11 April 2023


By In Brands, General, Hype Market, Vacheron Constantin

The beginning of each year for watch enthusiasts has been characterized, in recent years, by the increase in the retail prices. 2023 doesn’t change this trend and most of the brands have already introduced the mentioned retail price increase, but the grey market seems steady and unaffected by such phenomena after the drop experienced in 2022. Through this article, we would like to give an insight into the retail and grey market price trends of a specific watch that we believe being interesting and valuable: the Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time. For the sake of clarity, since it comes in three different dial variants, only the blue dial market values have been analyzed.

Before going into the numbers, we should mention a brief history of the Overseas and its evolution. The legacy began in 1977 when, following the integrated bracelet trend launched 5 years before by Audemars Piguet with the Royal Oak, Vacheron Constantin introduced the 222 to celebrate the brands’ 222nd anniversary. The watch was designed by Jorg Hysek and represented a breakaway from their traditional dress-watch design. However, it was only in 1996 that the Overseas name came to life, aiming at a sophisticated clientele that was looking for a high-end watch as travel companion with a design that felt sportier that the previous 222. In 2004 a second version of the Overseas was launched and was getting closer to the design forms that we see today, characterized by a larger diameter of 42mm and a soft iron cage to protect the movement from the magnetic fields. In particular, it was through this second version that we first encountered the Dual Time complication, which was introduced in 2006 using a Jaeger-LeCoultre based movement. Finally, through the third evolution of the collection in 2016, Vacheron presented the current line of the Overseas with a more refined design but without losing the original charm and introducing the new in-house calibers. In November 2017 the Dual Time with in-house movement was introduced.

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time, blue dial – Photo courtesy of www.hodinkee.com

Going now into numbers, the retail price of the Overseas Dual Time when it was introduced in 2017 was €24.400 (NB. all retail prices are referred to European market). Then, its price was increased up to €26.600 in 2021 and reached €30.700 in January 2023. It is interesting to note that within such time frame the increase percentage ratio is equal to 25,8%. If compared to the current market scenario, such increase results to be aligned with the strategy applied by competitors, but let’s try to understand what happened during this time period. 

Grey market value of the Vacheron COnstantin Overseas Dual Time from January 2018 to January 2023 – the shown values are related to the blue dial version only

The selling price for new and second-hand watches on the secondary market represents a good starting point to understand the reasons behind this phenomenon. The above chart shows the mentioned trends and it can be seen that until the summer of 2020, both categories were traded below retail price of around 15% and 25% respectively. Then, a slight but constant increase took place until in 2021 the secondary market overtook the retail one, firstly in mint condition and immediately followed by the second hand. 

Then, from mid-2021 to mid-2022 it is possible to note a steep increase in the secondary market value which coincides also with the previously mentioned list price update. Such steep increase can be understood if we look at the watch market as a whole. Indeed, after the initial uncertainty following the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the lockdowns resulted in more and more people addressing their interest towards the watch market, boosting the demand of many watches from the most famous watch brands. Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet, for instance, have seen the value of their watches increasing almost exponentially, resulting with a shortage of new stocks at authorized dealers and a consequent increase in price above retail on secondary market. Considering such shortage and demand increase, it was just a matter of time before buyers focused their attention towards other watches with a first-class pedigree that was still trading at or below retail, and this led to the drastic increase in market value of the Vacheron Constantin Overseas, including the Dual Time. 

Furthermore, it is important to note that, riding the wave of appreciation and taking inspiration from the prototype made for the photographer and mountaineer Cory Richards, Vacheron Contantin launched a titanium limited edition of 150 pieces of the Overseas Dual Time pricing it at €30.700 which is now traded between €70.000 and €100.000. The launch of this peculiar edition so well appreciated by the market can be another source of influence for the market trends of the non-limited Dual Time. 

Vacheron Constantin Overseas Dual Time Everest – Photo courtesy of www.hodinkee.com

Following the peak in the market value reached between February and March 2022, from April 2022 the price on the secondary market has been descending at the same rate it has been rising. The possible reasons for this downturn should be searched in the rise in the inflation that has increased the interest rates and in the uncertainty that hover around the stock markets. Currently, the market price of the Vacheron Constantin Dual Time is way above retail one, giving the opportunity to Vacheron Constantin to further increase the retail price in January 2023.

No one can tell what will happen next, the market is now slowing down the descent, but still it is not easy to say if the market is still highly hyped or if the actual situation represents the new and stable value of the watch. However, historically it can be said that the Dual Time, as the entire Overseas collection, was never considered as a hyped watch. Hence, imagining that the market will remain stable on these prices is hard, but not impossible. What it can be stated is that, as long as the market value is above the retail price, the Maison will have an opportunity to increase the watch retail price and deeply select their customers. 

Written by Giovanni Andrean

Born in 1999, energy engineer and truly passionate about watches since he was a teenager. He is attracted from the mechanical marvel of watches and their strong heritage in the same way one could be attracted by a piece of art.