Why are these 5 luxury watches so desirable?


by Nils Rau

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August 23. 2019 - by Nils Rau

Whether a watch costs £1000 or £100,000, both will tell you the time. The lure of a luxury watch lies elsewhere. There are many components that make an expensive watch something special which include elements such as decades of craftsmanship, history and the high-quality materials used. But what is it exactly about a finely crafted Patek Philippe Nautilus or Rolex Day Date that justifies the price tag that’s attached to it? We’re here to tell you exactly what you’re paying for.


The price of a luxury watch: craftsmanship, material, story

Luxury watches are quality products - and quality has its price. The large manufacturers have perfected the extremely demanding discipline of mechanical timekeeping over the course of many decades and work at an almost unattainably high level. Only a few watchmakers are capable of constructing a sophisticated complication, such as a perpetual calendar or tourbillon. If a watch manufacturer can do this, it requires years of research and development. A perpetual calendar, for example, often has several hundred individual parts.

Those who buy Haute Horlogerie get the very best of in-house production. Even those parts of the movement that cannot be seen by the naked eye are often processed and finished by hand. Manufacturers such as Patek Philippe also offer rare crafts such as marquetry, guilloché or enamelling. The uncompromising quality of the luxury manufacturers is also evident in other components such as cases and bracelets: If you look at the sophisticated cuts of an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, you will quickly notice how high the manufacturing quality is.

Looking beyond the material

When you spend your hard earned money on something, you’re naturally looking for the finest material. But when it comes to luxury watches, you’re also making an investment for the future. What does that mean exactly? Many luxury brands produce watches that retain or increase in value over time, if you look at the majority of watch auctions that sell luxury brands, you’ll find the figures to go beyond 6 figures making some timepieces to be better than equity funds. Additionally, producing a limited number of pieces adds the element of rarity and exclusivity, thus increasing the demand. Having a beautifully made fine watch at a tangible distance is definitely more remarkable than having those funds in your bank account.

A special watch for a special occasion

Be it the intricate mechanisms, exquisite motifs, innovative complications or simply the heritage and history associated with the brand: the authority in luxury watches is exactly what makes them so desirable. Combining these elements with their ability to hold and increase in value, makes a fine timepiece an impeccable gift for a loved one or a deserving reward to commemorate all the great milestones you have achieved in your life. 

That being said, one doesn’t always require a momentous occasion to fulfil their heart’s desire. Fine craftsmanship requires no special day to be celebrated - so your desire to own a luxury watch shouldn’t be delayed. The sooner you fulfil this dream, the longer you can enjoy the pleasure that an immaculate watch can provide. 

1. Breguet Classique Complications Tourbillon Ltd.

Breguet is one of the most traditional and for today's watchmaking most important manufacturers. Abraham-Louis Breguet founded the company in 1775; the world's oldest watch brand, Blancpain, was founded just 40 years earlier. Breguet was the birthplace of many pioneering inventions, including the parachute shock absorber for the balance staff, the Breguet hairspring and the tourbillon, for which Breguet is just as famous as the legendary "Breguet numerals" and Pomme hands, the guilloché dials and the fluted cases. 

The Breguet Classique Complications Tourbillon Ltd. has all these latter characteristics. The white gold watch has a manually guilloché hinged cover, which shows the actual dial through a slot which can be opened by pressing the crown. When the lid is open, it reveals the tourbillon positioned at six o'clock, where the construction is the most demanding disciplines in watchmaking. 

Shop now:Breguet Classique Complications Tourbillon Ltd.

2. Richard Mille RM 010

Richard Mille offers something that only a few watch manufacturers offer: Modern, forward-looking watchmaking artistry. Founded in 1999 in Le Breleux (Switzerland), the Manufacturer is renowned for its distinctive watches with tonneau-shaped cases and skeleton dials that, despite their unique character, are known only to connoisseurs. The brand's exclusivity becomes all the clearer when you consider that Richard Mille produces fewer than 5,000 watches a year.

The RM 010 is a classic eccentric and therefore something special for every day. The 40 millimetre pink gold three-hand watch features the well-known Richard Mille typography and a black rubber strap. The date display is at seven o'clock. The RMAS7 caliber, whose plate and bridges are made of titanium (grade 5), can be seen from both the front and rear.

Richard Mille's aim is to perfect the art of watchmaking, to offer a three-dimensional watch architecture and to convince with handmade finishes. The RM 010 combines all these attributes.

Shop now: Richard Mille RM 010

3. Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time

In the hierarchy of the art of watchmaking, Patek Philippe is definitely up there and for many watch lovers the crowning glory of their watch career. The traditional Geneva watchmaker is one of the last independent family businesses in the watch world dominated by luxury groups. Patek Philippe can look back on an unprecedented history dating back to 1839. Despite the steel watch hype, the company continues to concentrate on its core identity with classic precious metal dress watches.

The Patek Philippe Aquanaut is one of their sports models alongside the Nautilus. The Aquanaut Travel Time combines sportiness, elegance, robustness and understatement with a GMT function that is perfect for frequent travellers and jet-setters: the pushers on the left-hand side of the case allow the second hour hand to be moved one hour forwards or backwards for the travel time. If required, it can also be hidden behind the main hour hand for home time. Day-night indicators also indicate whether the hours are day or night. 

Shop now: Patek Philippe Aquanaut Travel Time

4. Rolex Day-Date 40

No question: Rolex is the flagship of the watch industry. No other company is as renowned for the durability of its models and uncompromising robustness as Switzerland's most valuable watch brand.

If you are looking for something really special with the number of around one million watches per year, you will quickly end up on the Day-Date - the crowning glory of the collection. Since its production start in 1956, the watch has been produced exclusively in gold or platinum and is known for its viewing window with the announced weekday at twelve o'clock. The Day-Date owes its nickname "presidental watch" to several US presidents who wore the watch.

In 2015, Rolex launched the 40 millimetre Day-Date 40, which adds a contemporary diameter to the classic Day-Date with its 36 millimetres while maintaining perfect proportions. Ref. 228235 with its ribbed bezel and presidential ribbon is the classic Day-Date version. The new diameter and the 18-carat Everose gold give the Day-Date a modern and individual character.

Shop now: Rolex Day-Date 40

5. Patek Philippe Nautilus

The Nautilus is one of the greatest icons in the watch world and the most coveted model made by Patek Philippe. The current reference 5711 has been on the market since 2006. Anyone who has ever had the Nautilus on their wrist will quickly understand why it is so coveted: the extremely flat design nestles up to the wrist as if by itself, the complex case construction is captivating, and the sophisticated dial changes depending on the incidence of light. The caliber 26-330 S C has the same intricate production process as the Grandes Complicationes. It can be worn with both a suit and the T-shirt and, thanks to its water resistance of 120 metres, is a reliable companion in (almost) every situation. 

The Patek 5711/1R-011 is made of 18-carat rose gold and has a brown dial. This Nautilus is not only the perfect summer watch, but also the perfect reward for exceptional milestones - at any time of year.

Shop now: Patek Philippe Nautilus
Nils Rau

by Nils Rau

Nils is a guest author for the CHRONEXT Journal. He currently dedicates most of his free time to wristwatches – be that talking with friends, browsing through blogs and online magazines, or keeping an eye on the timepiece stock exchange. When he is not contributing to the CHRONEXT Journal, he works as a junior lawyer in Northern Germany. His articles focus on brands, trends, as well as the philosophical questions within the world of fine watches.

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