Its all too easy to focus on the obvious gems of the preowned watch market, but following recent conversations with leading motoring pundits, the words ‘bottom of the depreciation curve’ ring increasingly true in the horological world as well.
Not so long ago, the variety so called entry level secondhand luxury watches were fairly widely available, but with the increasing number of collectors and investors out there, even lesser known branded 60s and 70s chronographs and time only sports watches are hitting stratospheric numbers at auction.
If a dress watch isn't for you, but you still seek a quality near vintage alternative to a Seiko or Citizen, then look no further than Tag Heuer.
Considering the starting point for a new Tag Heuer is a tad north of £1000, for less than half that amount (and par to a ‘designer brand’) a preowned Tag Heuer is well within reach.
An illustrious manufacturer, early Heuer’s, the origin of the brand, are competitively sought after, with Monacos, Autavias and Carreras commanding late four figures and even in some rarer cases, into the five figure price point. Between 1985 and the early 2000s, Tag underwent the transformation of all transformations, resetting their target market from motor racing (and along with it, those evocative racetrack names) into the leading retailer of dive and sport oriented timepieces. Across the range, 200m water resistance became the benchmark along with some interesting and well thought out case designs, which today are deeply underrated.
The most successful ranges in era, are now in relatively plentiful supply in the secondary market. A pure dive watch design , the 1000, 1500 and 2000 ranges were best sellers, offering robust daily wearers, with a choice of steel, rubber, leather and bi-metal bracelets. Seeking out the more unusual dials is prudent, and should afford the wearer a long term investment as well as a desirable timepiece. The luminous 1000, red and military 1000 are already on the up. The 38mm cases may not seem contemporary but this is still larger than a Rolex Datejust and only marginally smaller than an Omega Seamaster.
Next up comes the Link. Chronographs command a premium but a good used Link can be achieved for well under £1000. A fish bone inspired bracelet sits comfortably on the wrist and is arguably one of the most robust daily wearers available, even today.
Finally the marmite choice. The Kirium. Designed by Jorg Hysek, the Kirium was the premium Tag in era, but with changing fashions, is now eminently affordable thanks to being discontinued almost a decade ago. The Kirium was always the dressier option. Robust and stylish, Kiriums always look better on the wrist than in a box, and have aged well. Non chronos start from £300 and up. This does seem insane value when inflation is taken into consideration.
The smart money always goes on condition. We wouldn’t recommend buying the cheapest Tag out there, as clearly it will have seen use and being the watch’s last owner could prove costly. Spending £500 easily gets a 2000 or a Kirium, and a couple of hundred more gets a desirable dial option or even a chronograph.
The final box for ticking (in V&P’s eyes) is the connection. So here goes. Jason Bourne wore a Link, Barack Obama wears a 1500, The 2000 chronograph featured prominently in Die Hard 2, and Brad Pitt sported a Kirium in Moneyball.