It is often said that in today’s modern world, there simply isn’t a need for a wristwatch. Many of us have continuous access to electronic devices such as smartphones, computers, and tablets that readily tell us the time. Yet, despite the lack of an inherent need for a time-telling device worn on the wrist, why does the watch industry—particularly the luxury watch industry—continue to grow? Because when it comes to luxury goods, it is not need that is the driving force, but rather, desire.
People enjoy wearing luxury watches for a range of reasons including a fascination for mechanical machines, a respect for impeccable quality, and as a way to convey status and personal taste. What’s more, we cannot overlook the booming culture of watch collecting, both as a hobby and as a means of investing. All over the world, communities of watch enthusiasts gather—online and in real life—to discuss, compare, and trade timepieces.
For those who are not familiar with the ins and outs of the luxury watch space, it can be an intimidating one to venture into. There are plenty of questions to ask, ranging from what are all the different types of watches available to what are the top luxury watch brands to buy to what are the best ways to buy them.
For that reason, we have compiled a comprehensive guide to buying luxury watches. This ultimate guide to buying luxury watches will cover all the basics about watches, brands, purchasing options, and servicing so that you can confidently select the best luxury watch for you.
Table of Contents
- 1. Basic Watch Anatomy
- 2. Watch Movements
- Quartz vs. Mechanical Movements
- Ebauche vs. In-House Movements
- 3. Watch Complications
- 4. Watch Types
- 5. Top Luxury Watch Brands
- Swatch Group
- Richemont Group
- Independent Watch Brands
- Top Swiss Watch Brands by Market Share
- 6. Buying Luxury Watches
- Retail Market
- Gray Market
- Secondary Market
- Watch Age: Vintage, Retro, and Current
- 7. Servicing and Maintaining Watches
- 8. Top Watch Events
- 9. Final Thoughts
Basic Watch Anatomy
These are the main components of a watch:
Hands: the long stems on the watch that sweep around the face of the watch to indicate the time. Most watches have three hands: the hour hand, the minute hand, and the seconds hand. Some watches use hands to indicate other information such as day, date, month, power reserve, and so on.
Hour markers: the markings on a watch that symbolize the hours. They can be represented in a range of styles including Arabic numerals, Roman numerals, sticks, shapes, gems, and more.
Dial: the face of the watch that has the timekeeping hands, hour markers, and any other functions like date windows.
Crystal: the piece of glass that sits on top of the dial to protect it. Most modern luxury watches have scratch-resistant sapphire crystals while vintage watches usually have acrylic crystals.
Bezel: the ring that surrounds the dial and holds down the crystal. Some watches have bezels that are strictly decorative while others have functional bezels that are marked with scales and/or rotate.
Luminescence: a glow-in-the-dark substance used on the dial or bezel of a watch to allow for readability in low light. Most modern luxury watches use a form of luminescence that requires exposure to light first before it can illuminate. Vintage watches typically used self-luminous materials that did not require prior exposure to light but were radioactive.
Movement/Caliber: the mechanism that powers and regulates the watch. Most watch movements fall into three categories: hand-wound mechanical movements, automatic mechanical movements, and quartz movements. Movements are also frequently called calibers.
Winding Crown: the little knob usually located on the right-hand side of the watch used to wind up the movement inside the watch or set the time, date, or other functions of the watch. Winding crowns can be push/pull or screw-down.
Case: the main part of the watch that houses the dial, bezel, movement, and winding crown. Watch cases can come in a range of shapes such as round, square, rectangular, cushion, and others. Watch cases can also be crafted in a wide assortment of metals like stainless steel, gold, platinum, titanium, ceramic, and more.
Caseback: the back part of the timepiece that sits on the wrist while the watch is worn and serves to protect the movement. Casebacks can be snap on/off or screw-down. Some casebacks are also fitted with a crystal to allow a view of the movement inside the watch. There are also hunter-style casebacks, which have a hinged metal cover that can be opened to see the crystal window.
