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Watches - Buying Guides

Top 10 Selling Pre-Owned Watches of 2016

A look at the watches and models our customers are buying in 2016.

Over the past two years, Britain has emerged as one of the world’s leading luxury watch shopping destinations. As well as having cheaper prices than mainland Europe, China and the US, many big name watch brands and vendors have now set up shop in London, which means the variety on show is rivalled only by Geneva.

This year, prices in Britain have plunged even further after the uncapping of the Swiss franc raised its value and Brexit pushed the British pound in the opposite direction. Meanwhile, the pre-owned market has been stoked by disgruntled first-hand clients and improved online services. We recently pulled our data on the top selling watches this year and we weren't surprised to see Rolex and Cartier dominating the scene. As far as models are concerned, we noticed that people shoot for one or two generations before the latest one, which makes sense as this is usually where the more attractive prices can be found. Anyway, here's a breakdown of the specific watches and models that are flying off the shelves.

1. Rolex Datejust

Rolex Datejust Ref. 69173
Rolex Datejust Ref. 69173

By a considerable margin the number one selling watch this year was the President's favourite, the classic Rolex Datejust.

People are buying Datejusts from the ‘70s through to the latest release, with no strong preference for any model or age. By a narrow margin, the most popular models are the stainless steel and gold versions from the late eighties/early nineties. Our number one seller was the ladies Ref. 69173, which typically goes pre-owned for just under £3,000.

2. Rolex Submariner

The Rolex Submariner Ref. 16610
The Rolex Submariner Ref. 16610

While the Datejust is the most popular dress watch the Submariner is the number one sports watch.

The Ref. 114060 “No Date” Submariner with a ceramic bezel, introduced in 2012, is the most sought-after model. Close behind is the Ref. 16610, the last model with the aluminium bezel, which sells pre-owned for just under £5,000—around £300-400 cheaper than the newer Ref. 116610LN with the ceramic bezel.

3. Rolex GMT Master II

The red and black “Coke” bezel Submariner, the Ref. 16710
The red and black “Coke” bezel Submariner, the Ref. 16710

The GMT Master II is the closest watch in terms of style to the iconic Submariner.

Perhaps surprisingly, the tie for top spot went to the red and black “Coke” bezel Submariner, the Ref. 16710, which is the last model with an aluminium insert, and the stainless steel and gold Ref. 116713LN (the latest model) with a ceramic bezel. Unlike with the Submariners, these were not the more accessible options, selling for around £4,900 and £7,400 respectively.

4. Rolex Daytona & Cartier Must de Cartier

Cartier Must de Cartier Ref. 116520
Cartier Must de Cartier Ref. 116520

Tied for fourth place were the Daytona and the Cartier Must de Cartier.

It was no surprise to see the Daytona up there. By far the most popular model was the Ref. 116520, the pre-2016, in stainless steel with a white dial. This usually sells pre-owned for just under £9,000.

The Must de Cartier is a discontinued 21st-century model. It was unusual to see this coming in ahead of the Santos and the Tanks, but the Ref. 1330 in stainless steel, at around £1,600 pre-owned, always sells very well.

6. Omega Seamaster

Omega Seamaster Diver 300M
Omega Seamaster Diver 300M

The Omega Seamaster, the James Bond watch, shares the crown with the Rolex Submariner as the most popular sports watch of all time. For a good comparison between the two, try our Head-to-Head article, in which we pit the pair against each other and pick a winner.

When it comes to which models sold best, it was a fairly even split over a number of models from the past two decades but the recent standard stainless steel, black-dialled Seamaster Diver 300M just won out over its brothers. This watch houses the renowned co-axial calibre 2500.

7. Cartier Santos

Cartier Santos Ref. 1564
Cartier Santos Ref. 1564

The Santos was designed by Louis Cartier over 100 years ago, yet it’s still one of the best-loved watches in the world.

The top selling models tend to be stainless steel women’s versions, or stainless steel and gold, from the 1980s and onwards, such as the Ref. 1564 from the early 2000s, which goes for around £2,500 pre-owned. Women show no real preference for automatic movements. When it comes to the men, the newer, larger Santos 100 models are the watches of choice.

8. TAG Heuer Carrera & Breitling Navitimer

The vintage-inspired TAG Heuer Carrera Ref. CV2113.FC6180

These two iconic sports watches come in neck-and-neck after Rolex and Omega.

The TAG Heuer Carrera and Breitling Navitimer were always going to be in the top ten. These two chronographs have been crowd favourites for over fifty years and the yearly updates are always a hit. Amongst the Carreras we have seen a number of sales for vintage-inspired models, like the Ref. CV2113.FC6180. As for the Navitimers, generally the smaller models (as in not 46 mm) sell the best, such as the Ref. A23322.

10. Cartier Tank Française

Cartier Tank Française Ref. 2485
Cartier Tank Française Ref. 2485

Of all the Cartier Tank collections, the Française is currently the best seller. It’s a big hit among important women, worn by the likes of Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton. The angled shoulders and chain-link bracelet make it somewhat comparable to the Santos, and as with the Santos our clients’ preference is for stainless steel and stainless steel and gold models from any time since it was first released in 1996. A stainless steel model from the early 2000s, such as the Ref. 2485, can be found pre-owned for as little as £2,000.

 

For more information visit our pre-owned and vintage watches page.