Finance

A Guide to Caring for and Insuring a High-Value Watch

Leather watch box holding multiple luxury watches

From the best watches to invest in to how to care for your watch and the different options for insurance, this is the complete guide to looking after a coveted timepiece.

By Matthew Mullee, Insurance Adviser, Partners&

For some it’s cars and jewellery, but for others nothing beats the experience of owning a beautiful watch. Bought as an investment, or to wear every day, many people, possibly even you or your partner, spend large amounts of money buying the best time pieces the world has to offer, so I both understand and indeed praise your desire to care for and insure them correctly.

According to the Deloitte Global Powers of Luxury Goods 2020 report, (based on the financial reports from the top 100 global luxury goods companies at year end 31 December 2019), results for companies in the jewellery and watch sector varied greatly during the pandemic, with nine companies (including Chow Tai Fook and Rolex) reporting double-digit sales growth, yet seven companies (including Fossil and Zhejiang Ming) reporting a fall in sales. Interestingly, jewellery and watches were still the third-highest performing product sector on all composite metrics, with year-on-year luxury goods sales growth down 1.8 percentage points at 6.1%.

Pre-Owned Watches

The report also predicted a continued growth in the second hand or, renamed ‘unlimited destination’ luxury goods market, stating that the market is due to increase at a CAGR (Compound Annual Growth Rate) of 15.5% from US$16.2 billion in 2018 to US$68.5 billion in 2026. One reason for the popularity of the resale market is according to consumers, ‘pre-owned’ goods are seen as more sustainable. 25% of buyers brought pre-owned items due to environmental concerns.

The report also says that luxury goods create status that is resistant to the passing of time, which makes handbags and watches in particular attractive to personal collectors. In times of uncertainty, luxury collectibles are considered a secure longer-term investment.

What Are the Best Watches to Invest in?

According to an article on businessinsider.com, from an investment point of view Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet continue to lead the market and make for a good long-term investment because of their limited availability.

How to Care for Your Watch

I recently spoke with Sonia Fazlali-Zadeh jewellery and watch specialist and valuer at international valuation experts Gurr Johns, who value over $10 billion in assets annually and who we recommend to our clients for watch valuations. Here Sonia gives you her top tips for caring for your watch.

  • Get your watch serviced regularly: Have your watch serviced regularly however, make sure it is only serviced by a specialist watch company who have the ability to re-seal and pressure test the watch before returning it to you or you risk losing water resistance. The same goes for having a battery changed.
  • Move your watch regularly: The inside of your watch is oiled and if it isn’t moved regularly the oil may dry out, which you absolutely avoid. Keep that oil moving. Many watches are ‘automatic’ meaning they have a mechanism inside that continually ‘winds’ the watch by the movement of your wrist, however if you are planning to keep the watch in a safe or only wear it for special occasions, get an electric ‘watch mover’ which, once plugged into the mains, will keep your watch (or watches) moving in a variety of different directions every day. They cost from approx. £50 to £100 for a single to a double watch mover so are a good investment. You can also buy safes with watch movers already built into them, for installation in your home.
  • Keep your watch strap in good order or replace: If your watch is vintage, is the leather in good condition? Is the stitching fraying? Or if it is a metal bracelet check the pins and replace any bent pins or links that have worn thin. Replacing or repairing an old strap is considerably cheaper than repairing a cracked crystal front when it falls off your wrist, so keep an eye on the strap.
  • Keep an eye on your watch clasps for wear: Inspect your watch clasp for signs of wear where it may not be clicking right or holding as strongly as it did before. It’s a much simpler repair to tighten a clasp than to repair a watch that may have slipped off your wrist.
  • Store your watch in a dry environment: Ideally you will keep your watch in a dry environment however, if you live in a very humid country, you could try storing your watch in a jar with sachets of silica to remove excess moisture. If you have a deep-sea diving or waterproof watch, make sure you rinse it with clean water after contact with salt water and dry with a soft cloth.
  • Water resistant does NOT mean waterproof: Water resistant watches should not be worn in the shower or swimming, for example. It means they can withstand a splash when washing up or being caught in a rain shower, it doesn’t mean it can cope with direct contact with water for a prolonged period.

Why not email Business Development Partner and Insurance Expert Nick Luxton at Partners& with questions about insuring your watch collection. You can contact him at nick.luxton@partnersand.com.

Should I Insure My Watch Separately?

If your watch costs anything over a thousand pounds then, yes, we would recommend you add this to the valuables section of your home insurance policy. Don’t rely on the contents section of the cover alone.. Be sure that if you needed to make a claim it would be dealt with by a watch specialist or that your watch would be sent to the very best watch repairer.

How do I Get My Watch Insured?

The most important thing is to approach an insurer or adviser like Partners& who has specialist knowledge of watches. If you came to me, I’d ask questions about the watch, how often you intend on wearing it, your lifestyle, where the watch will be kept, the security in your home, your concerns about insuring the watch, and then of course, I’d need to know its value.

If it is a brand-new watch then I’ll need to see receipts of sale. If it is a second hand or vintage watch and you are not sure of the current market value, we will need to have it valued by specialist like Gurr Johns. Watches hold their values extremely well and often rise, so we want to make sure you are insured for the right amount.

Underinsuring a Watch

Under-insuring your watch could mean you wouldn’t receive the amount to replace the watch if you needed to claim further on down the line. It is imperative we submit a recent and valid valuation. We would also recommend you have your watch revalued every two years.

Insuring Multiple Watches

If you have multiple watches but only one is ever out of the safe or safety deposit box at any time, then I’ll find an insurance policy for you that takes that into consideration. A good watch insurer will be familiar with this scenario and save on your premium.

What Should I look for in Good Watch Insurance Coverage?

I would recommend your policy should have:

  • Worldwide cover
  • All risks cover
  • Agreed value cover (for example, if we set an agreed value of £5,000 and you lose the watch, the policy will pay you back £5,000, no loss for depreciation, and no more for increase in value)
  • Extended replacement (new higher retail or market value cover – as long as you have it revalued every two years)

Choosing Insurance Cover for Your Watches

As mentioned, if your watch is worth over £1,000 it needs to be added to the ‘valuables’ section of a suitable home contents policy; to presume it will be covered in the general contents section of a home and contents policy could leave you completely uncovered, should you ever need to make a claim.

As an experienced insurance adviser, Partners& will work to find the right home contents insurance policy for you, your home, contents and watches. Once we have all the details and the valuation in place, Partners& will offer you a small selection of policies from insurers who I know and trust. A good home and contents insurance policy will give you the peace of mind to know your treasured items are fully covered wherever you, and they, are. If I can be of any help on the subjects of watches, watch care or insurance, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

Partners& challenge the status quo by delivering insurance advice that makes a difference. Combining technical knowledge with service and intelligent use of technology, they offer clients the confidence and peace of mind that you are protected so with tailored recommendations that are right for you.

Get peace of mind and be confident that you are fully protected

Speak to an Adviser directly at Partners& Insurance

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