“The right time to start buying luxury watches is when you start realising some success,” says John, a banker and watch collector on a watch collector’s blog. Let’s say you are making $2000 a month and decide to start investing in your future early. You choose to buy the Rolex Submariner for $8000, which is the average price of a low-end watch.
The math is simple – 4 times your monthly salary.
Alternatively, you could buy in the used or vintage Rolex market and choose, say, a $2000 watch at one time your monthly salary. The future return will be lower but so is the risk. The Guide to Buying Your First Rolex can help you navigate both the new and vintage Rolex markets, as well as other luxury watch items.
Buy Something You Like
It sounds obvious, I know, but there’s nothing sadder than hearing someone lament an impulse buy they later come to regret – a herpes watch. Scrutinise your purchase aesthetically. If you like the case shape, but the date window irks you, don’t buy it.
If you’re going to spend a decent amount of money on a watch, you’ll need to love it, because any slight hesitations will creep up on you with time. There are so many watches out there, why spend on something you aren’t into 100 per cent?
Buy What You Can Afford
I know this makes me sound like a man who irons creases into the front of his trousers, but seriously, don’t get lumbered with a ball-and-chain watch. Remember that most watches are not an investment and are worth considerably less than you paid for them the moment you pay for them, and that you can still buy excellent mechanicals for a few hundred quid.
I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve told a friend to forget the dream of an IWC for now, and to buy a Hamilton Khaki or an Oris ProPilot instead. They’ve never regretted taking my advice.The other thing to remember is that at some point a few years down the line, your mechanical watch, and I assume you’re buying mechanical, is going to need a service that will cost you at least several hundred pounds. Forget to factor that in, and you’ll get a nasty surprise when your watch slows down and a man with colour-coded biros in his top pocket tells you that you have to pay him to make it work properly again.
INVESTING IN A LUXURY WATCH
Ideally you can find a watch that is versatile enough for just about any outfit or situation, similar to the Montblanc Timewalker that I’ve been wearing on the site for years. I suggest looking for something that is minimal and classic. Something that won’t clash with your outfits and something that you won’t get sick of looking at every day. Think about a neutral colored face that is easy to read with limited complications (or “functions” like sport timers and chronographs), one simple crown (the dial you use to change the time), and a sharp metal or leather (or crocodile) band that you can replace with other straps (like grosgrain for the summer, suede for the Fall, etc). It felt like a lot of money when I first bought my watch, but five years later I’m still wearing it almost every day – that’s a good investment in my mind.
There are three basic ways that watches tell time:
“Digital watches are powered by an ultra-small watch battery (the kind you usually see by the checkout counter in electronic stores).
Quartz watches are analog timepieces that run on a tiny, vibrating, electrified quartz crystal. They keep extremely accurate time (within a minute each year).
Finally, mechanical watches are powered by a complex array of gears and springs. These watches can command a hefty price as a result of their superior craftsmanship. Unfortunately, the ancient art of hand-wound watchmaking remains imperfect. Mechanical watches lose about an hour a year and must be wound regularly… The name of the luxury watch game is having the best possible mechanical movement. Why? This is not an easy question to answer, to be honest, because quartz watches are actually more reliable and accurate, for the most part. Still, a mechanical watch movement never needs a battery, represents the classic way of making watches, and offers a certain emotional value that the “tick, tick, ticking” of a quartz watch simply cannot offer.”
“First, watches should not be thought of as financial investments. While it is possible to purchase watches that will retain or even possibly increase in value… those instances are the exception and not the rule. Timepieces are like cars, and in most instances they depreciate after you buy them. The amount of depreciation depends on a huge number of factors, and the best way to know how much a specific watch may depreciation is to look for pre-owned ones online and see what they are selling for versus the new ones. If a watch is priced at within 20% of its retail price when lightly used, we’d say that it holds value pretty well… Get a steel Rolex sports watch and you’ll know the meaning of how a watch can retain value.”
BUYING WITH TRUST
“You must trust the person you are buying your watch from. That is crucial. No matter if it is from a large department store, small dealer, or individual person selling a pre-owned watch, you need to trust them. We are talking not only about high-value goods, but also about items that can be very costly to repair. Getting a broken watch is a hassle you don’t want to deal with. So in the event you get a damaged or defective timepiece you need to trust that the retailer or seller will fix the problem either by repairing the watch or by returning your money… Trust means that the seller will do the right thing if there is a problem, and that you are getting a real watch.
This leads into something called the gray market where people sell new watches outside of the authorized dealer work. New or newer watches can be had for discounts. Sometimes great discounts. However, buying this way is not with out risks and buyers who are new to this should stick to more traditional sales channels. Deals too good to be true often are but modest discounts even at authorized dealers aren’t totally uncommon. The best way to get the best price is to approach a respected dealer and have a real intent to buy. Ask for their best price and that if you are satisfied you’ll buy then and now. ”
“Watch brands don’t like it when we suggest non-official ways to buy watches, but it only takes a mere Google search to determine that many watches are available online at prices under their standard retail price. It is a good idea to also know how much discounting is going on. Steep discounting can mean that a watch isn’t in demand, that it is no longer in production, or that there is a very high availability of inventory. That doesn’t mean it is a bad watch, but it is good information to know. Buying from brand boutiques or authorized third-party retailers is probably the safest way to get a watch, but it certainly isn’t the only way.
The point is, for the money, I can get a luxury Swiss watch I can wear every day, another for when I need something sturdier, and something dressy that will impress my father-in-law. And from three brands with unquestionable pedigree. Yes. I think I’d do that.
The money that people spend purchasing luxury watches and the amount of time that is spent researching the best watch could be invested into so many other things! But the people that think this just don’t get it. Luxury watches are not just some item that people spend thousands of dollars on. It is also a passion. I love to travel and to attend sporting events, so I understand how people think that experiences like that are much more important than spending the time and money on luxury watches. But here is the thing: those experiences will only last a short time and you are the only person that gets to experience it. Sure, you can tell the stories for years to come. But that is all they will ever be: stories. No one else will appreciate the stories of your travels as much as you do.
A luxury watch is different. Something that costs this much money to buy and this much time to create is sure to last for a very long time. Instead of passing down stories to your grandchildren, you can pass down a physical item that comes with its own stories. This timepiece went with you on your world travels and was there to see that incredible play at the sporting event you attended. It was with you every time you drove that luxury car. But is has lived longer than all of those things. A luxury car is extremely enjoyable to drive. But after a few years, it will begin to decrease in performance and you will eventually have to get rid of it. Luxury watches are made to last several generations. They are also something that can be enjoyed by many people, not just the owner. Luxury watches are a subtle way to show off your success and to show that you value things that will be around for a long time.