The beginning of the new year for watch lovers is characterized by 3 elements: the frantic wait for news (once at the SIHH Geneva Motor Show, now moved close to Baselworld, and now the LVMH watch week), the scarcity of watches in dealerships after Christmas sales and, alas, the infamous increase in list prices by some brands.

Although a price adjustment is certainly understandable and important for watchmaking groups and houses in accordance with the various economic factors that characterize the markets, in recent years we have witnessed systematic annual, if not even bi- annuals in some cases. This has undoubtedly led to the frustration of customers who, after a long wait, are forced to pay for the desired watch at a higher price than expected.

With this article, Perpetual Passion inaugurates a column aimed at analyzing the evolution of the market price of some references and we decided to start with Audemars Piguet and the fabulous 15202ST.OO.1240ST.01, or the "anniversary" version presented in 2012, given the very recent adjustment of the selling price.

If you are passionate about watchmaking, you will know very well this reference and the almost 50 years of history it embodies, but allow me to briefly describe the watch.

Audemars Piguet 15202ST.OO.1240ST.01 "Anniversary"

The Audemars Piguet 15202 is the modern reference on whose shoulders rests the legacy of the first Royal Oak 5402 designed by Gerald Genta and released in 1972. The 15202ST.OO.1240ST.01 it was presented in 2012, replacing the previous references 15202, in an exclusive boutique with only the blue dial to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Royal Oak, which is why it is nicknamed the “Anniversary”.

The watch has kept the diameter of 39 mm and the legendary caliber 2121 derived from Jaeger Le Coultre, but has been updated with small changes, such as the positioning of the AP logo at around 6 o'clock (exactly as it did on the 5402) and the use of the date disc with blue background integral with the dial.

For some years now, the demand for this watch has grown dramatically, making it practically impossible to purchase it through official channels if you are not a historical or "important" customer for the selected boutique.

15202ST.OO.1240ST.01 - The trend of the list price from 2013 to 2021

Audemars Piguet, as mentioned at the beginning of the article, has several times increased the list price for this reference since its presentation and the graph below shows exactly thetemporal trend from January 2013 to January 2021 together with the individual percentage increases. Small note, when the watch was presented in 2012 it had the same list price as in January 2013.

As you can see, the turning point most important occurred without a shadow of a doubt in the course of 2018, a year in which there were two price increases (January 2018 and June 2018) corresponding to an overall + 12% compared to the previous year. Also considering the increases in January 2020 and 2021, in the space of 3 years we have seen an increase of + 26% on the official selling price (€ 23 vs € 500), a decidedly considerable and quite impressive value. What could it have been due to?

15202ST.OO.1240ST.01 - The trend of prices on the secondary market

In order to understand the reasons that could be hidden behind these increases in the sale price, we analyze thetrend of the value on the secondary market appropriately differentiating between new / unworn and used watches.
The graph below shows the temporal evolution of the secondary market and the price difference (yellow) between the conditions considered.

Just starting in 2018, an f occurredorte growth of the value perceived by the market, growth that stopped slightly only in the first months of 2020 due, in all probability, to the Coronavirus Covid-19 and the consequent insecurity of the markets. Combining the above graphs, it becomes clear how Audemars Piguet in 2018 tried to chase the market trying to keep the corresponding value below the list price, unfortunately without succeeding.  

While considering that prices on the secondary market could be drugged from untruthful or too pretentious sales announcements and from the commissions that the various sales platforms force to pay, it is undoubted that the value achieved since the 15202 Anniversary has grown from 2013 to today with an almost exponential trend, managing to well exceed + 50% compared to the list price.

The rare 15202 Anniversary sold so far by the main auction houses (Phillips, Antiquorum, Sotheby's, Christie's) do not represent significant values ​​with possible market influence. Since this is a modern reference, produced in considerable numbers (hundreds of pieces every year) and still potentially purchasable, it does not yet have the characteristics to be able to obtain important numbers in the event of a sale at auction.

As of the writing of this article (end of January 2021), the lucky customers who manage to fulfill their dream of having a 15202 Anniversary in the collection will find in their hands a watch with a real value (net of the previous considerations) of 42- € 45, which corresponds to + 000-42% on the purchase price in 52, depending on the condition of the object. In the event that the purchase is previous, the delta of potential gain is even greater and the relative percentages even more remarkable (Max 2021-127%).

final Thoughts

I know, you who are reading this article will have two questions of one million euros each:

  • Does the market reflect the real value of the watch?
  • How much will the perceived value still grow and how long will this phenomenon last?

Unfortunately, I cannot answer these. To evaluate the real value of a watch, an important number of variables should be taken into consideration and some parameters that uniform the evaluations should be set appropriately, it is a complex analysis that certainly cannot be carried out through a simple article. Secondly, I do not have the power and the presumption to foresee the future.   

What, however, I can do is show the data available to us to highlight how important the phenomenon of the increase in value perceived by the secondary market is as regards some particular references, leaving you the considerations relating to a possible purchase outside the official channels (with consequent extra economic outlay) in order to own the desired watch.

Write us in the comments what you think and if you would ever be willing to buy a watch like this outside the boutiques.