As much as technology innovators like Apple introduce smart watches changing our perception of traditional timepieces, the classic wristwatch continues to captivate discerning consumers of luxury.
Timepieces have been a part of everyday life for some 500 years. Today, leading brands which are long established and obsessed with creating the finest quality, synonymous with unrivalled workmanship, like Rolex, Cartier, Patek Philippe, Harry Winston, and A Lange & Söhne, are always desirable. Their names comes with a heritage associated with a culturally rich provenance indicative of good taste, affluence and success.
After Daniel Craig appeared in the James Bond movie, “Skyfall” wearing an Omega Seamaster wristwatch, interest in the collection spiked by 45 per cent as reported by Digital Luxury Group in their WorldWatchReport. Aspiring to the glamorous lifestyle, male consumers rushed to invest in the beautifully crafted 007 watch.
A record price of $7.3m was achieved in November 2015 for a Patek Philippe stainless steel wrist watch. Known as watch 5016AA the timepiece sold at the Phillips auction house in Geneva for more than 10 times its estimated price and received a standing ovation when the sale went under the hammer.
The wristwatch as status symbol
As status symbols, these watches are the best in class and owned by some of the wealthiest people in the world setting them apart from the other billionaires out there. There are three key factors that determine the value of these exceptional watches:
1. Expensive parts such as rare diamonds, gold, platinum, meteor rock, dinosaur bone etc.
2. The amount of time it took to make and the level of detail and functionality the watch possesses.
3. How unique, special and intangible value the piece boasts.
In 2016, the most expensive watch is not a wristwatch but an 18th Century ‘case watch’ , known as ‘BREGUET GRANDE COMPLICATION MARIE-ANTOINETTE’ – Price $30.000.000’.
The timepiece was started in 1782 by Abraham-Louis Breguet, reputed to have been commissioned by the lover of Marie Antoinette. At the time, it was an incredible feat of design and technology. Taking 48 years to complete, the maker’s son finally finished his father’s work in 1827, following the death of Breguet four years earlier.