Lugs: The four parts that protrude from the top and bottom of the watch case to hold the bracelet/strap.
Bracelet/Strap/Band: the component that wraps around the wrist to keep the watch case in place. Watch bracelets are often made in metal or ceramic while watch straps can be made in many different types of materials such as leather, fabric, and rubber.
Clasp or buckle: the mechanism that fastens the bracelet/strap/band around a wrist. There are many different types of bracelet clasps and buckles that range from simple tang buckles to complex deployant folding clasps fitted with extension systems.
Complication: any function that goes beyond telling the time, such as date, day, month, moon phase, chronograph, dual time zone, GMT hand, and so on. A watch that combines many complications is sometimes called a Grand Complication.
Pushers: buttons that often protrude from a watch case (sometimes they are flush with the case) that serve to activate or set different types of functions on complicated watches. For example, there are chronograph pushers, calendar pushers, moon phase pushers, dual-time pushers, and others.
Power reserve: The amount of energy a watch can store before running out of power. The power reserve of most modern luxury watches ranges from 40 hours to 10 days.
While the watch movement is hidden inside the case of a watch, it is indeed one of the most important components of a watch. The movement is not only where the watch draws its power from but it is also the mechanism that regulates all the functions of the timepiece. Watch movements, also known as calibers, can be categorized into two types: mechanical and quartz.
Mechanical movements are the oldest type of watch calibers and the power a timepiece via a wound-up mainspring. There are two types of mechanical movements: hand-wound mechanical movements and automatic mechanical movements.
The first type of mechanical movement that was invented was the hand-wound movement, also known as a manually-wound movement. A hand-wound mechanical movement requires the user to manual wind the winding crown, which in turn winds up the mainspring inside the watch. If a hand-wound movement is not regularly wound, then it will run out of power and the watch will stop working.
On the other hand, an automatic mechanical movement (which was invented after the hand-wound movement) self-winds as long as the watch is being worn. An automatic movement has a rotor, which swings back and forth with the natural motion of the wrist. The rotor serves to wind up the mainspring, which then keeps the movement running. If an automatic watch is left lying dormant, it will eventually run out of power and stop working. Watch winders are a good way to store an automatic watch as it keeps the timepiece in constant motion while it is not being worn. Most automatic watches can also be hand-wound if it has run out of power.
A quartz movement, invented after both the hand-wound and automatic mechanical movement, was heralded as a groundbreaking innovation during its time. Rather than a wound-up mainspring, a quartz movement gets its power from a battery. Therefore, quartz watches do not require a user to wind it up.
Quartz Movements vs. Mechanical Movements
Globally, quartz watches outsell mechanical watches by a considerable margin. This is because quartz movements are cheaper to buy, faster to make, more practical to wear, and are more accurate than mechanical movements. However, when it comes to luxury watches, mechanical watches are far more valued, coveted, and respected than quartz movements. Mechanical movements are comprised of hundreds of tiny components that work together to make a timepiece work and watch enthusiasts are enamored with these mini mechanical marvels.
The quickest way to differentiate between a quartz watch and a mechanical watch is to look at how the seconds hand travels around the dial. The seconds hand on quartz watches jumps to its next position once every second, usually accompanied by a loud “tick” sound. Conversely, the seconds hand on mechanical watches moves anywhere from five to ten times a second, therefore it looks like it sweeps around the dial.
Ebauche vs. In-House Movements
Some watchmaking brands make movements entirely in-house, from development to execution. However, the more common practice is to take an ébauche, which is a movement base, and then modify it as per the brand’s requirements. Modifications can range from decoration to adding modules for additional functionality to altering movement specs to meet specific accuracy and/or precision requirements.
