Over the past several months, I’ve been looking into acquiring my first luxury timepiece.
When I was 15 (maybe earlier, I can’t quite remember), I was given a titanium Seiko for Christmas, and I’ve worn it practically every day since. A true workhorse, this thing continues to tick without any problems.
But, there are a few reasons why I want to update.
One, my particular watch is a bit sportier (or at least has the appearance of being sporty) which makes it tough to wear when I want to dress up. Sure, you could argue, “It doesn’t really matter what you wear on your wrist,” to which I reply, “It’s all in the details, my friend.”
Two, I want to stare at something new. It’s nice to have a little variety. I’m sure I’d continue to wear this Seiko, but at least I’d have a second option.
Then I started to think about my Lean Wardrobe philosophy (buy fewer but better when possible, acquire only what you love and will use) and how I don’t want to simply buy another “fashion” watch.
I’m a bit older, getting married, and appreciative of more quality things, so I don’t want to slap a Michael Kors watch on my wrist and call it a day (no offense to Mr. Kors.)
Also, I want a watch with character… a classic, daily wearer, but also something I can pass down to my son or daughter once he or she is old enough to understand.
I’ve discovered there’s quite a lot to learn when you dive into the world of luxury timepieces. Not just about the brands, terminology, and general history, but also how and where to buy them, assuming you’re considering something vintage (like I am).
Because of this new exploration, I thought it’d be fun to include you and it’s probably a good idea to mention a few reasons why investing in a luxury timepiece is worth it, assuming you have the funds to do so.
Even if you don’t, it’s fun learning something new, in case you’re looking to one day upgrade.
Leo Parker, a fellow watch enthusiast and writer (who is far more educated on the subject than I am) touched on five points below. Needless to say, this is a guest article from him.
The argument of “What’s the point of buying a luxury watch? They all do the same thing…” is one that is common but there are plenty of reasons why you should, if your finances allow, opt for a $2000 watch instead of a $200 piece.
We’re going to take a look at some of the most compelling reasons that luxury watches cost more than their cheaper counterparts and, resultantly, why they are worthy of your investment.
Reason #1: Craftsmanship
One of the principal reasons that watches from the likes of Breitling, TAG Heuer and IWC cost more than those from the likes of Casio is the level of skill and craftsmanship that goes into the manufacture of these high-end timepieces.
It takes highly skilled watchmakers many hours to craft these luxury watches and the painstaking precision with which they are put together is highly evident with the finished article when compared to other watches of lesser value that have been massed produced in a factory rather than individually crafted.
Reason #2: There are Fewer Luxury Watches Manufactured
As mentioned, it takes skilled professionals many man hours to craft a single luxury watch and, for this reason, they are produced in significantly fewer numbers than their cheaper counterparts and this is another reason that luxury watches cost considerably more to both produce and to purchase.
For example, Casio will likely produce millions of a collection of watches at a time whereas someone like Baume and Mercier or Jaeger LeCoultre will more likely produce hundreds or possibly a few thousand.
The fact that luxury watches are made in lower quantities typically means that they are made of superior parts to less expensive watches and, in fact, many of the world’s leading watchmakers such as Zenith, Breitling and IWC manufacture their own watch movements which is, inevitably, another factor which increases the cost of their timepieces.
Reason #3: Innovation
Luxury watch brands tend to push the envelope when it comes to innovation and many of the most prestigious watchmakers like Hublot, Bell & Ross, IWC and Panerai spend a lot of time crafting new and innovative watch movements and designs and, obviously, this takes time and investment which, in turn, means that the timepieces that they produce as a result will prove to be more costly.
The designers, manufacturers and testers employed by the leading luxury watch brand are all united in their dedication to producing innovative timepieces and this level of uniqueness will make the watches cost more than the more mainstream offerings on the market.
Reason #4: Luxury is Appealing
Needless to say, the vast majority of watchmakers would like their timepieces to reside in the so-called “luxury” branch of the industry because it adds a level of prestige to their brand.
Historically speaking, in order to crack into the upper echelons of the watchmaking industry, you would require a rich history in crafting fine timepieces spanning back centuries in order to be considered a luxury brand.
An excellent example of a watch brand that has accrued this level of respect would be someone like Patek Phillipe who can boast a long and illustrious reputation of crafting some of the most breath taking and luxurious watches in the world.
However, in a world increasingly driven by advertising, it is possible to become known for luxury timepieces without having hundreds of years of watchmaking heritage behind you.
For example, Bell & Ross and Bremont watches were both founded in the last twenty years or so but both of these are now firmly established and sitting at the top table of the luxury watch industry.
Reason #5: Stand Out From The Crowd
Possibly the most compelling reason to own a luxury watch is to stand out from the crowd because there are few statement symbols that say more about the owner then their choice of timepiece.
So, if you have the finances to facilitate a purchase of a Breitling, TAG Heuer or IWC watch (to name but a few) then you should certainly do some research and find the right brand for you.
It is amazing how much of an ego boost it is to have a high-end timepiece strapped to your wrist and it’s definitely one of those scenarios whereby if it’s something that you can afford then you should definitely consider investing.
Let’s hear from you
Are you looking to invest in a luxury watch, either now or sometime in the future?
Have you started researching brands, models, or years you’d like to own? What draws you most to the watch you’re considering, or if you’re lucky, the watch you already own?
Edit 3/5: Here’s a nice slideshow via GQ, if you’re interested.
Author info: Leo is a luxury lifestyle blogger who has an affinity for fine timepieces from the likes of Breitling, Baume & Mercier and IWC but, alas, cannot afford the timepieces which he so often writes about. He writes for a number of men’s lifestyle and luxury living blogs and magazines.
Find an excellent selection of luxury watches from The Watch Gallery.