buy a heavy safe and have it bolted to your floor. Just.
At £7,750 on the David Robinson website, a GMT II Batman in blue and black is a handsome watch; 70 hour reserve, reliable, not too big in terms of case size and a classic design that isn’t likely to go out of fashion either. The advantage that the Batman model has over the red/blue Pepsi GMT is that the Batman does NOT look like a Seiko from 10 paces. A definite plus point.
You will always find a queue of buyers when you decide to sell – that’s a given with almost any Rolex beyond the Air-King range and blingy Oyster Perpetual models that have limited appeal to mainly middle-aged male watch collector market. The only downside is the dang Rolex GMT II Batman waiting list malarkey. But that long list may get shorter once the recession bites a bit harder later this year.
TUDOR BLACK BAY 58
We love this watch. For just under £2,800 you get a 39mm case, black dial wristwatch that is beautifully finished, has a 70 hour reserve, COSC certified movement with some Tudor in-house tweaks and a very Rolex-esque bracelet link design. A slimmer case for the 58 model launched in 2019 means this watch sits better on the wrist than the altogether chunkier pre-2019 Black Bay models.
No, it isn’t a poor man’s Rolex. It is a fantastic value Swiss watch that has far greater resale value and long term investment potential than say an Omega Seamaster, TAG Heuer Carrera (nearly four grand new, worth about 2K after 2 years of ownership as a PX) or a Breitling Superocean 44 in blue, which retails at about £2800. Again, try getting more than £1500 back in PX value when you sell that hipster Breitling with its silicone rubber strap.
CHOPARD MILLE MIGLIA 2019 RACE EDITION
There’s a big range of Chopard Mille Miglia watches, too many some might say. But this one ticks all the right boxes. Classic tan strap, which actually features a tyre tread design on the inside – in fact it looks like a Dunlop K70 tread pattern from my BSA days. Classic chrono layout, with big pushers that are easy to operate, even beside a windswept racetrack on a cold day.
Inside you find an in-house Chopard 25 jewel movement, automatic of course and based on the trusty Valjoux 7750, although like many 7750 movement derived watches today, it’s had the benefit of new manufacturing techniques to make it a better performer in terms of accuracy, and power reserve, at 48 hours on this one.
For £6300 or so, you get a watch which is stunningly finished, with a grey dial, polished steel details, that 1000Km Mille Miglia logo on the back and an overall look that’s similar to classic race clocks inside a 1960s sports car. The grey, sort of lined dial, makes a change from the usual black/white combo seen on road racing themed chronographs. For that alone, we salute this watch – dare to be different, as Tudor might say.
It’s limited to 1000 pieces, so whilst that’s no guarantee of future collectibility- it helps. In short, the Mille Miglia Race Edition stands out a little bit, and at 44mm case diameter this one will always impress a great many people too.