Some watches cost so high due to rare. PixelsSome watches cost so high due to rare. Pixels

Watches have been a popular accessory for centuries, serving as both functional timepieces and stylish fashion statements. While you can find watches at a variety of price points, it’s not uncommon to come across watches with price tags that reach into the thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars. So why are some watches so expensive? In this article, we’ll explore the factors that contribute to the high cost of luxury watches.

Craftsmanship and Materials

One of the main reasons that watches can be so expensive is the craftsmanship and materials that go into their creation. Luxury watches brands often use high-quality materials such as precious metals, diamonds, and sapphires. These materials are not only expensive to acquire but require skilled craftsmanship to shape and assemble into a watch.

Some watches cost so much because of craftsmanship and time. Pixels
Some watches cost so much because of craftsmanship and time. Pixels

In addition, luxury watchmakers often use traditional techniques and hand-crafting methods that require a significant amount of time and expertise. For example, many luxury watches are assembled by hand and feature intricate details such as engravings or complex complications. All of these factors contribute to the high cost of luxury watches.

Watch cost so much due to time to produce

Closely linked to the level of finishing that goes into a timepiece is the time it actually takes to achieve a luxury-level finish. Luxury timepieces cannot just be thrown together; they require highly-trained artisans to spend a lot of their rather expensive time on each individual watch to attain a luxury standard. As luxury watches are often hand-produced, this high level of detail, which takes a long time, is expensive, and needs to be paid for by the customer.

Rolex watches take over a year to manufacture from start to finish; that is one year of overheads, labor, rent, bills, and other expenses to pay for. Jaeger Le Coultre test their watches for over 1000 hours, and that time isn’t cheap; watchmakers are generally paid rather well given the level of experience and education required to be as proficient as the top brands require.

Some watches cost so much because of time to produce. Pixels
Some watches cost so much because of time to produce. Pixels

Another cost built into a luxury timepiece’s price is the retailer’s mark-up. Generally speaking, as a rule of thumb, the retailer mark-up is 100% of their cost, so if they buy a Submariner from Rolex for $5,000, they will retail it for $10,000 – these numbers aren’t exact, but the point stands.

Luxury timepieces are sold by luxury retailers who have to pay a myriad of costs such as staff, expensive high-street rent, expensive furniture, and décor, among other costs, in order to provide their luxury experience. Sales taxes, VAT, credit card surcharges, and other costs also have to be added to the final price of the watch that a retailer has to charge, making them even more expensive.


Finally, the last contributing factor that makes luxury watches so expensive is the brand’s marketing costs. Luxury watchmakers, just like any luxury brand, are essentially a marketing company that aims to sell a particular item. Watchmakers typically sponsor prestigious events like tennis tournaments, football tournaments, sports teams like Formula 1 and yachting teams, have famous brand ambassadors, attend promotional events, and use inefficient conventional advertising like magazines and newspapers, alongside plenty of other expensive marketing outlets.

Why some watches cost so much. Pixels
Why some watches cost so much. Pixels

Ultimately, these are the reasons why we want to buy luxury timepieces from one watchmaker over another, and so brands invest very heavily into them, which leads us to have more costs to cover as the final step in the chain.

Ultimately, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of costs that go into the price of any luxury timepiece, just like any other luxury or non-luxury item. From government taxes, wages, utility costs, fuel, insurance, etc., the list goes on and on. Still, these six aforementioned reasons are the main six reasons that go into luxury timepieces that other timepieces do not have to factor in, or can factor in a lot less.

Sure, entry-level brands make their own movements (at times) and the market, but not to the same level as high-end luxury brands like Patek Philippe, Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Richard Mille, and so on.

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By Aussa

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