There are two related reasons why any particular item would tend to hold or even increase its value over time. The most basic explanation for why an item holds value is because it is still in demand. As long as there is a market for a product – meaning that there exist a set of people who desire to buy it – the item will usually remain valuable. The second factor that helps items to hold value is its ability to provide a useful function for the owner.
Antique buggy whips provide a good illustration of these principles in action. There is a small market of people interested in these collectibles, but because automobiles have displaced buggies as means of locomotion, such people are relatively rare. A buggy whip is simply not a useful item for most people any longer. This affects its value since it reduces the pool of people that would desire to purchase an old-fashioned buggy whip.
Watches from fine designers can offer lasting value
The two principles also apply to designer watches, but in a slightly different manner. There is in fact a thriving market for such watches. They are considered desirable for their historic and cultural value, particularly when a watch is more than a decade old. Since they are working timepieces, they also represent a pinnacle of fine-detail engineering that appeal to many consumers who want "only the best" for themselves and their loved ones. These factors contribute to the number of people who want to purchase a Rolex or Cartier watch.
Unlike buggy whips, however, a fine designer watch also remains an eminently useful item to own and use; it is not a museum piece to be displayed to guests on an occasional basis. The average person who purchases a Rolex or Cartier actually wears the watch, frequently on a daily basis, and because these pieces of fine jewelry are also highly dependable timepieces, they truly do last for generations – particularly when they are cared for and provided with regular maintenance as needed.
How well do such watches hold their value?
In order to hold value extremely well, a designer watch needs to meet two challenging criteria at once. It must be of such a high jewelry caliber that is could almost qualify as a work of art, yet at the same time it must also exemplify the very best in terms of precision engineering. The latter is true even of digital watches, though analog is also a very common format for a high-quality designer watch.
Jewelry characteristics that help a watch hold value over time include the incorporation of fine metals. For sheer class and luxury, in fact, very few things are regarded as superior to a gold watch that features solid engineering.
The name brand on the watch is also a major consideration. Cartier and Rolex watches are known to hold their value quite well over time, with Cartier being particularly well-regarded for its value as a jewelry fashion piece as well as a timepiece.
Just as the "little black dress" is known as an indispensable part of a basic wardrobe, a fine quality designer watch is an essential accessory for both men and women.