The mechanical wristwatch is back. If you don’t believe us, check the wrists of your friends and colleagues and you’ll be sure to notice more luxury timepieces out in the wild than ever before. LVMH, the luxury conglomerate that owns such powerhouse watch brands as TAG Heuer, Zenith, and Hublot, recently reported a 76 percent growth rate for the first nine months of 2011 for it watches and jewelry segment, driven by an uptick in sales for each one of its timepiece brands. Competitors Swatch (which owns Omega, Blancpain and Breguet) and Richemont (Vacheron Constantin, Panerai, and Cartier) have reported similarly strong outlooks for 2012. But, with increased demand from consumers and a surging Swiss Franc, the prices of great timepieces are getting more expensive by the week.
In fact, several of the large watch companies have raised their prices three times in 2011 alone. Price increases are natural part of the luxury watch industry, but rarely do they occur with such regularity. This is the list of the top five watches to invest in this year, before they get even more expensive next year.
Rolex Daytona (Steel)
Last year, Rolex introduced a new Daytona with ceramic bezel in rose gold at Basel World, leading us to believe that a stainless steel Daytona with a ceramic bezel was a matter of time. Then, we spotted Rolex Ambassador Roger Federer wearing what we thought was a vintage Rolex Daytona at first, but then came to realize we may have actually spotted a prototype with black bezel. If this watch is as hot as the collecting community thinks it will be, the new Daytonas will be considerably more expensive than they are now, and next to impossible to get. This is what could be the last generation Daytonas with steel bezels to be made now. (Rolex)