Do Omega Watches Hold Their Value? (What Our EXPERIENCE Says!)
From the wrist of Buzz Aldrin as he took his slightly less famous first steps on the moon, to the deepest depths of the Mariana Trench on a Deep Submergence Vehicle, no watch brand has covered as much geographical ground as Omega.
Their timepieces have come to represent some of the most important explorations and achievements in not just horology but history as well.
The historic powerhouse from the Swatch group holds a special place in the hearts of watch enthusiasts everywhere (except for maybe a few Rolex Fanboys), but do Omega Watches hold their value, and are they good investments?
Are Omega Watches a Good Investment?
Todays “Hype” culture has certainly turned the watch industry on its head. In the last few years, the value of a watch seems to be defined more by the resale value than the actual craftsmanship and quality of the timepiece.
You can’t look at a forum or a Facebook post, without someone asking if X brand is a good investment or will X brand go up in value. Before we dive into Omega and how they play into the whole value and investment game, let’s define what a good investment is.
Traditionally, an investment is an opportunity for you to profit off of the ownership of an item as it appreciates over time. Owning Apple stock in the 1980s? Good Investment! Owning Bitcoin during its infancy? Good Investment! Buying a Beanie baby at the peak of their craze? Lord help you!
Now that we have this covered, let me just state that “investing” in watches is not a great use of your financial resources. With the exception of a few models, they will rarely outpace a more traditional method of investing. Just because it may not be the “best’ use of your investment portfolio, doesn’t mean it can’t be fun and lucrative. At least, that’s what I tell myself!
What if we broaden the scope of what “investment” and “value” mean? There is inherent value to these watches. There is value in the way they make us feel when we put them on or find another crazy watch enthusiast in the wild and “have a moment”.
In this article, we are going to look at both the monetary aspects of investment for how certain models retain value, as well as the intangible value, the investment in yourself and in a hobby that brings you happiness.
With a brand as diverse as Omega the answer to does Omega hold its value can’t be simple. Let’s stick to the classics and take a look at 2 core models, both new and pre owned, as well as some vintage offerings to gain a better understanding.
Is the Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch a good investment?
There are few, if any, watches that are as iconic as the Omega Speedmaster Professional. As mentioned earlier, the thing has been to the moon! How can you beat that? The recently enhanced Speedmaster Professional, Reference – 310.30.42.50.01.002, has the classic Speedmaster look that NASA and watch enthusiast alike swoon over.
It also features some nods to the past, like a dot over 90 bezel (if you know, you know) and a vintage logo on the clasp. Inside of this beautiful package you get a Caliber 3861 Co-Axial Master Chronometer that delivers excellent timekeeping and anti magnetism properties.
This watch is priced at about $6900 dollars and although I can’t believe I’m saying this about an item that cost 3X my first car, is an absolute value. The prestigious history, quality fit and finish, and modern movement make this watch shine, especially when compared to the competition.
Is it an investment though? Not by the standard definition. At the time of this article they are trading at roughly a couple of hundred dollars below their MSRP. The fact that this doesn’t exponentially grow the second you leave the Authorized Dealer might have you feel as though this is not a good buy.
I can assure you, this is an exceptional watch to purchase! Unlike some other prestigious Swiss watch manufactures, Omega is not shy about producing watches that their customers want to buy in high volume.
Even with this production they are difficult to obtain at some Authorized Dealers and sell for virtually the same as what you paid for it pre owned.
An often overlooked aspect of the value of a watch is the ease of which you will be able to part with it if you decide it’s time to go your separate ways.
There will always be buyers for a preowned Omega Speedmaster Professional. They are as close to liquid as any watch that that doesn’t rhyme with Boflex can get.
When you purchase a new Omega Speedmaster Professional, you are getting a watch that will generally keep its monetary value, has a very broad resale audience, and most importantly can hold its own against any other luxury watch in its price range!
The Standard Omega Speedmaster may not be a great investment in the sense that it will earn you money in the long run, but your money will be safe, and your enjoyment will be off the charts!
Are Pre-Owned Omega Speedmasters a good value?
One of the benefits of a watch that has changed its design very little in the last 50+ years is that only the most experienced of Omega aficionados will be able to discern a pre owned example from the latest and greatest. The value of a pre owned Speedmaster Professional tends to follow the shape of an inverted bell curve.