In today’s market, more and more customers expect luxury watch brands to develop in-house calibers (also known as manufacture movement) rather than fitting watches with modified ébauches. However, it is important to remember that the Swiss watch industry was built upon a system of workshops specialized in certain skills—such as movement makers, case makers, dial makers, bracelet makers, and so on—which would then supply big brand names with watch components. There is nothing inherently wrong with modified ébauche movements—this is an age-old tradition—but there is a growing trend today towards in-house movements with more and more brands building (or buying) state-of-the-art movement making facilities.
A chronometer (not to be mistaken with a chronograph) is a timepiece that has been tested and certified to meet specific precision and accuracy standards. Modern-day chronometers have roots in the marine chronometer, which was invented for navigational purposes.
In Switzerland, a Swiss-made watch can only be labeled as a chronometer if it has been certified by Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC). Both mechanical and quartz movements can be COSC-certified chronometers. COSC biggest customers include Rolex, Omega, and Breitling.
In watch-speak, a complication is any function that goes beyond telling the time. These can range from a simple date window to highly complex mechanical functions. Here is an explanation of some of the most popular watch complications found in modern luxury watches. Sometimes, watchmakers use the French words for the complications, which you will find in parenthesis.
Alarm (Reveil): a complication that makes a sound at a pre-determined time.
AM/PM Indicator: an indicator that shows whether it is A.M. or P.M. hours. Also referred to as a Day/Night Indicator.
Annual Calendar (Quantième Annuel): a complication that automatically adjusts to correctly indicate the time, day, date, month, leap year, and often, phases of the moon. An annual calendar only needs one manual adjustment a year, when February turns into March.
Calendar: a complication that indicates any or all of the following: date, day, week, or year.
Chronograph: a complication that can measure elapsed time, also known as a stopwatch. Chronograph watches typically have two pushers to start, stop, and reset the chronograph hand. A flyback chronograph features a chronograph hand that can be reset without the need to stop it first. A spilt-seconds chronograph (rattrapante) can measure two intervals that have the same start time but different end times.
Day: a complication that indicates the day of the week via text displayed through a window. A quickset day complication means that the day can be set independently from the timekeeping hands. A non-quickset day complication means that the user must continuously move the timekeeping hands around the dial past midnight to change the day.
Date: a complication that indicates the date of the month either via a number displayed through a window or via a hand pointing to a number. A quickset date means that the date complication can be set independently from the timekeeping hands. A non-quickset date means that the user must continuously move the timekeeping hands around the dial past midnight to change the date.
Day-Date: a complication that displays both the day of the week and the date of the month.
Dual Time: a complication that displays two different time zones. The second time zone is usually indicated via an additional hour hand (that typically completes one cycle every 24 hours rather than every 12 hours) referred to as a GMT-hand, a 24-hour hand, or a UTC hand. Dual time watches are frequently also called GMT watches.
Equation of Time: a complication that displays the discrepancy between mean solar time and true (apparent) solar time.
Grand Complication: the combination of several highly-complex complications in one watch.
Grande Sonnerie: a complication that combines quarter striking and minute repeater complications. At every quarter-hour, the watch sounds the hours and quarters on two gongs. It can also strike the hours on demand via a pusher on the watch case.
Minute Repeater: a complication that sounds the time on demand using bells or gongs. The minute repeater complication was invented so users could know the time in the dark before electricity was invented.
Moon phase: a complication that displays the phases of the moon as seen in the sky.
Perpetual Calendar (Quantième Perpetual): a complication that automatically adjusts to correctly indicate the time, day, date, month, leap year, and often, phases of the moon. The only time a perpetual calendar will need manual adjusting is in the year 2100 when the leap year will be ignored.
Power Reserve Indicator (Réserve de Marche): a complication that indicates how much power is left in the movement.
Retrograde: a complication that displays a function via a hand that moves over an arc then jumps back to the starting position rather than completing a full circle. A retrograde display can be used for hours, minutes, seconds, or calendar functions.
Sun/Moon Indicator: a complication that displays the phases of the sun and moon as seen in the sky.
