Here are the latest items and commentary on current economics news, market trends, stocks, investing opportunities, and the precious metals markets. We also cover hedges, derivatives, and obscura. And it bears mention that most of these items are from the “tangibles heavy” contrarian perspective of JWR. (SurvivalBlog’s Founder and Senior Editor.) Today, JWR asks: “What will be the Rolex Submariner Successor?” (See the Tangibles Investing section, near the end of this column.)
Economy & Finance:
At The Telegraph (UK): America faces a debt abyss but the politicians just sit on their hands
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Next, at Zero Hedge: This Really Is The Everything Bubble: Even Subprime Mortgage Bonds Are Back
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Tangibles Investing (Rolex Submariner Successor):
What will be the 2020s or 2030s equivalent of a Rolex Submariner wristwatch? Part of that depends on the changeable if not truly fickle tastes of American consumers and investors. But I am quite certain that the next watch to have that je ne sais quoi Rolex appeal will not be a smart watch. Those are over-priced, fragile, and doomed to obsolescence within a few years.
To become truly collectible and have good potential gain in value over the years a timepiece must have these traits: Quality design, durability, excellent timekeeping, a high level of craftsmanship, superior materials, decent marketing, and most importantly: low production numbers. Mass-produced watches doom themselves to the mundane dustbin of history. Even though they were fairly well made, most Hamilton and Bulova wristwatches will never have true collector appeal. Why? There are just too many of them.
Watch for These Watches
In particular, I suggest that you:
1.) Research any up-and coming companies that pride themselves on their craftsmanship and that limit themselves on production. Of those, try to pick some of their more scarce and well-styled manly models, to collect. Brands to look for: Rado, Farer Leven, Breitling, Tag-Heuer, Oris, and Tudor. (Tudor is Rolex’s sister company.)
2.) Keep track of timepiece industry news. If you hear of a watchmaking company that is going out of business, then that is a key indicator. If the watches they produce are already collectible, then their appeal will go off the charts if the company folds. Once you have confirmation that a company is completely going out of business, then that is the time to pounce on any remaining inventory of “new in box” examples that you can afford. At teh same time, recommend them to family and friends.
3.) Also in timepiece industry news, be observant for announcements of Limited Edition production runs. If it is a design that will have long term appeal, then that is probably a good model to buy. Even a higher-production company like Omega does make some limited production models. Someday, one of your grandchildren will be featured on The Antique Roadshow, saying: “My grandfather had the wisdom to buy five of these, new in factory boxes, and tucked them away in our family vault.” One good prospect that is now available: The Jaeger LeCoultre 2018 Memovox. It is a limited edition of 1,000 watches in honor of the 50th birthday of the Polaris model Jaeger-LeCoultre watch. Or perhaps it is even better to buy a certified pre-owned original!
4.) Try to find watches that have engravings showing that they were bought by or presented to celebrities. But be absolutely certain to get letters of provenance from relatives or friends of that celebrity, and have them notarized. In my own family, we own a wristwatch that was worn by the famous physicist and Nobel Laureate Albert Michelson. (One of my distant relatives.) This originally inexpensive production wristwatch is engraved “A.M.” on the back. But because we don’t have a provenance letter and because so many nephews were also named Albert Michelson (in his honor), the value of that watch is difficult to prove. In the “attributable” collectibles world, provenance is everything.
5.) Look for “high wear” but good-working specimens of collectible brands that have scratched crystals and/or missing their original bands. That is probbaly your only chance to buy an example of a Hermès, Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Panerai, Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, Parmigiani or Rolex. Unless the case itself is scratched, these watches can usually be restored. And once restored, they can literally be worth twice as much.
A Closing Reminder: As always, do your homework before you buy, save the original box, papers/manual, and save your purchase receipt. (Or print out all of the order information in hard copy, if you buy online.)
SurvivalBlog and its Editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. So please see our Provisos page for our detailed disclaimers.
Please send your economics and investing news tips to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) These are often especially relevant, because they come from folks who particularly watch individual markets. And due to their diligence and focus, we benefit from fresh “on target” investing news. We often “get the scoop” on economic and investing news that is probably ignored (or reported late) by mainstream American news outlets. Thanks!