If you’re a James Bond fan, you know all about his iconic “time-checking” gesture. If you paid close enough attention, you also saw that there was something regal about the timepieces 007 wore. Only Omega Seamasters, Rolex Submariners and GMT Masters, and Breitling Top Times were stylish and functional enough for the world’s most famous superspy.ss
Indeed, there is a long history of watchmakers designing special pieces for militaries, divers, pilots, astronauts, and scientists. However, you don’t have to be James Bond, Jacque Cousteau, or Neil Armstrong to have an appreciation for great wristwatches. So, what does it take to be a collector of luxury watches? Continue reading to learn some of the most important things to know about collecting expensive watches.
If you ask someone who doesn’t know much about watches which watchmaker is the best in the world, you might unanimously hear Rolex. While you’ll never hear a true watch aficionado say it isn’t one of the preeminent watchmakers the world over, there are plenty of other great brands.
If you want to see some of the most beautiful watches you’ve ever laid eyes on, you need only shop Jaeger Lecoultre, A. Lange & Söhne, or Panerai. Some experts say no accrual of wristwatches is complete without a Longines Master Collection Moon Phase watch. The point is that once you begin exploring the wide world of watches, you’ll find out it’s much bigger than the “Rollie” you’ve always dreamed of owning.
One of the keys to building your watch collection is to find your niche—this will give your collection purpose. The great thing about finding your niche as a collector is you get to learn a lot about the history and construction of wristwatches. It’s easy to watch music videos and think gem-set watches are the cream of the crop, but there’s much more to great timepieces than meets the eye.
Some of the most valuable and highly sought timepieces are made of stainless steel or titanium. You might see an IWC with a nylon strap that costs more than a gold watch with a leather strap. The more you learn about watches, the more you’ll learn about what makes watchmakers and collectors tick. You’ll also learn what makes an iconic watch, such as complicated movements, dial aesthetics, bracelet materials, and more.
Furthermore, your research should help you find your niche as a collector. Are you more into dress watches, divers, pilot watches, or sport watches? Do you prefer a particular brand, or do you favor a certain era? Answering these questions will give you an idea of how you should start building your collection.
Luxury watches typically cost thousands of dollars, which is why the community of collectors is small and tight-knit. Even though these timepieces are a large investment, you shouldn’t relegate them to display cases. Furthermore, like many luxury items, watches don’t always appreciate value. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with having an investment piece or two, but half of the joy of collecting is finding pieces that fit your style, whether at work or in leisure.
You’re buying much more than merely parts and labor when you purchase a luxury watch. Indeed, you’re getting a fine work of craftsmanship, but you’re also getting the history, legacy, and community that come with each unique timepiece. Collecting luxury watches is a journey of discovery, all its own.
The first thing you should do before investing in an expensive watch is research extensively to find your niche or favorite watchmaker. It’s also a good idea to start with simple pieces and work your way up to more complex pieces with numerous complications. Additionally, remember that watches are for wearing and trophies are for show. Finally, find a community of collectors who share your passion for beautiful timepieces so you can learn and grow your collection with others.