Tourbillon: a mechanism invented to offset the effects of gravity (if the timepiece is kept in one position for a long time) on timekeeping precision by keeping parts of the movement in constant rotation within a cage. A tourbillon typically makes one full rotation every minute and is often prominently displayed on the dial. A tourbillon is not technically a complication because it does not offer an additional function above telling the time, but it is often (erroneously) classified as one.
World Timer: a complication that displays 24 time zones. The time zones are typically represented by the world’s major cities.
Watches can come in a range of styles, from dressy to sporty, casual to opulent, simple to complicated. While watches are mostly worn today as a personal style statement, most watch types were actually born as a practical tool to serve a specific function. Many of these types of watches still exist today despite the fact that they may not be used in any practical sort of way (aside from telling the time). Consumers fundamentally buy them because of great design and style. Here are some of the most popular watch types in today’s luxury watch market.
Dive watch: a watch for scuba divers to keep track of how long they have been underwater for. To be considered a true dive watch, today’s versions have to be in accordance with the ISO 6425 standard. The standard stipulates that the watch must be water resistant to a minimum of 100 meters, it must be equipped with a unidirectional rotating bezel to track immersion times, and it must be legible in low light providing an indication that the watch is running in complete darkness. Along with standard dive watches, many watch brands also offer professional saturation dive watches, with incredibly high water resistance ratings and Helium Escape Valves (HEV). HEVs allow watches to release any built-up gasses (which can accumulate in pressurized environments frequented by sat divers) to prevent pressure damage to the watch (such as the crystal popping off) when ascending back to the surface.
Aviation watch: a watch for pilots to use while in flight. Many aviation watches today have roots in military aviation watches from World War II, when different air forces around the world needed timepieces built to exacting standards for their military airmen. For instance, there was the British Royal Air Force “Wrist Watch Waterproof” pieces, the German Luftwaffe B-Uhren watches, and the American A-11 watches. These types of military aviation watches are characterized by dark dials, clear markings for hours and minutes, and large hands. In the second half of the 20th Century, more complex aviation watches were developed to help pilots compute complex navigation calculations.
Field watch: a simple yet rugged watch that has its roots in military “trench watches” from World War I. At the turn of the 20th Century, it was still customary for men to carry pocket watches and wristwatches were considered feminine. However, during wartime, it was much more practical for soldiers to wear their timekeeping instruments on their wrists rather than keep them buried in pockets. These watches had to be easy to read yet durable enough to withstand harsh environments. Modern field watches are characterized by simple and easy to read dials with plenty of lume and oversized details encased in tough knock-resistant cases.
Travel watch: a watch that allows travelers (or anyone really) to keep track of multiple zone zones. There are dual time watches and GMT watches that allow users to read two time zones simultaneously and world time watches that can display 24 time zones represented by the world’s major cities.
Racing watch: a chronograph watch that can measure how fast a car, a person, boat, or any other entity moves in a race. To measure elapsed times, a chronograph watch includes a stopwatch function typically controlled by two pushers on the case that can start, stop, and reset the chronograph hand. Chronograph watches also often have a tachymeter scale—either on the bezel or on the dial—which allows the user to calculate speed and distance. Chronograph watches are mostly associated with motorsports, but there are also yachting racing chronographs, and the first chronograph was invented to measure horse races.
Dress watch: a watch suited to more formal attire such as a suit or tuxedo. While “dress watches” is a broad category that can include so many different styles, more often than not, luxury dress watches have simple dials, precious metal cases that are slim to fit under shirt cuffs, and elegant leather straps.
Everyday watch: a watch that can be worn essentially every day to suit a range of outfits and environments. Again, “everyday watch” is a very broad category that can include a wide assortment of watches. But, within the luxury watch space, that term is usually given to stainless steel watches—usually fitted with steel bracelets—with time and date dials and a construction that can withstand daily wear and tear.
