Within the world of watches everyone is, rather rightly, obsessed with getting value for their money. Often articles focus on the best timepieces you can buy within a certain budget, or just broad recommendations that the writer thinks are good value for money considering their price and the complications they have, their build-quality, the brand cachet, the history and design - amongst other things. However, what happens when we flip the script and explore some of the worst-value watches on the market? What watches don't offer much for their money at all? Let’s have a look and see some of the worst-value watches the industry has to offer, and not watches like the $55,000,000 Graff Diamonds Hallucination – that’s too easy. Let’s think outside of the box a bit.
Omega's Gem-set Planet Oceans
Often hailed as great value for money with comparable quality to Rolex, a rich history and a plethora of other positives, Omega are a brand you probably didn’t expect to see on this list, but they have their fair share of overpriced models. While they do make an 18kt white gold Speedmaster for around €59,600 – a mere €16,500 more than the newest 18kt white gold Daytona from Rolex (market values aside), one collection from Omega that needs a mention is their gem-set Planet Ocean 600M collection that ranges from around €120,000 to €219,300.
These models feature leather straps, so you don’t even get a precious metal bracelet, only gem-settings on the bezel, crown and HEV and the very same dial as the base model Planet Ocean 600M – where have Omega gotten their asking price for these? It’s completely crazy to think Omega can sell watches like these, but perhaps they can. Regardless, considering what €200,000 can get you from almost every brand on the planet, before you even think about exploring pre-owned, its plain to see that these watches are over-priced.
Learn more about the watch from Omega here.
Grand Seiko SBGC230
While we could list off some Grand Seikos like the $250,000 SBGD209J or the $185,000 SBGD207J and examine why that much money for a Grand Seiko is just crazy, those watches are limited to 5 and 15 pieces, respectively, which means they get some leniency for the sake of this list as they aren’t exactly made for the normal person, granted none of them are. However, no such leniency is going to be shown to the Grand Seiko SBGC230.
Priced at a whopping $42,000 this GMT and chronograph-boasting Spring Drive-powered timepiece is one very well-made watch, but it’s incredibly expensive for what it is. While Grand Seiko’s Spring Drive movement is certainly technically impressive, and well- finished in the SBGC230, the 18kt rose gold timepiece is only offered on a leather strap, so you, just like the Omegas, are paying precious metal bracelet prices only to get a leather strap. Breaking down the cost of the metal, you really don’t get all that much for your money – not that it matters to the buyer since they aren't going to melt it down, but Grand Seiko’s cost for the raw materials to produce the watch couldn’t have been that high, could they? And sure, its got a nice dial, but its the least you would expect for this price, and dials that are just as nice can be found for 90% less - even within Grand Seiko's own offerings!
Learn more about the watch from Grand Seiko here.
Jacob & Co. Caligula
You knew they were coming, didn’t you? Famous for their extravagant gem-settings, crazy complications and monstrous designs, Jacob & Co. have become synonymous with having too much money. However, while their more expensive stuff is certainly overpriced, it is low-hanging fruit at the same time – we all know the $18,000,000 Billionaire II watch is overpriced. However, what about their more ‘normal’ stuff? Well, it’s also terrible value. While we could explore a lot of their models, like the $114,000 EPIC X CHRONO, let’s instead examine the $69,000 Caligula.
Offered as a dress watch, the Caligula is Jacob & Co’s most refined offering, but that’s not really saying much. Offered in a hulking 45mm x 14.9mm, it is a beast, and far too large to wear with a suit. Offered on a leather strap and no complications and a basic automatic movement with just 48 hours of power reserve, its only saving grace is its hand-painted erotic scene, but brands like Chopard, Patek and plenty of others have similar offers for less. Just to showcase the value that some competitors in this class of watch provide, ladies and gentlemen, the 38.5mm x 9.8mm Lange & Sohne Lange 1 in 18kt white gold with its big date, power reserve indicator (72 hours of reserve) and unparalleled level of hand-finishing in its Lange-made movement is €46000 – a mere €15000 of savings, roughly. Sure, it doesn’t have the hand-painted erotic scene, but the Caligula covers it up most of the time anyway.
Learn more about the watch from Jacob & Co. here.
Hublot Big Bang Original 44mm
Sadly, we have reached the last watch on our list, and while there were plenty of watches that could have made the list, we’ve had to choose a Hublot. While Hublot do get a lot of harsh criticism from the community sometimes, some of it can indeed be warranted, and often that criticism is that their watches are overpriced for what they are, and so we had to mention them on this list. The specific watch we think is overpriced? The Hublot Big Bang Original 44mm ref. 301.PX.130.RX.
Priced at a whopping $34,600 (plus your local sales tax or VAT), this 44mm 18kt rose gold watch fails to provide value at its incredible MSRP. Powered by the cal. HUB4100 movement, which is just the ETA cal. 2894-2 movement with a chronograph module added on top, it features a pedestrian 42 hours of power reserve and sits on a rubber strap. While Hublot, of course, pioneered the Art of Fusion whereby precious metals were paired with other unlikely materials such as rubber, the Hublot Big Bang Original 44mm ref. 301.PX.130.RX has a precious metal bracelet price, while not delivering one – which is a common theme for overpriced watches these days.
Learn more about the watch from Hublot, here.