Seiko is one of the most respected watch brands in the world. They offer amazing quality watches for affordable prices. But how well do Seiko watches hold their value?
Seiko watches generally don’t hold their value all that well. Most Seiko watches are too commonly available to be sold again for the same or a higher price. There are some exceptions, though. Discontinued models are no longer produced and the popular ones may increase in value over time.
In this article, I’ll discuss what makes Seiko watches (and watches in general) hold their value, whether Grand Seiko watches (Seiko’s luxury watch segment) hold their value and which Seiko watches hold their value.
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Why Do Seiko Watches Rarely Hold Their Value?
Seiko watches rarely hold their value because they’re manufactured in such large quantities that there’s no exclusivity. Most Seiko watches also don’t have any innovative features or exotic materials. However, certain models with unique features may even increase their value over time.
What Makes Watches Hold Their Value?
When assessing the value of a Seiko watch, you need to consider certain factors. Note that these factors apply to watches in general.
A watch holds its value based on the following:
- The watch has a high demand relative to its supply.
- The watch’s design is for a specific purpose.
- The watch previously belonged to a celebrity.
- The watch has one-of-a-kind features.
- The watch is from a high-value brand.
Let’s discuss the above in more detail.
The Watch Has a High Demand Relative to Its Supply.
Rarity doesn’t increase a watch’s value by itself. If there are only five pieces of a specific model and hardly anyone wants to purchase that model, there’s no reason to value it so highly.
On the other hand, if there are only five pieces of a specific model and there’s a huge demand for that specific model, the value will increase drastically. A valuable watch is both rare and in high demand.
For most Seiko models, though, the supply is always high. Seiko is a staple in the watch industry and basically any store that sells watches will have Seiko watches available.
With such a high supply, it makes more sense to buy a brand new watch in-store than to purchase the same watch second-hand.
The Watch’s Design Is for a Specific Purpose
If your watch is a jack-of-all-trades, you’re not likely to fetch a high price for it on the secondhand market. But if it belongs to a specific “genre” (e.g., diver’s watches, military watches, etc.), that’s a different story.
For example, the Seiko SKX007 was an iconic diver’s watch in 1965. It features a stainless steel case (to prevent rust from contact with water), luminescent time markers (to tell time under reduced visibility), and an ISO rating of 6425 (for water resistance up to 200 meters).
To this day, you can still find SKX007s on the secondhand market. If you’re purchasing an SKX007 straight from Japan, expect to shell out at least $800 for it.
The Watch Previously Belonged to a Celebrity
Whether you’re a fan of celebrities or not, the fact is that they’re like King Midas: Anything they touch turns into gold (or something as valuable as gold). Watches are no exception.
Most celebrities wear high-end brands like Rolex, Omega, and Patek Philippe. Exceptions include Steve Job’s Seiko Quartz 6431-6030 and Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Seiko H558-5000. So yes, if your Seiko belonged to someone larger than life, you can sell it for a significantly higher price than the one you paid for it.
The Watch Has One-of-a-Kind Features
If your watch has at least one feature unique to its model or has a feature that appears once every blue moon, that watch can fetch a high price.
For instance, let’s say Model X usually has a white face. However, one in every seven pieces of Model X has a blue face. In that case, the blue-faced versions of Model X are more valuable than their white counterparts.
The one-of-a-kind features don’t need to have practical value. As long as it makes the model stand out somehow, and the modification is from a manufacturer and not an individual who happens to be an enthusiastic watch modifier, the feature should add to the watch’s value.
The Watch Is From a High-Value Brand
Some brands fetch a higher value than others. Unless your Seiko watch previously had Steve Jobs or Arnold Schwarzenegger as owners, it’s improbable you’ll bring a price equivalent to an Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, or any of the high-end Swiss watches.
At some point, there’s a limit when it comes to how much people are willing to shell out. You can compare it to cars; A decked out Volvo can be worth more than the regular model, but is someone really willing to pay Rolls Royce-level prices for what is still a Volvo?
“But wait,” you say, “doesn’t Seiko have a luxury version known as the Grand Seiko? Can a Grand Seiko hold its value better than an ordinary Seiko?” That’s what we’ll tackle in the next section.
Do Grand Seiko Watches Hold Their Value?
Grand Seiko is a luxury watch brand with the same manufacturer as Seiko. That being the case, do Grand Seiko watches hold their value better than Seiko watches?
Grand Seiko watches can hold their value if they’re limited edition or belong to a popular discontinued series. Otherwise, they can depreciate by 20 percent as soon as you purchase them. If you sell a Grand Seiko watch on the secondhand market, you can’t go lower than a 40 percent discount.
When buying a Grand Seiko watch, you always have a little wiggle room, even when buying from Authorized Dealers. Since value retention is typically based off of the retail price, the higher your discount is, the more your Grand Seiko will retain its value.
Aside from Seiko watches that belonged to celebrities, which Seiko watches can stay valuable if you resell them? I’ll name a handful of those in the next section.
Which Seiko Watches Hold Their Value?
If you browse sites like eBay and Watch Patrol, you’ll find that certain watches still hold their value to this day. By “hold their value,” I mean you can sell them for something that’s at least equivalent to or higher than their original purchase price.
Seiko watches that hold their value include the SKX007 and the SARB017. The SKX007 is an automatic diver’s watch Seiko discontinued in 2018 but is still popular. Meanwhile, the SARB017’s distinctive emerald green face makes it valuable to some collectors.
However, Seiko watches don’t hold their value for the most part. Unless your Seiko meets any of the criteria I talked about earlier, don’t expect to make a tidy profit from it.
For more information about Seiko watches that do hold their value, you should read this article here!