Watches

These Were 2022’s Top-Selling Watch Brands, Chrono24 Says

WatchesJan 25, 2023

These Were 2022’s Top-Selling Watch Brands, Chrono24 Says

Rolex remained No. 1 while a brand known for its pilot watches slipped into the No. 5 spot.

Direct-to-consumer luxury watch marketplace Chrono24 recapped the year in watches in a recent report, including the best-selling brands.
Karlsruhe, Germany—Last year was an interesting one for luxury watches as supply chain issues sent prices for Rolex and Patek Philippe soaring and gave less popular brands a chance to shine.

Luxury watch online marketplace Chrono24 looked back on the year in a new report, highlighting the most popular brands and styles while also providing an update on where the market stands now.

Here are five key takeaways from its new report.

Rolex reigns supreme.

Rolex once again claimed the top spot on Chrono24’s list of the five best-selling brands.

Next up is Omega, which retained its No. 2 spot, followed by Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet.

Retailer Watches of Switzerland recently placed Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet watches in its “super high demand” category.

Breitling, which is rumored to have an IPO in the works, beat out other competitive brands for the No. 5 spot, including Cartier, Jaeger-LeCoultre, TAG Heuer, and Zenith.

Other watch brands are also gaining market share.

Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet are some of the best known names in luxury watches, but they’re not the only brands that are growing.

Swatch saw its market share surge 1,344 percent, said Chrono24, due to high demand for its “Moonswatch” collaboration with Omega.

The sold-out Moonswatch is an affordable take on Omega’s “Moonwatch” and was named Hodinkee’s 2022 Watch of the Year.

Priced at $260, rather than around $6,000 for the Omega version, it was available only in-store at select Swatch locations and drew large crowds.

Laurent Ferrier saw its market share grow 155 percent year-over-year while Grand Seiko was up 150 percent.

However, not all moderately priced brands experienced a boom in demand. Eberhard (down 31 percent), Maurice Lacroix (down 28 percent), and Nomos (down 25 percent) all saw declines.

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Steel and two-tone watches were among the most popular styles.

In addition to what brands are selling, Chrono24 also took a look at consumers’ aesthetic choices.

Steel watches made up more than 60 percent of sales in 2022. Two-tone watches grew in popularity, up 9 percent year-over-year.

Yellow gold cases hit their height in 2021, but sales fell 9 percent in 2022. Rose and red gold watches also peaked in 2021.

This year, Chrono24 noted a “significant uptick” in ceramic watch sales.

Black dials were more than twice as popular as blue dials, making up 39 percent of sales in 2022, compared with 16 percent for blue dials.

Next in popularity was white, followed by silver and then gray.

Though they make up a small percentage of overall sales, watches with orange dials saw sales grow 37 percent year-over-year.

“Chrono24 notes a site-wide trend of a larger variety of case sizes offered and purchased and expects this consumer preference to continue to gain popularity as the demand for gender-neutral watch models grows,” said the company.

As for specific models, the Rolex Datejust was the most popular model on the website, with 2022 sales growing year-over-year and accounting for 11 percent of market share.

The Grand Seiko “Heritage” and “Elegance” collections also grew in popularity.

Chrono24 clocked “explosive growth” in the U.S. market.

The luxury watch platform has an average of 25 million users per month across 120 countries, but it was the U.S. market that stood out in 2022.

The company posted a 62 percent increase year-over-year in gross merchandise volume.

The U.S. now leads with the highest number of sales per country on the platform, taking the top spot from Germany, with the American market accounting for 13 to 15 percent of unique user sessions.

Chrono24, based in Germany, had previously performed best in its home country where it was more established, said a spokesperson, but the company has since increased market share in the U.S., noting a contributing factor is the rise of watch-focused social media content.

Prices of “hype watches” fell due to market price corrections.

The prices of select models of Rolex, Patek Philippe, and Audemars Piguet skyrocketed last year amid supply chain issues.

Certain models were selling for four or five times the market price, particularly the Rolex Daytona, the Patek Phillipe Nautilus, and the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, a trio Chrono24 calls the “Glorious 3.”

There has since been a market correction, said the company.

Inflation, the crypto crash, and other contributing factors have lowered prices to only two to three times above the market price.

Rolex saw the biggest declines in the Daytona model, with more subtle declines in the GMT-Master II and Submariner models.

Mid-tier brands like Omega, Cartier, and IWC retained their values, said Chrono24, and remained consistent throughout the year.

While many media outlets reported on the rise in prices, Chrono24 publicly stated it felt the headlines were not representative of the overall second-hand luxury watch market but instead were specific to the “Glorious 3.”

“2022 was an interesting year as we really saw the luxury watch marketplace entering mainstream conversation in a bigger way than ever before,” said Chrono24 CEO Tim Stracke. 

“But as with any market, it’s more accurate to examine the data closely without overgeneralization. The value trajectories of luxury timepieces can certainly be a proven indicator of broader economic things to come, but it’s ultra-important to assess trends not only brand-to-brand, but model-to-model.”

Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

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