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Comparing 5 High Performance Skeleton Watches for Investment

Skeleton Watches Investment

Skeletonised watches form a cool, niche sub-genre in watchmaking, one that takes a superlative level of craft and skill to achieve. The art of taking a movement and turning it into a display of its own, revealing the mechanisms that keep your watch in motion from the dial side and often letting you see all the way through to your wrist below. But with skeleton watches being such a specific breed, how well do they actually do on the open market? Spoiler: surprisingly well. Let’s take a look at 5 high performance skeleton watches and see how they compare to each other as watch investments.

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Skeleton Ref. 81015-11-001-11A

Girard-Perregaux Laureato Skeleton Ref. 81015-11-001-11A Investment Price Performance

While they don’t often dominate the pre-owned market, Girard-Perregaux’s integrated bracelet sports watch, the Laureato, in its many flavours of Genta adjacency, is by far their most popular piece. Apparently, that carries over to the skeleton version as well since it has had a strong performance over the last three years. Back in December 2020 it was sitting at a price of just £18,166 (which was a low point for the model, at substantially less than its original retail value) since then it has soared to double that at £36,000 during the boom of 2022 and during 2023 it has come back to a value of £25,000. Looking at the long-term trend, it’s climbing.

Retail Price: €43,800 (approx. £38,000)

DateOpening Price (£)Closing Price (£)Price Change (£)Price Change (%)
3 Months (Sept 2022 – Nov 2023)£25,938£25,212– £726– 2.8%
3 Years (Nov 2020 – Nov 2023)£18,166£25,212+ £7,046+ 38.79%

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked Ref. 15467OR.OO.1256OR.01

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked Ref. 15467OR.OO.1256OR.01 Investment Price Performance

The skeleton watch investment story of the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Double Balance Wheel Openworked Ref. 15467OR.OO.1256OR.01 is similar to that of Laureato above and indeed is a story we see played out across the entire industry. Prices were low at the end of Covid years because money was a little tighter since work in many industries had been disrupted leading to a sharp rise in 2021, 2022. Now prices are settling back to a more reasonable level – although that’s not to say prices are insubstantial with the AP at £115,000. At these kinds of prices, one way to look at it is that a watch is a place to store money.

Retail price: €87,800 (approx. £76,200)

DateOpening Price (£)Closing Price (£)Price Change (£)Price Change (%)
3 Months (Sept 2022 – Nov 2023)£110,501£114,814+ £4,313+ 3.9%
3 Years (Nov 2020 – Nov 2023)£61,108£114,814+ £53,706+ 87.89%

Hublot Classic Aerofusion Moonphase Ref. 517.NX.0170.LR

Hublot Classic Aerofusion Moonphase Ref. 517.NX.0170.LR Investment Price Performance

Hublot are a controversial brand in that they are much like marmite, some people love them, others hate them. It almost seems to depend on which group are the most vocal at a given time as to whether they perform well on the market because watches like the Hublot Classic Aerofusion Moonphase Ref. 517.NX.0170.LR fluctuate a lot. Since 2020 there have been around 12 distinct peaks and troughs whereas the majority of watches are far more stable with half as many major changes in price trend. Recently this moon phase equipped piece of industrial metal has seen off a month-long dip to even out with what seems like more of an increase to come.

Retail price: €16,200 (approx. £14,000)

DateOpening Price (£)Closing Price (£)Price Change (£)Price Change (%)
3 Months (Sept 2022 – Nov 2023)£10,238£10,065– £173– 1.69%
3 Years (Nov 2020 – Nov 2023)£9,039£10,065+ £1,026+ 11.35%

Cartier Santos De Cartier Skeleton Ref. WHSA0015

Cartier Santos De Cartier Skeleton Ref. WHSA0015 Investment Price Performance

The Cartier Santos De Cartier Skeleton Ref. WHSA0015 has, if anything, has an even more turbulent price performance than the Hublot over the last three years. Which is something of a surprise considering the enduring popularity of the Santos.  Despite its somewhat spiky performance, recent signs are on the up. A near 10% increase across the last three months is nothing to be sneezed at; in fact, that makes it one of the best performing watches of the moment, which is incredible for Cartier. It’s not hard to see why though as this skeletonised interpretation of the Santos is a stunner.

Retail price: €31,300 (approx. £27,170)

DateOpening Price (£)Closing Price (£)Price Change (£)Price Change (%)
3 Months (Sept 2022 – Nov 2023)£20,609£21,078+ £469+ 2.28%
3 Years (Nov 2020 – Nov 2023)£22,368£21,078– £1,290– 5.77%

Richard Mille RM 030

Richard Mille RM 030 Investment Price Performance

You can’t talk about skeleton watch investments without bringing up Richard Mille, so it’s good to see that they’re on form. It’s also where we need to step away from talking about percentage points and remember that this is money we’re talking about. Which means that while the recent percentage increase might not seem like a huge amount, the actual change is more than £10,000. That’s a whole other watch you could buy. Do be careful though because by the same token, a small shift in the red can have a large impact on its value.

Retail price: €137,000 (approx. £119,000)

DateOpening Price (£)Closing Price (£)Price Change (£)Price Change (%)
3 Months (Sept 2022 – Nov 2023)£158,677£161,561+ £2,884+ 1.82%
3 Years (Nov 2020 – Nov 2023)£110,901£161,561+ £50,660+ 45.68%

*Statistics accurate at time of writing article using WatchAnalytics.

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