Have you been considering investing in a luxury watch, but you’re not sure where to begin? The good news is that you’re not alone. A simple search will reveal tons of reviews, buyer’s guides, and other resources that you can use to educate yourself before making a selection.
Of course, all that information can get overwhelming. To save you the headaches and the information overload, we’ve compiled everything that you need to know for your first high-end watch purchase right here. By the time you’re done with this guide, you’ll understand just what makes a “luxury” watch and how to figure out which one is best for your needs.
When you’re buying a watch of this caliber, it should be a meaningful, exciting purchase. It’s daunting, for sure, but you should also be delighted by the opportunity to own one of the finest timepieces in the world! And to that end, it’s important to start your quest for high-end watches by asking yourself the million-dollar question:
Why do you want a high-end watch? And specifically, why now?
There are several reasons that people decide to treat themselves to a nice luxury timepiece. Understanding your own motivations can help you focus on what you truly want and get the best watch for your needs (or wants).
Reasons People Choose High-End Watches
Take a look at the list below and see if you can find your situation or circumstances. Then, you’ll have a good starting point for your shopping.
Durability and Elegance
Durability is a fairly common trait to find in watches, so you aren’t really narrowing the options a lot here. However, the level of durability and elegance that comes with it could impact your decision. If this is the only reason you want a high-end watch, you’ll need to consider the style and features, as well as available price points, to figure out what “high-end” really means to you.
Some people opt to upgrade to a luxury watch to enhance their personal style. While you may be dreaming of that perfect Rolex or you just want a sporty luxury watch to fit your lifestyle, there are no wrong answers here. If you have a particular style that you like already, you’re halfway there.
There are those in high-level positions (CEOs, C-level executives, etc.) who feel that a high-end watch could enhance their professional image and help them impress clients, employers, and others. If this is you, you’ll probably be looking at brands like Omega and Rolex, although IWC and Zenith offer some good mid-range options for those on a tighter budget.
High-end watches are also great status symbols. When you’re doing well financially and you want to show off a little, a stylish luxury watch can do (and say) a lot more than all the gold and diamond jewelry that you can find. It’s classic, timeless, and elegant, and you’ve got tons of styles and designs to choose from.
Quality Engineering and Rich History
For those who truly understand and appreciate timepieces, the high-quality engineering and unique details of a luxury watch are alluring. Plus, most of the high-end watch brands out there today have a rich history of creating some of the most revered watches over the generations:
- Patek Philippe
- TAG Heuer
What Exactly Makes a “High-End” Watch?
Several elements discern a high-end watch from an everyday model or brand. Typically, they are made with much higher-quality materials and with years of experience and skill behind the creators. These watches often include advanced features, premium materials and embellishments, and of course, that beautiful luxury brand name for everyone to see.
High-end watches can be priced as low as a few hundred dollars in some cases, so what is “luxury” to one person might be a budget-friendly designer watch to another. When shopping for your own high-end watches, you’ll want to look for quality craftsmanship, brand reputation and quality, and other details. Along with that, you’ll also need to think about the elements that matter to you.
Factors to Consider
As with any purchase, there are some things that you’ll want to consider when choosing a high-end watch. For those who don’t already have an idea of what they want (or who haven’t been pining over that perfect Blancpain timepiece for years), here are a few elements that should be on the list when shopping for luxury watches.
What’s your style? Are you looking for a dressy watch that features a gold band and bezel-edged face with diamonds and gemstones? Perhaps you want a sportier luxury watch like a pilot’s watch or a diver’s watch. There are plenty of those to choose from, as well. You’ll find high-end watches in almost every aesthetic, which means there will be no shortage of ways to enhance your style with these timepieces.
When it comes to buying watches, the size of the face is often one of the biggest deciding factors. After all, you don’t want something too small that doesn’t get noticed. However, you might also not want a huge watch hanging off your wrist that looks like something out of a Yo! MTV Raps episode. This can be harder to determine when shopping online, but if you head to a local store and try on a few different sizes, you’ll have a good reference point moving forward.
Today’s high-end watches come with something that their predecessors may not have even imagined: powerful technology including everything from GPS maps and weather maps to personal health tracking features. In fact, many of the leading luxury smartwatches available today rival the best technology available even from brands like Apple and other smartwatch companies.
You can find luxury and high-end smartwatches from some of the best brands on the market today. You can also find standard watches with a few great tech features if you don’t want to go full-on with the smartwatch switch.
The movement is what powers the watch, and while traditional mechanical movements typically rule the luxury market, battery-powered quartz is used in many lower-end models. You can find luxury watches that have automatic movement, too, which use a rotor that spins as you move your wrist to keep the watch wound properly.
Choosing the right movement is essential. The more precise the movement technology, the more costly the watch will be because it is complicated to produce.
High-end watches are usually made from high-end materials. While you’re going to find plenty of leather and stainless steel bands, you will also find materials like:
- Carbon fiber
As the price range goes up, so do the materials and their quality. For example, while you can find plenty of stainless steel case watches with diamonds and gemstones in the under $1000 price range, you’re going to spend thousands of dollars for platinum, carbon fiber, and high-end watches that have a lot of gold or silver in them.
The final element on the list is probably the most important: what features does the watch have? Whether you want a simple watch with a date feature or you are seeking out a luxury timepiece that has all the bells and whistles, you’ll have plenty of options. This also plays in with the smartwatch decision a little because if those are the features you want, that’s the route you’ll have to go.
The First Luxury Watch
In 1735, Jehan-Jacques Blancpain opened a workshop in his home in Villeret, Switzerland. You can even still find the village records showing when Blancpain registered as a watchmaker and started producing timepieces. Over the centuries, the company has had changes, periods of inactivity, and plenty of inspiration that have kept it going.
Blancpain was also charged with producing watches for the French navy, which needed a timepiece that was accurate and detailed, but still able to withstand the harsh conditions of underwater operations. The brand was actively revived in 1983 and belongs to the Swatch Group currently.
However, you can tell their timepieces still harken back to the past in their designs. More importantly, the same centuries-old watchmaking skill and knowledge are used in creating every single watch from Blancpain. That’s what allows it to continue to be one of the leading luxury watch brands available today.
Choosing a High-End Watch in Your Price Range
Even high-end shoppers have a budget in mind at times, which is why it’s important to know that these watches come in several price ranges. You can find some basic “luxury” models for as low as $500, or you could spend tens of thousands of dollars on an exclusive, high-end, custom-designed watch that includes diamonds, jewels, and other embellishments alongside the quality watchmaking that high-end brands are known for.
When you’re buying your first luxury watch, this guide should help you figure out exactly what you want and how much it’s going to cost. Or, if you’ve already got a budget, you’ll learn what kind of high-end watches you can afford (and what you can’t) so that you can make your first purchase with confidence.