Before we talk about the financial aspect of owning a luxury timepiece, you may prefer to spend a moment taking in the beauty of the craftsmanship that likely took between three and eight years to research, design, and test, depending on the complexity. Each of the average 300 to 500 parts must be crafted to work flawlessly together resulting in the overall look and feel the design team envisioned. The Calibre 89 by Patek Philippe boasts a whopping 1,728 parts compiled into 33 complications! Add the five years for design and testing to the four years production time for the Patek Philippe Calibre 89, and you can begin to understand why these timepieces are command applause for their artistry, no matter which generation is admiring them.
Speaking of bridging the generation gap, luxury watches produced by the most reputable manufacturers are always in fashion! All you have to do is look at people's wrists at formal corporate events, celebrity awards ceremonies, or political campaigns to realize the lasting value mechanical watches continue to hold in the fashion world today. The best part is the original models are just as popular as this year's, if not more so! In fact, the more vintage, the greater the appeal.
With all that attention to detail and fashion flare being sported on your wrist for people to notice, your investment could pay you back as a conversation starter at networking events. People who appreciate high-end mechanical watches likely enjoy speaking with other timepiece collectors. If you struggle with ice-breakers, try commenting on someone's watch and gain an opportunity to move into other guided common ground topics that could result in a new sales lead or expanded brand awareness for your business. Just be sure to bring plenty of business cards to hand out!
A luxury watch also makes the ideal investment for the pragmatist who is not necessarily looking to impress others and is not as much into style, artisan aesthetics, or craftsmanship as solid tested dependability. This is because a mechanical watch works without batteries that die, cumbersome power chords and charging banks, endless accessories that will need replacing as they break or become out-of-date, or advanced technology that needs an upgrade each year until a new model comes out to replace it. Put another way, you can spend $3k to $6k on that smart refrigerator that sends a grocery list to your phone as you run out of items, but you can probably expect to buy a new one sometime in the next five to ten years or less as the technology becomes outdated and stops working as well. Mechanical watches produced by noted name-brand manufacturers, on the other hand, are made to last for generations to come. No need for a model upgrade or download!
Do you find comfort collecting things from the past that remind you of a simpler time or a cherished memory from childhood? Many of the watch manufacturers have been making timepieces for centuries. Vacheron Constantin, for instance, was originally started by Jean Marc Vacheron in 1755 while Blancpain dates back to 1735. However, there were others getting started during the 1890s like Audemars Piguet and the 1920s, such as Rolex with their Rolex Oyster. Whichever century appeals most to you, investing in a vintage high-end timepiece from one of the top brands can feel a bit like going back in time without having to give up modern-day conveniences.
If you think of these watches as the old style of cars dating back before the techies took over your auto mechanics with beeps, alerts, entertainment systems, and cameras, you can see the heirloom possibilities. As long as you maintain the older car models properly with tune-ups and as-needed repairs while keeping them protected from the elements and door dings, they can be handed down again-and-again to enjoy on the road. There is not likely to ever be a mechanical need for replacing the watch unless the owner tires of the model or allows the watch to fall into disrepair. Plus, as opposed to a car, this inheritance is small enough to be kept close at all times.
While your shiny new car depreciates by thousands of dollars as soon as you drive it off the dealership lot, a high-end watch typically retains its value and often increases in value over time. For example, a Rolex worn by Paul Newman sold at auction for $17.6 million in 2017 and the Patek Philippe Ref. 1527 created in 1943 is valued at $5.7 million. What about the average Rolex, you ask? A new Rolex normally was priced around $150, or $1,248 with today's inflation, in the 1950s. To buy one used in 2019, it would likely cost over $6k! So, yes, genuine high-end watches do make a sound financial investment.
In short, you can purchase that new smart refrigerator, new car, or smart home products that will depreciate in value and overtime break, require upgrades and eventually need replacing. However, if you are looking for a way to buy something fun that you will typically hold its value for future generations and work anywhere as long as it is properly maintained, then consider a luxury watch from a top brand manufacturer. Not only is it always in style, a conversation piece, dependable, and a marvel to collectors, this investment is one item that has a low risk of kicking yourself later with buyer's remorse. Thankfully, sometimes, indulging does have its rewards!