Upon watching an ancient episode of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, I got to thinking about their bursting at the seam’s wardrobes, fingers and necks laden with diamonds and cabinets of perfectly presented handbags.
Historically and still to date, art, watches and antique relics are noticed as prized assets, but are the tables of year of old possessions turning? Are modern assets such as handbags, unique jewellery and present-day automotive toys taking over in value?
With new found wealth in the Far East, we are seeing the luxury industry upturn scale higher than ever before with the likes of Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Dior pressed for fast turnarounds on producing luxury brand collaborations and unique one-off pieces. We are seeing a rise of explorative and endangered skin, fur and material usage, entitling sky rocketed prices and unrealistic purchasing capabilities.
'Old wealth’ as they say, was and still is used to purchase longevity goods such as plots of land, international investments and tangible asset material such as chunky gold jewels, the occasional 1904 Rolls Royce and a Steinway piano. With the trajectory of ‘new money’ and the surge of the digital age, we are now encompassing a whole new class of desirable luxury asset, with the average age of billionaires dropping with many now aged in the under 30 category.
Purchasing habits are drastically different, young, aspiring entrepreneurs and philanthropists are banking in on innovative tech, the latest model of electric cars and pushing boundaries in shipbuilding with lithium battery powered superyachts. However, looking at a somewhat smaller ratio, trophy purchases such as Hermes Birkin handbags and Richard Mille watches are tipping the scale of the wealthy’s must haves.
With a more modern approach, these branded assets are fetching unbelievably high prices to purchase, with only a handful of goods made each year it is by far a task in itself resourcing one, let alone facing the six-figure sum of getting your hands on it. With customised products taking preference over normal over the counter purchases, it is becoming more difficult to relinquish asset value upon sales, however the likes of customized Birkin’s by Alec Monopoly, George Condo and Swarovski are fetching upwards of £220,000. Antique watches have long been synonymous with family heritage and patrimony sophistication, yet in Modern times, horology is seeing a socialist revolution with inheritance gifts now in the form of the BONBON collection by Richard Mille and Patek Philippe’s Grandmaster Chime.
The way we are collecting today is very different than that of 10 years ago, the luxury industry is detailing, masterfully designed bespoke, unique and personalised assets for its most sought-after clients, upholding an item tailored to such specific tastes may prove difficult to sell centuries down the line, however it seems classical and timeless pieces are no longer as desirable as they once were.
Younger generations in countries such as the Middle East, Hong Kong and Russia are finding creative ways to look and stay unique, with the younger audience now having a more prominent voice in the industry, due to demand in specialised areas with a digital narrative.
It is brand intricacy and elaborate expression that young collectors are looking to spend their fortunes on.