Fortunately, while it doesn’t happen that often, even esteemed watch brands can cease to exist. While this is terrible, first and foremost for the people of the brand, for watch collectors it can offer an interesting opportunity. Dealers will most likely offload any stock of the brand at a discount, and the prices of used models also take a sharp angle downwards. When a watch of such a brand has been on your wishlist, at a moment like this, it can be a good time to go against the grain and buy one. However, it is important to realize a few things before doing so.
When a watch brand ceases to exist, so does its after-sales service. If you purchase a watch with a widely used ETA or Sellita (based) movement, this doesn’t necessarily have to be such a problem. Most watchmakers can still service them, and even spare parts are readily available. It only gets more complicated when other parts, like crowns of bezels, need replacement. Fortunately, that doesn’t happen that often. Things might be different when you purchased something like an MCT, with its ingenious slats system. With such an intricate watch, it is almost impossible to keep it in working order without the original manufacturer to fall back on.
Another example is Daniel Roth, who made some stunning watches. This brand was, together with Gerald Genta, acquired by Bulgari but eventually discontinued as it was integrated into their own collection. Fortunately, the fact that Bulgari is involved ensures that there are still options to service these models.
In terms of prices, things can fluctuate widely. When Alain Silberstein’s brand ceased operation, the prices of its watches dropped. However, being a gifted designer with a unique signature, Silberstein was, fortunately, able to continue being a part of the watch world by collaborating with brands like MB&F and Louis Erard. This kept him on the radar of watch collectors and also gave a renewed interest in the watches that he once made under his own name. As a result, their value increased. However, this is more the exception to the rule, as many brands enter oblivion. That doesn’t make them any less desirable, as long as you keep in mind that purchasing such watches comes with some possible challenges.
Which model of a defunct watch brand is still on your wishlist? Let us know in the comments.