NYT: Watches are the New Bitcoin

If the New York Times writes a longer-form piece on a trend, is it a bubble? If so, vintage watch lovers might want to watch out.

In a new article, the Times calls out vintage watches as “yet another easy way for the rich to make their money into more money”. From the article:

As tattooed rockers, tech bros and Instagram influencers pile into the tweedy world of watch collecting, prices for sought-after classics from brands like Rolex, Omega and Patek Philippe are shooting up. In some cases, they have doubled in just a couple of years.

These next-generation collectors see old timepieces not just as a subtly stylish way to dress up a T-shirt and jeans, but also as a hot new asset in their investment portfolios. In a market where stocks, bonds and real estate seem at an unsteady peak, do vintage watches present a Bitcoin-in-2017-like growth opportunity? Or are they in a Bitcoin-in-2017-like bubble?

The article references celebs that will be no strangers to watch enthusiasts: the obligatory John Mayer shoutout, as well as Ellen Degeneres, Adam Levine (rainbow Daytona at the Super Bowl, hello), Kevin Rose (of Digg/Watchville fame), and others. And of course there’s a quote from Hodinkee’s Ben Clymer on the Paul Newman bubble:

“The market for Daytona just got a little silly for awhile,” Mr. Clymer said. “We saw references worth $20,000, $25,000 in 2011 to 2015 all of a sudden worth $50,000, then all of a sudden worth $80,000. And now those same references are worth $65,000. That’s still significantly higher than they were, but they’ve come down from the stratosphere.”

This is something I recently mentioned: Paul Newman prices have levelled off the last few years, even with the $17.8m sale of Paul Newman’s Paul Newman in 2017.

Honestly, I was of the opinion that the market had crested near the beginning of 2018 and had levelled off or slightly declined since (generally tracking the rise and slight fall of Heuer prices, I suppose). But if the New York Time is still writing about the trend, perhaps the bubble is yet to pop.

Read the full New York Times article here.