Buying Designer Watches? How to Choose the Right One for You

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Have you always been fascinated by how a man of wealth and power subtly flicks his wrist or taps a finger on his chin to expose the gleam of a designer watch, discreetly announcing, “I am made.” A designer watch, more than a status symbol or a fashion statement, is an extension of your personality.

The question now is not, “Do I need a watch?” but rather, “Which watch should I wear?” And because watches have become statements of who we are and what status we have reached (or are aiming to reach), a lot of people opt to go for a designer watch. A designer watch, in a strict sense, is a high-end personal accessory that has been styled by an in-house or independent designer whose photo appears on the product brochure.

However, the term has evolved to mean any high-quality watch manufactured by the top watchmakers all over the world – Rolex, Patek Philippe, Cartier, Piaget, Breguet, and many others. The designer watch you choose should be able to state that you are “a cut above the rest.” Apart from an impressive design, its mechanism should be of the highest quality craftsmanship, which translates to the phrase: “Swiss-made.” Only the Swiss watchmaking industry can boast of more than four centuries of high-quality watchmaking traditions.

Designer watches today are the beneficiaries of the Swiss watchmaking industry’s many firsts: the first wristwatch, the first water-resistant watch, the first quartz watch, the thinnest wristwatch in the world, the smallest watch, the most expensive…and the list goes on. A designer watch has a distinctive case or a shape that sets it apart from other watches. Its strap should also be an integral part of its design. There are designer watches that combine functions and are versatile enough to be worn any time of the day, but a true watch connoisseur would have several designer watches in his possession.

4 Categories

Designer watches may be classified into the following categories: sports, dress, complicated, and special watches – although a designer watch may seem to belong to several categories, or none at all.

Sports

If you’re into sports, find a chronograph (a watch that that can measure discrete intervals of time) that is suited to your sport. Their bulky cases are meant to look “sporty,” so you might want to think twice about wearing that to the boardroom. Dress watches are a must for formal or business occasions. Choose a thin, classic design in gold or a delicate leather strap. A few favorites are the classic Patek Philippe Calatrava, the Breguet Classique, and the Piaget Protocole.

Complicated

Complex designer watches don’t just have time. They have whirlpools, repeaters, perpetual calendars, and moon phases. One of the “most complicated” watches ever made is the IWC Destriero Scafusia.

Special aka Limited

Lastly, special designer watches are those that have been manufactured in limited numbers. For instance, the Piaget Torre dell’ Orologio, created as a tribute to Venice’s Tower Clock on St. Mark’s Square, is limited to a mere 10 pieces. You might want to do the math on that to estimate its future resale value.