The pandemic has seen a boom in the fine timepiece market. As travel and dining take a backseat during what seem to be never-ending lockdowns and restrictions, the world of luxury watches has pushed to the forefront. Every year the world’s largest online retailer of watches, Chrono24, determines the most coveted models that are searched for and purchased by users of the online platform.
In 2021, over 100 million people shopped for Rolex, Omega, Seiko, Breitling and Audemars Piguet. These were the five most popular brands of the year. Now Rolex, Omega and Audemars Piguet’s ranking are not shocking. They also prove to be a sound investment for buyers.
What is more surprising however, is Seiko’s emergence as a top five player. At its price point and build quality, it is an ideal watch for everyday use and is more widely accessible to customers of diverse income groups, according to co-CEO and founder of Chrono24, Tim Stracke.
Chrono24’s top watch brands: Rolex, Omega, Audemars Piguet
The pandemic has shifted buying behaviour. As young people spend less on dining and entertainment, watches offered at the entry-mid level spectrum may continue to see a growth in demand.
The top 5 models of the year rank as follows: Rolex Datejust, Rolex Submariner, Omega Seamaster, Omega Speedmaster and Rolex Daytona. The Rolex Daytona slipped from 1st place in 2020 to 5th this year. Naturally these watches are difficult to acquire.
The Rolex Daytona, for example, is an icon of luxury horology. Although buyers can place their orders through Rolex dealers, they will have to endure lengthy waiting periods. On Chrono24 these watches are currently available. However their steep demand is reflected in the retailer’s price.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 41 mm
Top 5 most popular watch brands
The Omega Speedmaster, which was the first watch to be worn on the moon by Neil Armstrong, has also increased in value due to a supply shortage and proves to be a worthy investment.
Breitling has done some marvelous work over the past two years and it is reflecting in the Top 5 chart of 2021. It has become a highly-desired brand by watch enthusiasts and this is no surprise. The current CEO, Georges Kern, formerly the CEO of IWC, has revitalized the watch brand. He has propelled Breitling into a new era that has people turning their heads and opening their wallets. The Chronomat, Endurance Pro and Superocean liner were greatest in demand.
This year, we at Regarding Luxury, were thrilled to cover some of their exciting product launches.
Chrono24: Decline in sales for Patek Philippe
In other news, Patek Philippe saw a decline in sales. That is likely due to the discontinuation of the Nautilus in stainless steel, driving a spike in prices, three times the price in fact, says Stracke. The watch brand is only of interest to a small group of collectors however. Patek Phillippe also partnered with American luxury jewellery retailer, Tiffany & Co, to release a limited edition Nautilus blue dial (Ref. 5711 / 1A-018).
A very elegant piece rarified to only 170 pieces, the first was auctioned at British auction house, Phillips, Bacs & Russo for $6.5 million with a starting retail price of $52,635. To add to the exclusivity of this piece, Patek Philippe and Tiffany & Co will be selecting the remaining 169 customers themselves.
Chrono24 has been operating since 2003 and has branches in Berlin, Karlsruhe, New York and Hong Kong. The company works with certified dealers and private collectors and has a collection of over 500,000 watches. The company operates in 128 countries and employs nearly 400 people. The website generates 9 million visitors per month.
Top image: Breitling Super Avi Mosquito
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore