Nurture the romanticism of a vintage camera by protecting its value

The retro trend has turned its gaze onto point and shoot cameras, with collectors snapping up iconic models and pushing up their values. It is not older generations that are driving this movement but millennials and Gen Zer’s who have only ever known digital cameras, and for most of them, the kind they get on their smartphones.

Clearly, the attraction lies in their fine craftsmanship, the sharpness of the lens, and the detail that can be captured on 35mm film that simply cannot be replicated with most digital cameras. There is also a nostalgia associated with the most popular point and click models and an unspoken acknowledgement that to use one requires a degree of photographic knowledge and skill.

This week an article in the Financial Times took a look at the compact and rangefinder cameras that are currently finding favour with a new generation of collectors. They interviewed photographers, filmmakers and sellers who talked about how today’s buyers are ‘embracing the anachronism of all things analogue’.

The report highlighted vintage Patek Philippe and Rolex models as investment-grade assets which also have the capacity to bring great pleasure to the owner, vintage Yashica cameras which were once marketed as a budget item and now sell for up to £1000, and a Leica MP black paint, which reportedly sold at auction for 220,000 euros in 2015, but last year fetched one million euros.

We have seen this trend develop in Singapore where there is a well-honed appreciation for luxury items that also provide a useful function – think watches and handbags – and which represent an interesting and relatively risk-free investment.

Like watches and handbags, vintage camera owners relish the option to use their item, even if it’s just on special occasions. However, as the more sought-after camera models rise in value, there is so much more to lose if they are stolen or mislaid.

Of course while Singaporeans enjoy a low-crime environment, travel is also high on their agenda, and this is where a treasured camera is most vulnerable to theft or loss. It’s why we have introduced our digital insurance app. It means that customers insure the camera, or any other precious item just for the time they are away, or when the camera is most at risk.

Not only do we avoid tying our customers into long contracts, they can cancel their policy at any time and reactivate it in a few seconds on the app, putting them in complete control. We also track the value of the camera, for free, to ensure that they are insured for exactly the value that it is worth, and we reprice our policies every month and adjust insure premiums to the current value of the item.

Our policies are global all-risk, which means if a customer wants to take their vintage Contax or Olympus on their next trip to Europe, or just to a local family wedding, the policy will follow them wherever they are.

We understand the attraction of vintage cameras, just as we know how important a Gucci handbag or a Cartier watch are to their owners, and we don’t see why such special items should not have their own special insurance cover.

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