American Marketer


What to look for when buying your first luxury watch

August 26, 2016

Time on hand Time on hand


By Katie Pfeffer

So, you want to buy a luxury watch. And you want the best quality for your investment and you do not want to be duped. What things should you look for when it comes to purchasing this soon-to-be-precious timepiece?

Even if money is no object, the first thing you want to consider when buying a luxury watch is how much should your first investment be? Depending on the features you want, you can buy a watch for as little as $600 or as much as $6 million. It is your investment. How much do you want to put into it the first time around?

Investment versus style

Luxury watches are like the vehicles of the fashion industry. Once paid for, there is a high probability of depreciation. This does not mean a watch cannot be a good investment. It does mean your watch should be seen as what it is: a piece of jewelry meant to accessorize your wardrobe and keep time.

With that in mind, what speaks to you? Which timepiece would you most proudly display on your wrist every day? These are meant to be enjoyed. Not meant to be stuck in a drawer in hopes of accumulating value.


What kind of life do you have? Are your days spent working in an office or is your life filled with non-stop adventure? If the latter, you do not want to invest in a fragile piece that will shatter with your first rough and tumble moment.

The top luxury brands are as follows. Each is known for different qualities. Which style fits you and your lifestyle?

  • Patek Philippe: This brand probably will not be the name on your first watch, but who knows, maybe it will be. Known as one of the most-high-status Swiss watches, Patek Philippe are highly valued for the complexity of their mechanical watches.
  • Audermars Piguet: Founded in 1875 by Jules-Louis Audemars and Edward- Auguste Piguet and located in Le Brassus, Switzerland, Audermars Piguet is known for creating elegant and stylish timepieces that are highly complex.

Drive time Drive time


  • A Lange & Söhne: Based in Glashütte, Germany, A Lange & Söhne are known for crafting exceptional masterpieces that are unique and sometimes unusual.

  • Vacheron Constantin: Created in 1755 by Jean-Marc Vacheron, the brand has become associated with the Richemont group. Vaheron Constantin is known for crafting watches that are elegantly graceful.
  • Ulysse Nardin: Since being acquired by Rolf Schnyder, Ulysse Nardin has won 4,000 first prizes and 18 gold medals for the designs of its Marine chronometers style. This is a top design for those who enjoy yachting or any naval look.

  • Rolex: Based in Geneva, Rolex is perhaps the most well-known luxury watch brand. Especially for its vintage models and investment value.
  • Jaeger-LeCoultre: Founded by Antoine LeCoultre, this Swiss brand is known for crafting some of the most complicated wristwatches. It is especially known for being one of the best in-house movement manufacturers. Its high-end pieces include the Atmos, Joailleric, Duoplan, Menovox or the Reverso.
  • Girard-Perregaux: Founded in 1791 and headquartered in La Chaux de Fonds, Switzerland, Girard-Perregaux is known for its classic design and high-end quality. Some of its most amazing movements are the Girard Perregaux 1966, Vintage 1945 and the Laureato Evo.
  • Blancpain: Founded by Jehan-Jacques Blancpain and now owned by the Swatch Group, this is one of the oldest watchmaking companies in the world. It is renowned for producing the smallest and thinnest movement in the world. Based in Biel, Switzerland, it produces 30 watches per day.

  • Brequet: Founded in Paris in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet and currently also owned by the Swatch Group in Valée de Joux, Switzerland, Brequet is known for its well-designed and elegant watches.

Classic or technological

This is a matter of personal taste. Do you prefer an elegant classic analog piece or the tumblers of a more modern piece? Each has its own advantage, depending on what you are looking for in a watch.

Bells and whistles

Time zones, calendars, beautiful mechanics and craftsmanship. There are so many options in style, chronometers and jewels that it is easy to get carried away with the complexities and features of a luxury watch.

It's complicated It's complicated

Some watches can do so many things, it is a wonder they have not been programmed to do our household chores for us.

Be sure you have an idea of what types of features you want and be flexible, but do not get swept up in the moment and plunk down money on something you might have buyer’s remorse about in future.

Try it on for size

Just as Goldilocks wanted things to be just right, so will you want your luxury watch to look and feel just perfect.

Too bulky and it will feel like a cumbersome weight on your wrist that will distract you from daily living. Too petite and it will look awkward and diminutive.

Either way, your investment is likely to get placed in a drawer, only to come out long enough to remind you of why you put it away in the first place.

MAKE SURE what you buy is not only the most comfortable, but also looks wonderful on your wrist. Luxury watches are meant to be worn, shown off and enjoyed.

Have you acquired your own luxury watches? What advice would you give for novice watch enthusiasts?

Marketing specialist Katie Pfeffer covers all things luxury for affluent lifestyle resource Jetset Magazine.

3 thoughts on “What to look for when buying your first luxury watch”

  1. Mischa Spanhak says:

    Dear Kattie,

    Very happy with the article, you have a feel for the industry. With 20 years of experience and a resumé of 110 brands, my advice would be to differentiate the market.

    -The Exquist Top 10 Watch Brands
    A.Lange & Söhne, Audemars Piguet, Blancpain, Breguet, Roger Dubuis, F.P.Journe, Girard Perregaux, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Ulysse Nardin

    -The Great Top 10 Watch Brands
    Breitling, Cartier, Hublot, IWC, Jaeger leCoultre, Omega, Panerai, Rolex, Tag Heuer, Zenith

    -Uber Watches A Class Of It’s Own
    Christophe Claret, Devon, Dewitt, Greubel Forsey, Grönefeld, Harry Winston, HYT, MBF, MCT, Franck Muller, Ressence, Richard Mille, Romain Jerome, Romain Gauthier, Urwerk, Vianney Halter…and many more.

    As a direct result of watch companies focussing on different styles of clients, they will overlap more of the above classes.

    Mischa Spanhak
    Connaisseur du temps

  2. Carmela Cruz says:

    Buying a luxury watch for the first time is not quite easy. There are some things you have to consider in order for you to find the perfect watch to complement your personality and style. Take your time to study your options. Anyway, Biltmore loan and Jewelry also agree that the budget, brand, style, and size are the things first-time luxury watch buyers need to know (read more here: It is important to consider these factors discussed in the article so that you can get the most suitable timepiece.

  3. Andrei says:

    The mentioned brands are all great. Worth noting is that there are brands more exclusive than Patek Phillipe such as Grönefeld, LEROY, MB&F. There are also more entry-level luxury watches for a more modest budget. See all the luxury categories starting with $500 to $1,500 at