​Why Are Luxury Watch Prices So High?


There’s a lot more than just a brand name behind the prices of luxury watches. Craftsmanship, exclusivity, materials, production time, and future maintenance costs are all factored into the price. It’s just not possible to produce such works of art without a high cost.

Of course, profit margins are going to be high as well, but that’s largely due to the limited quantities of these watches produced each year. Horology isn’t something best suited to mass production.

Let’s take a look at all of the above mentioned factors in closer details. By the time you’ve finished reading this, you’ll have a finer understanding and appreciation of luxury watch prices, and as additional bonus, will be a lot more knowledgeable in spotting fakes.


Have you ever stopped to observe the intricacies of a well crafted watch? Some of the finest watches contain a huge number of tiny pieces that require incredible skill to put together. It’s not something that can be thrown together by a machine in a matter of minutes.

Some watches actually take almost a year to produce!

Because it is such an artisan skill, the costs associated with production and labor costs are naturally got to be high. There are only a few hundred people in the world with such skills, they aren’t going to come cheaply. If you see a watch that only costs a few hundred dollars or less, it probably didn’t cost they much to produce either.

Exclusivity and Limited Production

Naturally then, there aren’t going to be thousands of copies churned out every day by the luxury watch companies. If one model can take anywhere from six months to a year to produce, it’s safe to assume there rent they many produced each year. As supply and demand dictates, this is going to drive prices high.

Just look at diamonds as an example, they aren’t rare, but limited availability (controlled by the diamond miners) makes them precious.


The finest watches use the finest materials. Many watches contain gold, silver, jewels, diamonds, and other expensive materials.

Of course a lot of expensive Swiss watches also use stainless steel, so materials is not the sole reason for their price.

Maintenance Costs

A lot of lower end watches use battery, or quartz, powered movements. These will last for a long time, and when the quartz expires, you simply replace it. Higher end luxury watches tend to use older technology, such as automatic (powered by your hand movements during the day) or mechanical (wind up) movements. Generally, there is a much higher likelihood that these timepieces will need maintenance in order to keep them accurate and functioning properly.

This higher likelihood of maintenance is factored into the pricing by the manufacturers. They might give you free maintenance, but you’re essentially paying for it when you buy anyway.

This is one of the reasons why citizen ecodrives are so popular, no batteries are required, yet the watches need less maintenance than other battery free watches, which keeps the cost low.

General All-Round Quality

As you should have gathered by now, the high prices of luxury watches are dictated by their general high quality. From production to maintenance, you’re dealing with quality and skill every step of the way.

This is why fake watches are so easy to spot. Many people will see a cheap Rolex when they go abroad, and just assume it’s cheap because of currency difference, cheaper tax rates, or less greedy retailers in that country.

At the end of the day, it’s cheap because it’s fake. No matter where you are on the planet, quality timepieces cannot be retailed for such low prices, or the manufacturer would soon go out of business.

View our list of best watches under 5000 dollars.