Complicated watch: a watch with several complications such as date, day, month, year, moon phase, chronographs, minute repeaters, dual times, power reserve indicators, and so on. Some watch brands call watches with many complex complications “Grand Complication” watches. The more complicated a mechanical watch is, usually the more expensive it is due to the skill and time required to build it.
Gem-set watch: a watch set with diamonds and other precious gems. Almost any part of the watch can be set with gems, such as the dial, case, bezel, and bracelet.
Top Luxury Watch Brands
The luxury watch industry is filled with different brands, sometimes also known as manufactures, each offering their own take on top-tier timepieces. Most of the best luxury watch brands come from Switzerland, although Germany has a well-established horology industry too. These days, the luxury watch landscape is dominated by a handful of large groups and a few notable independent, yet powerful, watch brands.
The Swatch Group has plenty of watch brands to its name ranging from entry-level to high-end. The following are the luxury watch brands that fall under the Swatch Group umbrella.
- Glashütte Original
- Harry Winston
- Jaquet Droz
- Léon Hatot
The Richemont Group focuses its efforts on more high-end watch brands rather than lower-priced watches. The following watch brands belong to the Richemont Group:
- A. Lange & Söhne
- Baume & Mercier
- Officine Panerai
- Roger Dubuis
- Vacheron Constantin
- Van Cleef & ArpelLVMH
LVMH is a French multinational luxury goods conglomerate with some exclusive watch brands under its ownership. The high-end watches of LVMH include:
- TAG Heuer
- Louis Vuitton
- Ulysse Nardin
Kering is another luxury goods conglomerate with a few high-end watch brands to its name:
- Girard Perregaux
- Ulysse Nardin
Independent Watch Brands
Some of the leading luxury watch brands today still remain as independent entities:
- Audemars Piguet
- Rolex (also owns Tudor)
- Patek Phillipe
- Richard Mille
Breitling used to be part of this list, but private equity firm, CVC Capital Partners, recently purchased the brand.
Top Swiss Watch Brands By Market Share
In 2019, Morgan Stanley and LuxeConsult published a report about the Swiss watch market, which gives us some insight into what are the world’s most popular timepiece brands right now. There are some 350 in the Swiss watch market and four conglomerates dominate the market: Swatch Group, Rolex, Richemont Group, and LVMH. These four companies account for 75% of market share.
Of the CHF51.8 billion in retail sales of Swiss watches made in 2018, 28.6% went to the Swatch Group, making it the world’s leading luxury watch conglomerate. However, in terms turnover by brand, Rolex (without Tudor) led the pack in 2018 with over CHF5 billion, followed by Omega with over CHF 2.3 billion, Cartier with over CHF1.66 billion, Longines with over CHF1.65 billion, and Patek Philippe with over CHF1.35 billion. Audemars Piguet made the billionaire’s club in 2018 with a turnover of over CHF1 billion.
Buying Luxury Watches
In today’s market, consumers have a wide range of choices when it comes to how and where to buy luxury watches. We can categorize them into three main segments: retail market, gray market, and secondary market.
The retail market for luxury watches is the main segment where to buy brand new timepieces at full prices. The retail market for luxury watches is comprised of mono-brand boutiques and multi-brand stores. Some stores are operated by the watch brands themselves while others are run by authorized retailers and/or distributors.
The retail market was once exclusively focused on brick-and-mortar distribution, however, with the advent of the Internet, we are now seeing more and more brands selling their timepieces online in highly controlled channels.
The gray market (or grey market) for luxury watches is comprised of non-authorized retailers that sell new/unused watches at heavily discounted prices.
Although gray market dealers are not part of the authorized retail chain, they manage to purchase large amounts of goods (usually slow-selling stock) either from authorized retailers or the brands themselves (in an unofficial capacity). However, buying a new watch from a gray market dealer usually voids the manufacturer’s warranty. Therefore, if there are any issues with the watch, the buyer is responsible for paying for repairs that would otherwise fall within warranty coverage. Some gray market dealers offer their own limited warranties too. These days, online is the preferred method for gray market dealers to sell their wares.
