After profits soared during the pandemic, Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet face significant declines as sales fall—extending a two-year streak of declines

Prices for the most sought-after luxury watches fell on the secondary market last month, extending a two-year decline as investors turned elsewhere after the pandemic-era rally fizzled.

The Bloomberg Subdial Watch Index, which tracks the 50 most traded watches by transaction value, fell less than 1% in June. The index has fallen 8% in a year and 23% in the past two years, according to data provided by Subdial, a U.K.-based company. watch trading floor That contrasts with the 27% gain in the S&P 500 Index, the benchmark for the U.S. stock market, over the past year.

Top Swiss brands including Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet have seen a turnaround after soaring to unprecedented levels on the secondary market in early 2022 as shoppers stuck at home funneled pandemic savings into expensive timepieces. In the 12 months through June 2022, the Bloomberg Subdials Watch Index rose 40%, while the S&P 500 fell about 1%.

While many of the most traded models continue to trade at a premium to retail prices, speculators who rushed into the market betting that watches would continue to rise in value have been squeezed out as stocks and other investments offer better returns.

Even during the recession, prices for some brands have risen. The Subdial Index for Cartier watch prices has risen nearly 2% in a year as watches made by the Richemont-owned French jeweler have become more popular with collectors. Cartier watches are also typically less expensive than Rolex, Patek or Audemars Piguet and tend to change hands for less than their retail value.

Rolex models, which make up the bulk of the index, were largely flat in June, while sister brand Tudor fell. Prices for entry-level luxury watches, as well as Swatch Group AG’s Omega and Cartier brand indices, posted modest gains for the month, data from Subdial showed.


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