From one generation to the next: A guide to keeping classic watches in the family



April 12. 2017 - by CHRONEXT

In the world of luxury watches, it is not an uncommon practice to purchase a timepiece with the hopes of passing it on one day. The renowned Swiss manufacturer Patek Philippe suggests that one never simply owns a Patek Philippe timepiece but looks after it for the next generation. This could not be more true in the world of fine timepieces. In celebration of family and the Easter holidays, we present you with the charming idea of passing down watches through generations and why they make the perfect heirloom.

Fine timepieces: A nod to tradition and timeless artistry

In a time of smartphones and countless digital gadgets, a luxury watch is not a crucial companion in everyday life. Individuals choose to sport luxury watches even though they are by no means necessary. Perhaps this is due to the fact that these watches are finely crafted masterpieces that will last longer than a lifetime. They represent a long lineage of handcrafted ingenuity and will retain their quality and functionality for years down the line. While our world accelerates at an ever faster pace and presents goods that will become obsolete in increasingly shorter periods of time, individuals long for balance: be it in a vintage car or a luxury watch, both of which need additional care in order to wear or use on a daily basis.

Fine timepieces indeed bring balance in an everyday hectic life. As contrary to most other objects, we can wear our luxury watches in most all situations and create positive correlations as we grow and make new experiences. A simple glance at our wrists can remind us to switch gears and take a deep breath. The continual omnipresence of these practical tools along with their practical use make them the perfect heirloom.

Mechanical timepieces are guaranteed to last longer

Mechanical watches have a very long lifespan and assuming that the fine timepieces are properly serviced every now and then, the models will exceed their average life expectancy without any problems. The absence of all short-lived technologies allows almost any repair to be completed on a mechanical watch. Not at all surprising, it is not difficult to find pocket watches from the early 19th century – an era in which wristwatches did not yet exist. So if you are thinking of gifting a luxury mechanical timepiece that you purchase today, there should be no doubt that it will function reliably for two, three, or four generations down the road – so long as you ensure that the timepiece undergoes revision every three, five, or seven years depending on the model.

To pass on an old watch or to purchase a brand new one?

Those of us who already possess a mechanical timepiece heirloom can be content in knowing that we can easily continue the precious family tradition. The more generations the watch has been passed down to, the more symbolic value it holds.

For those of us who are considering purchasing a brand new watch in order to eventually pass down the generations, there are some factors to consider. For example, watches that correspond to a certain trend should rarely be considered as investment watches.  Exceptions can however be made from manufacturers including Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, or Patek Philippe. Specifically, models such as the Patek Philippe Calatrava, Cartier Calibre De Cartier Chronograph or the Audemars Piguet Dual Time vintage make perfect pieces to pass on to the next generation.

Particularly suitable heirloom watches also include limited edition models that are always in high demand. Furthermore, classic vintage timepiece are also a great option, as they are often sold for lower prices yet offer exceptional quality and reliability. 

When you plan to pass on a rare timepiece

On the other hand, there are some models which are continuously in high demand, regardless of whether they are in pristine condition or not. Examples include the Rolex Submariner or the Rolex Oyster Perpetual, which are in high demand whether new, used, or vintage. Models like these have had stable prices for decades.

Some may argue that very rare or limited edition models, which are purchased in hopes of being passed on one day, should not be worn often and stored away in a safe as not to decrease the value of the model. There is no right or wrong answer here, and we suggest that you do whatever you feel appropriate, but keep in mind that it adds personal value to the watch if you have worn it prior to passing it on to the next family member.

When in doubt: Wear your mechanical timepiece prior to passing it on

We here at CHRONEXT are of the option that actually wearing a very special, rare, or limited edition timepiece can only add value for the person who will receive the watch next. In having been worn by an important and beloved family member, the model will not only hold a strong monetary value but even more importantly, it will hold an invaluable symbolic value representative of family tradition.



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