A question that I have been exploring lately – that I wanted to propose to you all. Do you consider second hand luxury, luxurious still?
Once someone has already owned or worn or driven that thing, does it still have that same exclusive taste and feel to you?
I have been working on a project about watches sold on the second hand market and I have come to the conclusion that though I would hold some things in reverence or consider them rare, I would only consider an item luxurious if I was its original buyer – even if it was watch or a piece of jewelry.
Take a Rolex for example. The Daytona (~$400,000K)is just one of the many types of watches made by Rolex BUT there are a special few Daytonas that were owned or made for someone special and that elevates the price of the watch on the second hand market immensely. Even then, if I acquired one of these pieces I would not consider it a luxury because it was not originally bought by or made for me. I completely understand that it is rare and that its rarity adds to its value but I still wouldn’t consider it a luxury for myself. NOW, that is not to say that I wouldn’t want the watch but, if I was able to get it, I would consider it an art piece or a collectors item – a showpeice that I own.
During the pandemic all I was doing was working and sitting at home, so my bank account grew exponentially. So, one day I decided to buy a purse with all the extra money I had and scoured a bunch of websites to determine the type of bag that I wanted. When I finally decided on a few brands, I checked out their listed prices on their websites and then went and checked sites that specialized in reselling luxury goods like StockX and The RealReal to see what their reselling value looked like. Once on the sites I saw that I could save anywhere from $50-$1000 on some of the bags that I liked and for a split second I considered picking up my bag from one of them. Then I looked at the condition of some of the bags. Some were missing boxes, others cases, others the wallets they came with, or even their authenticity papers…
I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t justify in my mind a spend of that magnitude for a bag that had been obliterated in some cases. Not only was the possible resale value gone but I just felt like I was getting someone else’s leftovers. So, in the end, I closed all of those tabs and decided that I would but my own bag and buy it new.
My list of luxury things I would buy second hand is pretty long: blouses, pants, outerwear, cars, and houses. I feel like that’s standard, but also know that I am very picky about what things I want look like when I buy them first hand. So, honestly second hand buys for me are pretty rare. Even still when I do buy those things to me they are a sensible buy. They are not a luxury purchase but a purchase made to save capital in the long run.
What about you? Do you purchase things second hand or at consignment shops? What makes a purchase luxury for you? Do you consider second hand buys luxury? Or does it depend on what the item is?