The Hottest Watches of 2024, by the Numbers

These rankings match the 2023 edition to a T. Splitting off the top-selling watches by model and by dollars spent is critical here. This, I think, is the more interesting result. This tells me that when collectors want to start a collection, they aren’t looking for anything flashy—even a Cartier Tank is a little too zippy for these folks. What the Seamaster and the Datejust have in common is that they are platonic ideals for a watch. If you asked someone to draw a watch from memory, the resulting image would probably look like one of these two top choices.

If I were to hazard an explanation about the Seamaster’s two-year run atop this category, it’s that there are still mega deals to be found on this model. Cruising around Chrono24, you can find handsome versions of the Seamaster in the neighborhood of $2,000—it’s much harder to track down a Datejust at that price point.

The three top-selling watch models, by dollar amount:

3. Rolex Daytona

2. Rolex Submariner

1. Rolex Datejust

While the Datejust was elbowed out of the top spot in the previous category, it wouldn’t be denied here. Again, this is a carbon copy of last year’s data. Rolex is still totally dominant when it comes to the watch market. That’s true in both the pre-owned and primary markets: Rolex owns a staggering 30.3% of the market, according to Morgan Stanley and LuxeConsult’s annual report on the watch industry. The next biggest brand? Cartier at a relatively meager 7.54%!

What the Datejust, Submariner, and Daytona have in common is that they’re all titanic watches in this hobby. The looks of these watches define their categories—the Submariner and Daytona are the respective templates for a majority of diving and racing watches.

The best-selling watch brands, by volume:

3. Seiko

2. Omega

1. Rolex

At this point, the results just feel like the Lakers and Celtics trading NBA titles back and forth. Historically, Rolex and Omega have been the two most dominant players in the industry, and Chrono24’s data won’t give you any reason to believe their grip is loosening. I do appreciate seeing Seiko stick around in this top three—the plucky Japanese manufacturer of the world’s best affordable watches is apparently capable of putting up numbers similar to that of the top Swiss makers.

Single most expensive watch sold on Chrono24?

Patek Philippe 5711 “Tiffany” Nautilus, $1.85 Million (2023: The Richard Mille RM 052, $785,680)

The “Tiffany” version of the 5711 is the watch that keeps on giving on the secondary market. Phillips got a massive $6.5 million haul when it put one of these up for sale upon its release. And digital auction houses like Loupe This or marketplaces like Chrono24 have cashed in on the watch’s hype since. This is by far the biggest sale to ever take place on the site, eclipsing last year’s biggest sale by a full million.

Change in volume of transactions and average sale price on Chono24 year-over-year:

This one is for the nerds. Thanks for sticking with me. Chrono24 reports that while the volume of transactions has bumped up 5.12%, the average sale has fallen slightly (5.8%). It’s a revealing set of data to look at in tandem. The much-talked-about infusion of collectors is here (not that a 5% gain is all that extraordinary), and it appears they’re looking for more affordable pieces. That jives with what we know anecdotally: If a lot of new people are coming into the hobby, it makes sense that they would largely be looking for starter watches. An affordable Omega Seamaster, maybe?

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