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What makes watches valuable?

Jul 21, 2014
handwound watch movement
handwound watch movement

Today, when everyone has a phone with a time function in their pocket, somehow watches still have an appeal and stylishness that no quick glance at a phone screen can ever match. Watches are so much more than instruments for keeping time, and there is no danger that they will be forgotten any time soon.

Human beings have been fascinated by the concept of keeping time for thousands of years, and from first turning to the stars and the sky to the Ancient Egyptians establishing two twelve-hour parts in a day in 2000 BC, the long tradition of pursuing accurate time keeping is a part of history itself.

This pursuit pushed fine craftsmanship and research in astronomical science, physics and innovation toward the development of hourglasses, sundials, astronomical clocks, mechanical water clocks and even incense clocks. This long-standing history is what has brought us to the point where we have so many beautiful watches available today. In the late 17th century, the first functioning pocket watches were developed that would lead to the portable wristwatches we know and love today.

Patek Philippe Calatrava
Patek Philippe CalatravaImage: Auctionata

A modern watch is the perfect blend of tradition and modern technology, as watchmakers continue to innovate and invent the newest features that make watches more accurate, reliable, durable and beautiful. The mechanics behind creating such masterpieces is intensely complex, and the company Patek Philippe alone has over 80 patents to its name. This list includes such patents as the one applied for in 1845, which was for the keyless watch. Since gentlemen no longer needed to keep – and most importantly, could no longer loose – a small watch key, this patent revolutionized the way that watches were used and was also the precursor to Rolex being able to develop the ground breaking waterproof Rolex Oyster in 1926. Watchmakers build upon each other’s developments and achievements — a watch today is not just a modern piece of technology, it is built upon hundreds of years of research and invention, progress and innovation that are a testament to the inventiveness of the human spirit.

Because these timepieces are such beautiful examples of craftsmanship, only those who value and appreciate the complexity taking place behind the simple beautiful blue gradient face of a Patek Philippe or the classic black of a Rolex will find pleasure in wearing such an accessory. Like any well-kept secret out in the open, a classic watch on a wrist only underscores the complexity, history, intrigue and tradition that has gone into its creation with those who care enough to look for it.

The mechanics may be why a watch is expensive, but it does not explain why a watch is valuable. Each company that has made watches for hundreds of years comes with a unique tradition—these luxury watches no longer just tell time, they tell a story. Whether it is about diving and research expeditions across the Arctic with a Rolex Submariner, accompanying an Astronaut to space like Omega’s Speedmaster, or gracing the silver screen on Steve McQueen’s wrist like the TAG Heuer Monaco, every luxury watchmaker lets inspiration and history influence the creative process which gives us the beautiful masterpieces available today.


Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch
Omega Speedmaster MoonwatchImage: Bexsonn


Luxury watches are so much more than an accessory, and their complexity and history give a class and style unmatched by any of the latest trends. With so many years of experience, buying a classic watch from a watchmaker with a long standing tradition such as Breitling, Rolex, Patek Phillipe or TAG Heuer means said watch is an accessory that will stay in style and in working order for a lifetime, and a generation’s lifetime after that. After cufflinks and a wedding ring, a watch is the third classic accessory for any gentleman, and it is an opportunity for them to show what traditions or adventures truly matter.

With such history and technology behind every piece, the fact that these luxury watches are made in very limited numbers which increases their rarity and value, is the best way for watchmakers to protect their creative process and share their emotions with those who actually care. This is a status symbol that comes with substance, a luxury watch worn by someone who appreciates the style, rarity, and beauty of the timepiece on their arm is a person who is taking a stand against the consumer society where companies count on their products going out of style and needing to be replaced during the next season.

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak
Audemars Piguet Royal OakImage: Bexsonn


That is not the case with luxury watches. Luxury watchmakers take pride in their work, and many guarantee the durability and working order of their watches for years and even decades to come; thus, watch owners know their watch will always be taken care of so that it will truly last a lifetime. This is an investment that will only be made once, and with proper care it will be inherited by the following generations who will cherish its value, heritage and tradition, all of which goes beyond the money that could be earned with resale. Like the classic designers of any line such as automobiles, furniture or a true piece of art, these watches will only appreciate in value over the years. Watchmakers know that they hold a legacy that they must protect not only for their company, but also for all the men and women who wear their brand; knowing this, watchmakers trust that their image will reflect the class and quality that the wearer values.

A luxury watch is often a gift to celebrate a significant event in someone’s life, such as a wedding, anniversary, graduation or the birth of a child, and these sentimental moments add a value that goes beyond any price tag and truly transform the luxury watches available today into heirloom pieces that, with proper care, will continue working well into the next century.

By Chrono24
Jul 21, 2014
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