When the watch is the newest reference, the resale value is quite high, almost flat with MSRP. As the model ages, it tends to lose value, sometimes to as much as 40% of the original MSRP, depending on condition.
This is what we could the floor and represents both the absolute best time to buy and worst time to sell, as these two are inversely related. Once you hit this floor value, the price tends to creep up. Especially as it crosses into neo vintage and the true vintage category. What was once seen as outdated features become nostalgic and before you know it you have a true classic!
What modern Omega Speedmaster Models are good investments?
Not all Omega Speedmasters are the same! One of the greatest benefits, or downside depending on your perspective, with Omega is that they produce several varieties of their watches.
There really is a Speedmaster flavor for every customer. Because of this there are some models that are quite rare and have become incredible investments for those lucky enough to purchase from an Authorized Dealer.
The first of these watches is the Omega Speedmaster Professional “Snoopy” Limited Edition, reference number 3578.51.00, of 5441 pieces. This watch features the standard Speedmaster case, bracelet, and movement from a 2003 Speedmaster Professional, but with one not so minor addition.
Everyone’s favorite cartoon dog, Snoopy, graces both the caseback and 9 o’clock sub dial of the watch as a nod to the Snoopy Award given to Omega for their pivotal role in the safe return of the Apollo 13 mission. This watch originally retailed for a slight premium over the $5k Omega Speedmaster Professional of its day, but has now sky rocketed to a $25k-$35K investment grade classic.
A more recent example of this exponential growth from a Speedmaster comes from the 50th anniversary to this Apollo 13 mission in the form of the Speedmaster Moonwatch “Silver Snoopy Award”, reference number 310.32.42.50.02.01, of 2020.
This watch again predictably features our cartoon friend on the 9 o’clock sub dial and case back. Despite not being technically a limited edition, this model is a limited production and much like its 2003 predecessor has become virtually unobtainable.
Despite carrying a slightly higher MSRP of roughly $9,600, this watch now features a resale value of roughly $26k- 33k. Although these watches do not add much more from the standard Speedmaster Professionals, despite some aesthetic changes, there is no doubt that for those lucky enough to acquire at retail, they fall well within the category of investment grade watches
Does the Omega Seamaster Hold its Value?
How about the other iconic model in Omegas lineup? Does the Omega Seamaster Professional 300m hold value? The current model Seamaster 300m, reference number 18.104.22.168.01.001 is a 42mm capable dive watch with a 120 click ceramic bezel, helium release valve, and iconic wave motif dial and skeleton hands.
From the outside the model has not changed much aesthetically from the much loved Bond Seamaster from the 1990’s that helped revitalize the brand.
The inside, however, has been completely updated with Omegas signature Caliber 8800 featuring a co axial escapement and exceptional anti magnetism. This movement has passed METAS certification promising 0-+3 seconds of accuracy per day.
Considering what you get with this watch, the roughly $5400 is more than a fair price. This is especially true when you compare this to the obvious competition of a Rolex Submariner.
Either of these watches would make a great everyday sports watch, but only one of these is readily available at Authorized Dealers. Despite the fact that the Rolex Submariner already has a significantly higher MSRP at roughly $10,100, they are generally only available for a premium through the gray market.
How about this Omega Seamaster 300m? Does the Seamaster sell for several thousand more than MSRP like the Submariner. Thankfully no! You could argue that this fact hurts the investment potential, and you’d be right, but it makes it a tremendously valuable option in the eyes of your average watch enthusiast.
Much like the Speedmaster Pro, your money is going to be fairly safe and liquid with a Seamaster 300m. If you purchase new and decide to sell it a few months or years down the line, you can expect to lose roughly 25%. In the days of watches selling used over MSRP this may seem crazy, but for a luxury watch this is actually quite well.
Are Pre owned Omega Seamasters a good value?
The slight decrease in value for a preowned Seamaster 300m does have a very beneficial consequence for us thrifty shoppers out there. You can pick up a lightly used model for roughly 20-25% off of MSRP. When you start to compare this lower priced Seamaster to its competition at Rolex pre owned, you know have a value prop that is too good to pass up.
