If you’re into watches, you’re undoubtedly familiar with the Omega Speedmaster “Moonwatch.” On July 20th, 1969, it became the first watch on the Moon on the wrist of NASA astronaut Buzz Aldrin. It is without a doubt the single most important watch story ever. Omega has also been the official timekeeper of the Olympic Games since 1932, one of the longest-standing partnerships in the world of watches. And what about Omega’s partnership with the James Bond franchise? Ever since Pierce Brosnan wore his Seamaster Diver 300M in GoldenEye, the Seamaster line has been 007’s go-to watch line. But do any of these incredible stories mean that Omega watches hold their value and make good investments?
Finding a Good Investment
Let’s start by looking at what a good investment means in the world of watches. As with all investments, some watches make good short-term investments, while others are better in the long-term. When it comes to short-term investments, it’s all about quick wins. Unless you can get your hands on one of the tremendously popular watches at list price from a dealer, you’ll have to be very clever and buy and sell a lot of watches to make decent money. Rolex is the obvious brand for quick wins, but Rolex prices took a dive last year after steadily rising for many years, so that market isn’t what it once was.
People looking to make a decent return without any immediate financial risks are better off making long-term investments. But that requires two important things from a collector: First, you have to know your watches. In order to predict whether a watch will go up in value over time, you have to know the brands, models, and what potentially makes timepieces sought-after. The second thing is patience; something many people don’t have when it comes to investing. The best path to making significant money with watch collecting takes time. If you know your classics and future classics, you will be able to make a significant chunk of change along the way.
Omega Watches as an Investment
This brings us to the follow-up question of whether Omega watches hold their value and could, therefore, be good investments. We all know that Rolex has a number of current and past models and references that are potentially great investments. With Omega, you have to do a bit more homework, because not every single watch will make you a huge profit. There are a couple of very logical reasons for that: Firstly, compared to Rolex, Omega has a significantly larger collection of watches. While Omega technically only has four collections – the Seamaster, Speedmaster, Constellation, and De Ville – each consists of multiple lines with its own unique models.
Secondly, the hype around Omega as a brand is simply not as big as the Rolex hype. Thus, not every Omega watch is a hot commodity that everybody jumps on immediately. As a result, demand outpacing production, i.e., a scarcity problem, isn’t something that happens with a lot of Omega watches. So, does that make Omega unsuitable for investing? Not at all, but you have to know what you’re looking for. Let’s look at some of the popular models that could make good investments.
Current Popular Omega Models
Let’s start with the current collection. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that quite a few of Omega’s most popular watches can be found in the Speedmaster collection; especially those Speedmasters that are closely linked to NASA and its space missions.
Speedmaster Caliber 321 “Ed White”
Our first pick is the Omega Speedmaster Caliber 321 “Ed White” ref. 322.214.171.124.01.001. This brilliant stainless steel Speedmaster was created to celebrate Omega’s legendary caliber 321, the movement that powered early Speedmasters that traveled into space on the wrists of NASA astronauts. Omega based this watch on the Speedmaster ref. 105.003 “Ed White” from the 1960s. All Speedmaster Caliber 321 watches are assembled and checked in a dedicated workshop within the Omega production facilities. This special workshop is responsible for the production of between 1,000 and 2,000 pieces annually, all of which are completed by hand. With a current list price of $14,600, this is a relatively expensive Speedmaster, but thanks to its limited availability, prices on Chrono24 are generally around the $20,500 mark.
Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award 50th Anniversary
Another watch from the current Speedmaster collection that is very popular is the Speedmaster “Silver Snoopy Award” 50th Anniversary ref. 310.32.42.50.02.001. This timepiece stands out immediately due to its predominantly blue appearance. Omega created the first Snoopy Speedmaster in 2003, and a second model in 2015. Both have since become highly sought-after, with prices for the latter rising north of $40,000. For this third model, the magic is on the case back. There you will find a photorealistic depiction of the Moon and Earth. The latter is linked to the subdial at 9 o’clock on the dial of the watch, making exactly one turn per minute. Lastly, if you press the chronograph push-piece, Snoopy will appear from behind the Moon. He makes his way across part of the case back before disappearing behind the Moon again. This touch is simply brilliant and a big part of why people are willing to pay $20,500 for a watch that has a retail price of $10,000. Market prices were a lot higher up until April 2022, but if you can get one at retail, you’ll still be able to make money.
Vintage Long-Term Omega Investments
If we look for potential investments beyond the current Omega catalog, the options are vast. For starters, the market for vintage Speedmaster Moonwatch and Speedmaster “Pre-Moon” models is very hot. These classics will likely rise in price significantly over time. If you’re able to get your hands on one in good condition, wear it with pride and keep track of its market value.
Speedmaster Limited Editions
Another group of watches that are likely to appreciate over time are Omega’s special editions and limited editions. A few that are worth mentioning include the Speedmaster LEs, such as the first Snoopy Award ref. 3578.51 from 2003 and the Speedmaster Silver Snoopy Award ref. 3126.96.36.199.04.003 from 2015, the Alaska Project Limited Edition ref. 3188.8.131.52.04.001 from 2008, the Speedy Tuesday 1 ref. 3184.108.40.206.01.001 from 2017, the Speedy Tuesday 2 “Ultraman” ref. 3220.127.116.11.01.001, and the First Omega In Space ref. 318.104.22.168.01.001 numbered edition. These are all models that will likely go up in price at some stage.
Seamaster Limited Editions
There are also special edition Seamaster models that are beloved by collectors. A great example is the Omega Seamaster 300 “Spectre” ref. 22.214.171.124.01.001 that Daniel Craig wears in the movie of the same name. The brilliant Omega Seamaster 300 “The 1957 Trilogy” ref. 126.96.36.199.01.001 is another great watch that was released alongside the Railmaster ref. 188.8.131.52.01.002 and a Speedmaster to form a trio – all likely to be collectibles in time. The Speedmaster already sells for more than its initial retail price, and the Seamaster and Railmaster are exceptionally well-done reissues of the original watches that will likely also go up in value.
Vintage Seamaster Classics
There is also a wide variety of Seamaster classics that have become fan favorites; from the Ploprof 600M ref. 166.077 and the Seamaster 200 “SHOM” ref. 166.0177 – both from the 1970s – to the modern Ploprof 1200M ref. 184.108.40.206.01.001 and the beautiful Seamaster “Great White” GMT ref. 2538.20.00. Those are just some of the many great Omega models in a long line of classics that have become or will become popular collectibles. As is the case with many popular vintage timepieces, prices are likely to go up due to limited availability.
What’s left to say about the value of Omega watches?
Overall, it’s safe to say that there are plenty of Omega watches that hold their value well, and quite a few that could even be considered great investments. This makes Omega a great brand to check out if you are a collector and want to buy watches that are a relatively safe bet. Again, investing in watches requires you to do some homework, but in the end, you’ll get a buzz from chasing the right pieces and wearing them until you decide to sell again. But as with all things in life, there are no guarantees. Who knows? You might end up hanging onto them since they are simply brilliant watches to begin with. Happy hunting!