Monochrome Watches
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The Rise In Price of the Luxury Sports Watches in 2023, And The State Of The Category

An ever-growing offer in all price segments, but also rising prices.

| By Xavier Markl | 4 min read |

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.

For reference – The state of the luxury sports watch market in 2022 (Swiss retail prices), with the most important models listed (take into account the watches with * which are titanium)
The watches listed in the chart above are a selection of automatic two- or three-hand models manufactured in steel (or titanium for some). Prices are Swiss retail prices as of 2023 – Watches launched in 2022/2023 are highlighted in blue – models not listed in 2022 have been added (non-exhaustive list but the most important models are here)

New Players

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. 

Tissot PRX Powermatic 80 Ice-Blue Dial T137.407.11.351.00
The Tissot PRX, an accessible alternative in the field of watches with integrated design, has been an immense commercial success in the past 2 years.

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. 

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Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto
High-end, niche indie watchmakers are also part of the segment, as seen with Laurent Ferrier and its Sport Auto watch.

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.

Mainstream brands can’t escape the category either… The return of the Genta-styled IWC Ingenieur is the perfect example of the inescapability of the luxury sports watch.

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…)

19 responses

  1. Who else is starting to experience steel integrated sports watch fatigue?

  2. Not so much of starting to experience steel integrated sports watch fatigue as being fed up with being fed and experiencing overpriced steel integrated sports watch fatigue with an additional helping of “there’s a sucker born every minute” attitude from these designer brands!

  3. I’m soooo done with the luxury market watch space. I’ve been buying mid and mid-high tier watches off and on for 20 years. The shameless price increases in excess of inflation have mostly killed the hobby for me. It feels like they’re either picking pockets or just could care less about hobbiests in my price bracket. I haven’t bought a new watch from any of those increasing prices and have even started to shop microbrand and lower. I urge boycott of those raising prices above the rate of inflation.

  4. @Alex: I do. Never liked the genre to begin with, but the barrage of releases is now getting on my nerves.

  5. I can not agree with the pricing of those above 10k watches, unless there is something really special, such as the bracelet of H Mozer

  6. Love the idea of these things as “sports watch”, imagine your Patek getting wacked by a cricket ball. In my mind its a casio. Light enough not to distract you, tough to take anything your sport throws at it and cheap enough not to matter if it does get lost or damaged.

  7. Forgive my ignorance. Why don’t we count the Rolex DJ as a luxury sports watch?

  8. Have to agree that the market is flooded and prices have yet to reflect the reigning in of quantitative easing which is pulling grey prices down towards and hopefully below retail where they should be.

  9. Hi Xavier, great article. I also appreciate the list of sports watches with 2023 prices for easy orientation. Btw they all kinda look the same – like a derivative of AP Royal Oak or some other Gerald Genta legendary designs. I was wondering – Rolex watches are not listed there because they are “for exhibition only”, and you can’t buy them anymore :)? I also miss the Omega Aqua Terra, Seamaster, or Piaget Polo, which are all luxury sports watches and your website review them in the past. Also, to your point, “Clients, in general, are ready to pay more.” I would be keen to talk to the marketing of the luxury brands and understand their client base. I work in the finance industry in London, I meet with tens of people every year, and none of them wear luxury watches. I am afraid the watches are not what they used to be anymore. People don’t seem to care about watches. Most people I admire focus on other aspects of their life and showcase their active lifestyles rather by wearing all the Garmins and Apple watches than showcase their 100k+ salaries by wearing 10k or 20k luxury sports watches. I think that watch brands are out of touch with real life – maybe focusing on ultra-wealth customers – but they are failing to cultivate mass clientele or nurture the young generation of their future customers.

  10. @Phil LOL. Sport is this case means informal/casual. It doesn’t mean that you’re supposed to wear it when you play a sport. Have you ever heard of sport suits?

  11. @Chris Can you explain how having more options is a bad thing?

  12. By the way, where is the magnificent Chopard Alpine Eagle 41 XPS?

  13. @kajintherubber thanks for your comment. This is always debatable but to me, the Rolex and Omegas do not apply here as not part of this “Luxury Sports watch with integrated bracelet” category. As you’ve mentioned, we are talking of derivatives of the Genta integrated designs, which is not the case for Rolex.

  14. How about stop using the terms luxury sports watches and integrated bracelets and use simple terms such as no-lug watches instead? When you use a non-technical term and have to explain what it means, it’s clear that you have a serious communication issue and should use a different term. Some Rolex and Omega watches are luxury sports watches. It’s you who uses the term incorrectly. I don’t see how it’s debatable. What you do is like saying that people don’t eat meat and explain to people who say that it’s not the case by saying that by people you mean vegetarians and that’s it’s debatable. It’s ridiculous and nonsensical.

  15. @kajintherubber Most people never care about watches. Anyway, you don’t meet a lot of people in a year at all. Going to a luxury shopping mall and observing watches people wear will make a better observation. Also, luxury brands don’t intend to sell their products to the masses.

  16. There is a big hole in between $2k to $7k. You are missing in that category the Omega Constellation for example.

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