The secondary market for luxury watches has witnessed an incredible boom over the last decade thanks to the Internet, a growing watch enthusiast culture, and changing consumer patterns. Depending on the report, estimates for the global market for second-hand watches range from $5 billion to well over $10 billion. What’s more, it is estimated that the secondary market for luxury watches is growing at about 5% per year.
The advantages of buying luxury watches pre-owned are plentiful. First, there is the reduction in prices; shoppers can save up to 70% when purchasing a used watch versus getting a brand new one. Hand in hand with this is that buying from the secondary market offsets the depreciation hit that is standard when purchasing a new watch from the retail market. Furthermore, retail stores do not generally sell discontinued or vintage timepieces; therefore, the secondary market is where collectors can find specific watches that are no longer in production.
Similarly, authorized retailers are only permitted to sell watches that they have distribution rights for, which can limit choices in terms of brand selection. Conversely, the secondary market is not bound by any agreements with manufactures. As a result, pre-owned watch dealers can stock a wide range of brands. Moreover, many authorized retailers are forbidden by the brands they represent to sell watches online while pre-owned watch sellers do most of their business via e-commerce. The ability to sell online is of course much more convenient for shoppers who can browse, buy, and receive watches with just a few clicks right from the comfort of their own homes. Those interested in fine timepieces are no longer restricted to buying current models from boutiques in their areas. They can now choose from a massive selection of top tier watches from just about any brand and era within the secondary market.
Savvy shoppers are now well aware of the advantages of buying luxury watches from the pre-owned market. They are quick to understand that luxury watches are built to last a lifetime and are happy to purchase a pre-owned watch at discounted prices.
The growth of the secondary market is also driven by a flourishing vintage watch market where collectors and investors buy and sell highly coveted and rare timepieces. There have been many headline-making sales in the vintage watch market over the last few years with pieces selling for millions of dollars. This type of return on investment has naturally attracted more people to partake in the vintage watch market. However, like any type of investing, there is never a guarantee on which watches will end up making a profit in the long run.
The secondary market is continuously evolving with the advent of different types of watch dealers. The main types of secondary market dealers include companies specialized in pre-owned luxury watches, auction houses, online platforms that connect buyers and sellers of pre-owned watches, authorized retailers that also have a pre-owned watch division, and media outlets with e-commerce channels. We are also witnessing some watch manufactures experimenting with buying and selling pre-owned merchandise from their own brands.
Watch Age: Vintage, Retro, and Current
Whether a watch is vintage, retro, or current can have an impact on its value and popularity. In general, a watch is considered vintage if it is more than 30 years old. Rolex and Patek Philippe are two of the leading watch brands in the vintage market. It is not uncommon to see popular vintage Patek and Rolex watches sell for six to seven figures. However, it is important to remember that factors like condition, provenance, and current demand have the greatest impact on a vintage watch’s value.
A retro and/or discontinued watch is one that is less than 30 years old and is no longer in production. Retro/discontinued watches represent some of the best value in the secondary market since they do not carry that coveted vintage label yet and they are not brand new models. Some speculators in the secondary market for luxury watches often opt for a discontinued model in hopes that it will become a future collectible classic.
Current watches are those models that are part of the brand’s existing catalog and are presently in production. In some cases, current watches are so popular that they are almost impossible to find at suggested retail prices in authorized boutiques. Some watches even have waitlists that are years long. These types of in-demand luxury watch models frequently end up for sale in the gray or secondary market at prices well above MSRP.
Servicing and Maintaining Watches
While high-end watch brands promise that their timepieces will last several generations, this is typically only possible with regular servicing and maintenance. Most modern watch brands recommend that their watches be serviced anywhere from two to five years for optimal performance. Older watches or watches that are subjected to harsh environments may require more regular servicing.
