expensive watch

Luxury Watches Are a Waste of Money

Luxury watches are a waste of money.

Okay, I realize we’ve ruffled some feathers here so allow me to explain. Is buying that Patek Philippe, or that Rolex watch really going to make such a big impact on your financial situation by the time you retire? You’ve got years and years until you are going to need to retire anyway right?


We wanted to know, how many days of free time and financial independence would you have to give up by purchasing a luxury watch. Read on to find out!

But first we also wanted to give our take on a couple of the considerations we hear many people making when determining whether or not to make these sorts of purchases.

  1. My watch holds its value well, so it can’t be a bad purchase.
    • Our take: This provides many luxury watch buyers with far more comfort than it should. Even though the watch itself is not losing value, there is an opportunity cost associated with not being able to invest the money that is tied up in the watch.
  2. I need an expensive watch to impress my clients.
    • Our take: You should take half an hour to take a good hard look at your interactions with your clients to determine if this is really true. If it is, then a nice watch is simply the cost of doing business for you, and as an investment it may in fact be worth it. But it is worth noting that this is a little ridiculous.
  3. It makes me feel like I have high social status.
    • Our take: Maybe feeling like you are of an elevated social status is truly deep down important to you. Mostly however we see a deeper desire at play, which will only be temporarily, and partially fulfilled by purchasing an expensive watch.
  4. I understand and appreciate the craftsmanship.
    • Our take: Cool! If the most expensive watch out there really leaves you in awe, you just need the king of mechanical watches, and you appreciate the engineering that goes into it even though you couldn’t care less about the new apple watch 5, more power to ya!

With the above said, obviously there is more to it than a simple numbers and cents exercise. However, knowing exactly how much free time you are giving up by purchasing that patek philippe is a very valid and useful data point when evaluating such a decision.

Using the Free Times Framework as detailed here, we arrive at a free time value for three different “tiers” of watches. See here for the four different watch choices.

Watch TierWatchPriceFree Time Lost
1Patek Philippe$76,0002,608 Days
2Rolex$9,995343 Days
3Omega$4,280147 Days
4Citizen Eco$1144 Days

To reiterate, this means that purchasing a patek philippe given the financial conditions assumed in the free times framework post here, will cause you to have to work for someone else for over 2,600 additional days! Personally, that Citizen Eco would be the way to go for me.

There is no accounting for taste of course, and only you can know what will make you happy. But this is one way of thinking about the impact of your financial decision to purchase an expensive watch that should help you better contextualize really what it is that you are giving up.

Tier 1: Patek Philippe

Tier 2: Rolex

Tier 3: Omega

Tier 4: Citizen Eco


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