A luxury watch isn't just a device that displays time. Unlike its computerized counterparts, a luxury watch is not your ordinary time-telling accessory. It may not count your steps, forward email, or quote stocks, but it does demonstrate something that smartwatches cannot: great taste. A watch designed in Silicon Valley will present the wearer with state-of-the-art technology, but not necessarily aesthetics. While Apple is known for a sleek, streamlined style that is easily recognizable among today's consumers, it is a construction of conformity. Each watch looks the same and expresses nothing about the wearer's personal aesthetic. This is why owning a luxury watch is now less about status and more about personal expression and tradition.
The distinctive and familiar. It is all about which luxury watch speaks to you. The five major houses have distinctive histories and stories that formed and shaped their familiar brands. For the sportsperson and adventurer, the Rolex Oyster Perpetual and Date offers constant innovations in waterproofing, durability, and numerous innovative patents and complications. Likewise, Rolex's subsidy company, Tudor, provides the same state-of-the-art technology and design at a much more affordable price for those who have to work in the field as well as play. Those with old souls can transcend time with the vintage elegance of Patek Philippe's Grand Complications. For the fashion icons, Cartier's Drive de Cartier puts style to work with 230 components composing the classic watch's manufacture movement under steel or pink gold casing punctuated with faceted sapphires. For more modern executives on the go, TAG Heuer's watches are powered by Caliber 5, their house-branded ETA 2824, which makes the watch lightweight but keeps it running for over 38 hours.
Rare gems remain to be found. If the selections available from the five major houses do not seem right for you, do not give up! There are many more premier luxury watchmakers whose names haven't reached household status beyond those of fine watch aficionados. Researching these lesser known houses will not only expose you to some of the most fantastic pieces in the world, but also offer up a further education into the vast world of luxury watchmaking. You will be surprised to find that perhaps you have already seen some of these pieces but just did not know it. Later in his life, actor Charlie Chaplin was gifted a Jaeger-LeCoultre Memovox. Its innovations and classic Hollywood grace live on in today's Master Grande Memovox.
Officine Panerai is an Italian house that built its foundation privately designing pieces for the Royal Italian Navy until 1993. A testament to the marriage of function and beauty, Officine Panerai's patented radium-based powder, Radiomir, allowed divers to tell time in the dark sea. Today, these watches have been updated for modern life but still glow with postwar glory.
A lot of houses launched their brand on nautical merits, but what about the aeronautical? French house Bell & Ross has based its motifs around aircraft instruments and has created some stunning pieces that recall the adventures of Amelia Earhart and Charles Lindbergh, such as the WW2 Regulateur Officer.
For the wearer with a more minimalist style, Baume & Mercier features refined designs that are complex in their subtlety. Promesse for women, for instance, features double straps inspired by the infinity sign and available in a variety of jubilant colors.
For college-aged wearers, the relatively youthful house MICHELE could commemorate many firsts in life achievements. Considered a newcomer because it was founded during the 1940s while most major brands planted roots in the 19th century, MICHELE mixes precious stones and materials to create a playful but timeless statement, such as the Cape Topaz White Watch that features a sundial marked by multi-colored topaz.
Seek a reflection of your personal taste. Whether the luxury timepiece is for you or a loved one, the important thing to keep in mind about buying a luxury watch is that it expresses our individuality in a way other accessories cannot. Not only can it express our sense of style, but also where we are in our lives—be it graduation, retirement, anniversary, or promotion. If the watch is commemorating a life achievement, it is important to evaluate what this means to the wearer as much as to you, the giver. For example, if you want to present your mother with a brilliant and luxe bracelet watch in honor of her retirement, make sure it will be compatible with her new life, especially if she plans on traveling or being outdoors more. Because of details like this, it is key to take your time and research the above brands, their collections, and what options are ideal for the wearer's lifestyle. Of course, all of that data and self-reflection can be overwhelming, but that is why there are experts available where luxury watches are sold to answer any questions and concerns that the blogs and websites cannot.
Quality and attention to detail should be experienced firsthand. Whether you have questions or not, it is highly recommended that once you have found the perfect luxury watch, you also experience it for yourself first before buying. This is another major difference between shopping for a typical mainstream watch and purchasing a fine timepiece. With the exception of perhaps the strap and font size of the interface, a smartwatch is a boxed watch, and you know what to expect when you order it online. In fact, many of us shop for goods in this manner, and as a result, we have become so accustomed to one-click ordering that we deprive ourselves of discovering the more quality option. This is not a mistake to be made with a luxury watch. Although many major houses have purchasing options online, it is imperative to locate the watch in person, experience its weight, examine its craftsmanship, and evaluate whether it actually lives up to your, or your loved one's, expectations.