Few watch categories have seen such a surge in popularity as the luxury sports watch (or integrated watch design) over the past years. Demand has skyrocketed over the years, driven by iconic models, but now numerous new players… Once limited to higher-end brands, the market has expanded with more affordable options. Last year, we looked at the prices of the steel luxury sports watches listing some of the main options. Brand and product positioning is sometimes a battle for the mind of the consumer… While we will not again discuss the notion of price itself here, we have updated our charts, showing how the offer has expanded and how brands position themselves in this ultra-disputed category.
Without a doubt, the luxury sports watch category (or watches with an integrated design) has been the most successful segment over the past few years. It is hard not to mention the demand for the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and the Patek Philippe Nautilus. These models have been unobtainable for months, with demand exceeding by far the supply, a phenomenon amplified by the speculation surrounding both watches. Note that the latest version of the Patek Philippe Nautilus (reference 5811G) is not available in steel.
The impressive success of the category has driven more and more players into this market. Once limited to higher-end models, the market has expanded with more affordable options. Maurice Lacroix with its Aikon was probably a precursor and an array of brands are now offering steel luxury sports watches under CHF 2,000 or even under CHF 1,000, including the ultra-successful Tissot PRX at CHF 695.
Niche high-end independent watchmakers are now also offering luxury sports watches – the H. Moser & Cie. Streamliner, the Czapek Antarctique, the Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto, the Parmigiani Fleurier Tonda PF or Speake Marin Ripples are definitely worth a look if you want something distinctive and if you are ready to spend over CHF 20,000 for your watch. F.P. Journe might also jump on the bandwagon soon as seen with the unique piece Chronomètre Furtif presented at Only Watch 2023.
In general, it has become an essential, almost inescapable, element of a brand’s offer. This was confirmed during Watches and Wonders 2023 and the Geneva Watch Week 2023, with several watches, for instance with the return of the Genta-inspired IWC Ingénieur or the launch of the revamped Bulgari Octo Roma.
More accessible options & the rise in the prices
If more affordable options are now available, brands in general have not been shy to increase prices in view of the strong demand for watches. Naturally, this is quite understandable to see an increase in prices, specifically taking into account the current global inflation. Still, there is obviously an opportunity effect that has been applied by some brands. The inflation rate is given at 2.8% in Switzerland for 2022 (and expect to slow down in late 2023) and most brands seem to have increased prices by around 5%.
Clients in general are ready to pay more. With the development of the second-hand market, many are also viewing the price and value of their watch with a different eye. The act of buying a watch is often not just about self-gifting. It is often seen as an investment too. Not to mention flippers and speculation, which is a completely different topic (and something we prefer not to talk about here at MONOCHROME…)