Rarely does anyone buy luxury wristwatches merely because of their functionality. When someone purchases a luxury watch, the reasons go well beyond simply telling time. With a clock on every cellphone, there are a myriad of less expensive options for telling time, than a luxury timepiece. Moreover, there are cheaper watches powered by quartz movements, which are more affordable and accurate than the purely mechanical movements offered by the most prestigious and expensive Swiss watches. So, if luxury watch enthusiasts aren’t looking strictly to tell time, what are they looking for when they purchase a luxury timepiece?
Whether for your first or your tenth, buying each luxury watch offers a unique experience. Even among watches from the same model, each timepiece is exceptional, and there will always be an endearing trait that distinguishes one from another. As for these endearing traits that mark that luxury watch, here are six considerations that drive expert collectors to add a timepiece to their collection :
Patek Philippe Annual Calendar 5905P-001 shows the Calibre CH 28-250 QA 24H Automatic movement behind its sapphire case back.
The movement, or the caliber, is the engine that drives the watch's mechanism. The most available options among analog wristwatches are quartz movement, manually-wound movement, and automatic movement.
The quartz movement is the most affordable movement available on the market and is at the heart of most mechanical watches today. Introduced in the seventies, it can match the most refined mechanical movements in terms of timekeeping accuracy despite being available in large quantities.
The majority of the most refined movements today are made up of "automatics." These watches harness the kinetic energy produced by wrist movement. The most valuable are in-house movements (as opposed to outsourced movements made by independent dedicated manufacturers) that stand out in the eyes of the most discriminate watch connoisseurs. The automatics set the standard for movement. These highly complex artisanal products of precision are highly-valued feats of craftsmanship. From 200-piece movements that provide fundamental functions such as timekeeping to 700-part calibers that power over ten or more complications, these provide the beating heart of the most expensive and sought-after timepieces on the market.
After looking into how the insides work, let us now look at what is just as important, how the watch looks on the wearer's wrist. A watch needs to fit both the wearer and the occasion. Five main watch types are popular today. Each style is also available in ladies' models, usually jeweled or in smaller diameters. Depending on the trend, some men's models are adopted by ladies, especially in the early part of this century when huge diameters were the trend for women as well as men.
Like the Rolex Submariner 1166191b, the successor to the classing 1953 Submariner, its distinctive uni-directional bezel, rugged construction, and handsome features make it a desirable and functional watch to wear daily. These watches are tough and are fit to be used by divers because of their high level of water resistance. However, most of these watches won't touch water at all.
From the first pilot watch designed by Cartier for Alberto Santos Dumont in 1911 to the Breitling Aviator 8 B01 Chronograph, these finely balanced pieces of technicality containing multiple dials reminiscent of a pilot's cockpit instruments, and simple practical designs, are fit for flight or as a statement watch you can wear on any occasion.
With leather straps, understated dials, and thin and delicate bezels, dress watches are perfect matches for formal attire. Like the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony 4000U/00R-B111, dress watches are designed to stay hidden under the wearer's cuff until needed. These dress watches are a powerful but subdued expression of style that befits the exceptional person who wears them on formal occasions.
Inspired by the modernist look set off by the Bauhaus movement, these minimalist watches have the bare essentials with the most minimal adornments. Despite lacking details, they do not lack a sense of style. The simplicity and contemporary feel of minimalistic watches, such as the Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse 5738R-001, give a touch of class despite having a pared-back design.
Luxury watches and auto-racing have a long and fruitful functional relationship. Despite purely mechanical movements, like the Richard Mille RM 11-03 Jean Todt, these watches are made of cutting-edge materials and with the highest level of skill and precision to deliver the highest degree of performance under the most demanding conditions. Like the attention paid to high-performance cars, such is the attention given to providing the best drivers in the world with timepieces that can withstand the tremendous forces they are subjected to.
In horology, complications are features of a mechanical timepiece that go beyond telling time. These may include alarms, chronographs (like in stopwatches), day-of-the-week indicators, moon phases, perpetual calendars, sky charts, minutes of mean solar time, or all of these in one watch. Understandably, the most expensive watches contain multiple complications powered by the same automatic caliber movement. These complications are equally a testament to artisanal excellence and functionality. Despite their difficulty to create, these additional functions are staggeringly precise, such as those carried by the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Grande Complication Ref#26552BC.00.D002CR.01.
Though mass-produced quartz watches can keep time better than a vast majority of automatics, the best super-accurate mechanical watches certified as a "chronometer" by the COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) are a class of their own. The UN-118 caliber in the Ulysse Nardine Marine Chronometer 1186-126-3/61, supplied by Sigatec for Ulysse Nardin, has lubrication-free properties of silicon combined with the strength of diamond coating, which provides it with seamless precision. Beating at 28,800 cycles per hour, these high-precision chronometers lose approximately 3 to 4 seconds daily, which is at par with the best quartz watches.
Most watches will lose some of their value over time. However, specific watch models such as the Patek Philippe Nautilus 5726-1A-014 (as well as most of the rest included in the Nautilus line), or the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, increases in value far beyond their original retail price. With a perfect storm formed by their rarity, inherent qualities, and persistently high demand, these watches can be seen as safer investment instruments than financial assets.
Comparing a $1000 quartz-powered watch with multiple functions to an $8,000,000 Patek Philippe Sky Moon Grand Complications watch comes down to the materials, brand heritage, length of manufacture, better-designed housing made of precious materials, high degree of craftsmanship, as well as being crafted by a strong pedigree of precision watchmaking that goes back for over a century of tradition of excellence.
When you buy a luxury watch, you are not only purchasing a machine that tells time. A luxury watch is a way of buying into the confidence, class, and exclusivity built by a strong tradition of excellence. A luxury watch is more about the image it creates for the wearer than about telling time. With their high price tags, exclusivity, and level of mechanical and artistic craftsmanship, parting with substantial sums for a timepiece marks you as someone in the upper echelons. Someone who buys the most prestigious luxury watch brands is someone who has done their research and has a proper understanding of the value defined by the world of horology. To most of us, it may appear to be an exclusive club replete with terminologies and an atmosphere bordering on the exclusionary. A wearer of a luxury watch is someone who is not only wealthy but someone who has distinctive tastes.
Diamond Source NYC is a highly-respected watch buyer, seller, and trader who has gained the respect of the most discriminating watch collectors. Whether you are a first time luxury watch buyer, in the market for a heritage watch, looking to trade luxury watch for an upgraded model, or simply cash in on your investment, visit this page to learn more about our buy and sell services for luxury watches, diamonds, and luxury jewelry. You may also call us at (212) 730-5959 to inquire about the availability and stocks of luxury watches we have in our store.