What Makes A Luxury Watch A Luxury Watch

Drawing on white gloves in order to handle the supposedly precious item, a sales clerk in a neatly pressed suit offers a potential customer the experience of having someone place a timepiece on their wrist. Service is always appreciated but is this alone luxury? They say luxury is a feeling and that the best watches are bought because of emotion. In a world of rapidly evolving (and disposable) technology, the appeal of an expensive mechanical timepiece with age-old tech is illogical – a lot like love.

Why then do luxury lovers around the world often feature a timepiece as the centerpiece of their person attire? Patek Philippe borrows an adage from the private banking world in that buying one of their products isn’t about spending money but rather preserving it for the next generation – in wrist watch form. Rolex has successful painted themselves as the product worn by those who have achieved success, and Audemars Piguet promotes the idea that wearing a fine timepiece is the same as wearing tradition. Is luxury in the experience of wearing a product more so than the product itself?

Looking chic with the Rolex Submariner.
Looking chic with the Rolex Submariner. (Image Credit: Getty Images)

The most ravenous watch collectors in our modern times seek out pieces of distinction and rarity. For the hungriest accumulators of horological flora it is exclusivity that calls their attention more so than engineering performance or precious materials. Such facts do point to the fact that in the realm of timepieces luxury is a feeling more so than a measure of quality.

Looking stylish with the Cartier Ballon Bleu.
Looking stylish with the Cartier Ballon Bleu. (Image Credit: Getty Images)

At the same time there exists a top level of collectors who are ambivalent to the tastes or buying habits of others. This rare breed seeks out a certain form of “inherent value” which they determine as being the real reason to desire and eventually acquire a new timepiece. This select group of elite influencers are deeply keen on discovering what many argue is the true nature of luxury – peak performance, quality, and design no matter the price. These thought-leaders seek out products which ambitious and dedicated artists and engineers produce as being the best products they can fathom producing. Often times such pursuits lead to a lifetime effort by an individual or an entire brand. The same brands which are often sought out for their luxury personality often contain many of these essential luxury quality values which all enthusiasts can appreciate in at least one form or another. There are few better-made timepieces than a Rolex, and it is often the case that the disposable income necessary to purchase a Hublot or Audemars Piguet is due to the fact that the products are expensive to produce given their intense attention to detail.

The workings of a Patek Philippe Ladies Grand Complications Ref. 7059.
The workings of a Patek Philippe Ladies Grand Complications Ref. 7059. (Image Credit: Getty Images)

Luxury therefore is measureable if one knowns who to watch. It is not the masses who consume for perception, but rather the pure enthusiast whose goals are not status, but the pursuit of perfection. Therefore, a luxury watch is both a feeling and an achievement of real human effort.


Ariel Adams
Ariel Adams

Ariel Adams – United States
Ariel Adams started writing about watches in 2007, almost immediately after finishing law school. Since then he’s never looked back – combining his business skills with an enduring passion for timepieces and all things “well-made” on http://aBlogToWatch.com. In addition to running the world’s highest-traffic online watch magazine, Adams also wrote a book, The World’s Most Expensive Watches, and also lends his voice to leading watch and thought publications around the world.

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