This is where the true value of this model lies, an honest dive watch, made by a prestigious Swiss watchmaker, with a luxury fit and finish all for about 1/3 the price of its closest rival.
Can Omega Seamasters be a good investment?
Much like the Speedmaster, there are some models within the Seamaster 3OOm line that have crossed the threshold of investment grade. Much like the Snoopy collaboration, this watch finds its increased value from a famous partnership, this time in the form of Bond, James Bond.
The Omega Seamaster 300m James Bond Limited Edition, reference number 22.214.171.124.01.004, sports the same specs as the standard Seamaster 300m, all while trading in the wave motif for a signature design mimicking the barrel of hand gun.
These few changes, along with the limitation of “only” 7007 pieces, are enough to completely flip the script on the value vs investment argument. This watch originally retailed for a slight premium at $6500. It has long sold out, leaving the only option for those on the hunt to find refuge in a preowned example.
This model is currently listed for between $8500 and $10500, giving this example a percentage gain of roughly 30 to 60 percent increase. That puts this model much more in line with the type of trajectory you expect with their rival Rolex.
Are Vintage Omega Watches a Good Value?
Now that we have explored the modern and pre owned side of Omega, let’s take a look at some examples with a little more patina on the dial. For many enthusiasts vintage Omega watches represent not only a great entry point into the brand, but a confidence inspiring doorway to the world of vintage watches in general.
Before we proceed any further with discussing vintage watches I must make a disclaimer. Vintage watches, whether they are Omega, Hamilton or even Rolex are incredibly risky. There are more land mines than a WW2 battlefield and you need to be informed before moving forward! PROCEED WITH CAUTION and DO YOUR HOMEWORK!!!
Now that you’ve done some research, let’s review some of the vintage Omega watches that represent tremendous value. First, is the Omega Seamaster Deville. These watches were dual labelled as Seamasters and Devilles up until the mid 60’s and have beautiful and simple 34mm cases and feature some of Omegas most reliable hand wind movements in the Omega 6XX series.
These were well built and have plentiful serviceable parts when compared to other manufactured movements. If you can purchase an example in good shape (condition is everything in vintage!) For under $1k, you’ll have a competent dress watch that will have more character than anything you could buy modern in that price range.
These watches are steadily increasing in value and when in excellent condition with a jewelers marked dial, such as Turler, can even be considered potential investment pieces. Just don’t expect retirement investment, think more like the profits could yield you a nice long weekend getaway investment.
The other model we will discuss are the often overlooked original Omega Seamaster “fat lug” watches featuring Omegas 4XX bumper movements. Nothing will make you aware of wearing a vintage watch like the bounce from a bumper movement.
It’s very distinctive and reminds me of the tactile feedback on everyone’s favorite smartwatch. The watch features “fat lugs” and have a more substantial feel on the wrist despite their 34.5mm size. The 4XX movements were very plentiful and sourcing parts will be relatively easy, like the Deville we discussed earlier.
If you can find a good example of this watch in the sub $1k area your money will again be pretty safe. These watches have continued to appreciate especially in the watch community with the increase in popularity of vintage watches and smaller sizes in general.
If I had a crystal ball, I would predict that the examples from 1948, the very first year of production, have potential to become an investment grade watch. It has all of the hallmarks we would expect to see in a watch poised for growth, an early production model of an iconic model, a prestigious manufacturer, and even a modern recreation in the form of The Omega Seamaster 1948.
When you put all of these factors together, that’s a bet I would feel safe making, especially when I’m confident I wouldn’t lose, possibly just not gain as much as I had hoped for.
Is investing in Omega Watches a Good Idea?
Omega is a very large brand with a dynamic history, producing some of the most iconic wrist watches in existence. When deciding whether you should invest in an Omega watch I think you need to decide what “investing” means to you.
Do you want to invest your money in a watch that you will be able to flip for a sizable profit? If that’s what you’re after, you might not find what you’re looking for with Omega, outside of a select number of limited edition and limited production watches.
If your idea of investing involves spending your hard earned cash on a timepiece that offers exceptional quality and engineering, especially at the price point and your not concerned with selling for a profit, than Omega is for you.
Whether you purchase new, pre owned, or try your luck with vintage, if you stick to the classics, your money is pretty safe. The investment will be in yourself and the enjoyment you get out of your new watch!