Why are rich Chinese consumers selling their Rolexes? Passing on your luxury watch or Hermès Birkin bag might get you cash quick in China’s struggling economy – but prices are dropping
It seems even the wealthy are exercising caution, cutting back on their discretionary spending and selling their Rolex watches and Hermès bags to raise cash. Whether a smart and strategic move or panic selling based on fear of the unknown, the outcome is the same.
“The boom time is over,” says James Wang, a seller of second-hand luxury watches in the eastern city of Nanjing. “We are entering a correction period that could last for a long time.”
“Patek Philippe says you never actually own its watch but merely look after it for the next generation,” he continues. “That’s not the case in a business crisis. It’s probably the weakest I’ve seen in my 25 years in China.”
The reality is that businesses are playing a to and fro game of raising and slashing prices at the beck and call of Covid regulations. And who could have seen such a predicament coming when the cost of second-hand Rolex Submariners rose by 240 per cent just six months before Shanghai’s lockdown, the Financial Times pointed out.
- Second-hand marketplaces in China have seen the price of Rolex Submariners drop by 46 per cent this year – which is shocking given that the same model was up 240 per cent in 2021
- The price of a second-hand Hermès Birkin has also dropped by a fifth, according to luxury dealerships in Shanghai and Hangzhou – but how have China’s strict zero-Covid policies affected cash flows?