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David Pauner Pedersen - March 2023

Signs of market normalization

The normalization of the secondary watch market continued in the fourth quarter of 2022 and in January 2023. The market leaders, namely Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet, underwent a price correction that led the market. This was primarily attributed to the normalization of prices for these brands, as they had experienced the largest price appreciation over the last 24 months. As these three brands make up about 70% of the secondary watch market, their price decline continued to have a significant impact on the overall market, although the magnitude of the decline was smaller in January 2023 than in the previous quarter.

Patek Philippe only lost 1.7% in January 2023, compared to a loss of 6.7% in the fourth quarter of 2022. Meanwhile, Rolex, Vacheron Constantin, and Audemars Piguet each lost less than 1% in January, compared to losses of 5.1%, 6.8%, and 4.2%, respectively, in the previous quarter, indicating further price normalization. Moreover, watches from top brands continue to trade above their retail price in the secondary market, indicating strong brand desirability. However, some models that previously commanded a secondary market premium began trading below retail prices in the fourth quarter of 2022, limited to several Vacheron Constantin's Overseas models, less in-demand Rolex models, and Rolex models of precious metal/two-tone variants.

It is noteworthy that despite the overall market index still being negative, secondhand watch prices have contracted less than most other asset classes in 2022. Specifically, the WatchCharts Overall Market Index showed a decline of approximately 8%, whereas the S&P 500 and Bitcoin recorded losses of around 19% and 65%, respectively.

H1 2023

Looking forward, prices could still move further down. But at this moment the overall market seems to be normalizing and the magnitude of the declines are smaller. Specific models like Rolex 126710BLNR are even turning positive on the 3-month chart.

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