Do discontinued models always increase in price?April 17, 2021
We all know the story: a major brand announces that a popular model or reference is unexpectedly discontinued or altered in some way that is not popular with collectors. Suddenly, this model has a rush in authorized stores around the world. Demand soon outstrips supply, driving up the resale value in the secondary market – at least that’s how it looks from the outside. Do these factors guarantee that the discontinued model from the main brand will increase in value? Not necessary. In 2014 Patek Philippelaunched the ref. 5960 / 1A with white dial. In 2017, he was joined by ref. 5960 / 1A-010 with black dial. In early 2018, both links were quietly terminated. Prices for the black dial version, which was extremely short, continued to rise well in the aftermarket. This suggests that collectors view the link as an investment piece.
Meanwhile, the less popular version with a white dial sells for less than retail, which is almost unheard of for a Patek Philippe chronograph. Perhaps it fulfills all of the same criteria as Batman: a respected brand, poor performance, the first of its kind in a steel case … the list goes on. However, they were never really popular watches, and it seems that this is still the case since they were discontinued. The same cannot be said for the datographer A. Lange & Söhne. 403.035 in platinum. Introduced in 1999, the datograph (date + chronograph) was the first completely new, in-house mechanical chronograph launched in the last quarter of the 20th century. Including a backstop function, an accurate jump minute counter and a quickly set extended date, it was definitely a popular model. albeit with a niche audience. After 12 years of production, they were replaced by an Up / Down datograph in 2012. With this story, you will be forgiven for thinking this watch is a safe investment. However, its secondary market price has been quite volatile over the past few years. So you see, predicting which models / links might increase in value after production stops is not a perfect science.
Let’s take a look at another amazing example: Audemars Piguet Royal oak ref. 15400. Released in 2012, this version of the famous AP luxury sports watch has never been as popular as its brother or sister. 15202. The large 41mm case was considered too large for the caliber 3120 inside (the movement was originally intended for the 39mm case), which led to a somewhat awkward positioning of the date window. In addition, there was nothing particularly significant about this model. This was not the first for the AP anyway. He did not introduce new technologies and was not associated with anyone famous. In fact, for most of their industrial life, exile. 15,400 are traded at a discount on the secondary market. However, at the beginning of this year it was discontinued and replaced by ref. 15500. Like a Rolex Batman, changes between old and new models are subtle. The dials are different; Most noticeably, the position of the date window has changed thanks to a new internal movement. Baton markers are now shorter and thicker, and the word “automatic” no longer appears in the lower half of the dial. The body is also slightly thicker due to the new movement.
At first glance, these changes, in particular the new internal movement, should become a pillar. 15500 is better to look at. The same can be said for ref. 126710BLNR. However, the late Steve Jobs seems to be up to something when he said, “People don’t know what they want until you show them,” or in that case, show them an alternative. Now that ref. 15400 is no longer available, everyone wants one. Since the announcement in January, the secondary market price for watches has illogically jumped. Will he track up? Time will tell.