A typical watch service involves the watchmaker first taking apart the watch and removing the movement from the case. The movement is disassembled, cleaned, and any broken or worn-out parts are replaced. The movement is then reassembled and lubricated as needed. The exterior of the watch is clean and polished, and broken and/or worn-out components are repaired or replaced. Once the watch is put back together, it is then tested for water resistance and timekeeping precision.
Owners of luxury watches can choose to service their watches at authorized service centers or independent watch repair centers. The first option is usually more expensive and can sometimes can longer if the watches are sent to Switzerland for repairs. However, some consumers like the assurance that their watches were maintained and/or repaired by the brand that made the watch. More and more luxury watch owners are choosing to send their watches to certified independent watchmakers and service centers due to lower prices and faster turnaround times.
Regardless of where you decide to send your watch for servicing, it is always a good idea to have a regular maintenance schedule for your watches to keep everything in great working order.
Top Watch Events
The luxury watch industry counts a handful of very important events in its calendar.
Salon International de la Haute Horlogerie Genève (SIHH): the first big watch trade show of the year, led by the Richemont Group. Held in Geneva, Switzerland, every year, SIHH is where Richemont Group brands and other select top-tier watch brands present their new watch models. Historically, SIHH took place in January, but as of 2020, it will now take place in spring.
Baselworld: The largest watch trade show of the industry, Baselworld takes place annually in Basel, Switzerland during spring. Baselworld is where all types of watch brands (from entry-level to high-end) present their novelties for the year. Once considered untouchable, Baselworld is now in the midst of turmoil with an increasing number of big watch brands dropping out of the fair. Swatch Group has left the show but the likes of Rolex, Patek Philippe, and LVMH still remain for now.
Watches & Wonder Miami: a new event organized by the Fondation Haute Horlogerie (FHH), Watches & Wonder Miami has seen two editions so far. Taking place in the Miami Design District in February, Watches & Wonder Miami is an event where around 30 high-end watch brands (from Richemont Group, LVMH, Swatch Group, and other independents) showcase their novelties to the American market.
Dubai Watch Week: Another relatively new luxury watch event, Dubai Watch Week will see its fourth edition happen in November 2019. Hosted in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Dubai Watch Week welcomes visitors from the Middle East region (and globally) to see new timepieces and participate in watch workshops and panels.
Only Watch: a charity watch auction under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco that takes place every two years to benefit research on Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Some of the world’s leading watch brands donate one-of-a-kind watches for auction.
Grand Prix d'Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG): an annual awards ceremony that takes place in November in Geneva, Switzerland. It is important to note that brands have to choose to submit their watches for consideration. Watches are given awards across a wide range of categories and the big prize of the night is the “Aiguille D'Or” given to the best watch of the year.
As we have illustrated, the luxury watch market is an expansive one, encompassing many brands, products, and channels. It is also an old industry that has had to evolve over the centuries to meet current market conditions. There have been tumultuous points throughout the history of fine timepieces where many thought it was the end of the line for mechanical watches.
However, this is certainly not the case. Yes, there are options for cheaper quartz watches, high-tech smart watches, and a plethora of electronic devices that can essentially tell you the same thing a wristwatch can. Yet, traditional mechanical watches persist because, while more practical options exist, nothing comes close to the beauty and craftsmanship they offer.
There is something to be said for these mini mechanical marvels that can live on your wrist for decades, only to be passed on to another person for them to enjoy. High-end mechanical timepieces emphasize that not everything should have to be plugged in, charged, updated, or become obsolete. Opting for a luxury watch is demonstrating a respect for traditional artistry, master workmanship, and intricate technique that takes years to learn.
In a fast-paced world where more and more products are essentially disposable, luxury watches stand out to remind us that great things not only take longer to craft but they are done so in a way that they can be appreciated for a lifetime.