Buying a luxury timepiece is exciting, but it can also feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve never made such an investment in the past. The world of luxury watches is intoxicating; however, if you aren’t familiar with the watch world’s terminology, features, and complexities, you may be left feeling a little confused during the process.
When looking for luxury watches for men online, it is helpful to learn the basics, and then delve deeper into the more interesting features of these mechanical wonders. Finally, you need to narrow down your style and find a trustworthy dealer before making a purchase. If you take these tips and advice into account when buying your luxury watch, you are sure to end up with a piece that you love.
Learn the Basics
If you are new to the world of luxury watches, you must learn the relevant terminology before making a purchase. It is also helpful to understand how and why these timepieces are priced so that you know whether you are paying a fair amount.
Several terms refer to parts of the watch and materials that are commonly used in watchmaking, which is helpful to know when searching for a timepiece online.
When you view a piece that you are interested in, you will see a list of specifications that tell you about the watch. If you don’t know the parts and functions, you may be unable to know whether the watch is right for you. To ensure that you know exactly what each option’s specifications indicate about the watch, familiarize yourself with the following terms:
A bracelet refers to a metal band that holds the watch in place around your wrist, while a strap refers to the same piece made of leather or rubber.
The case encloses the watch’s movement and forms an outer protective layer around the body. It is typically made of precious metals such as yellow, white, rose gold, platinum, or stainless steel.
The dial is the face of the watch, on which the hands and numbers are displayed. It sits under the crystal, a clear cover protecting the dial, and is attached to the case, usually made of acrylic or sapphire in higher-end timepieces.
The bezel is a metal ring that circles the dial. On luxury watches, bezels are often inlaid with precious stones or engraved with time markers. They can rotate clockwise, counterclockwise, or both, or remain stationary. They are typically used for timekeeping measurements.
An aperture is a small window on the watch’s dial. It displays the date, month, and year, depending on the watch’s complications.
The movement, or caliber, of a luxury watch powers the timekeeping functions. Caliber refers to the internal movement of the timepiece, which can be automatic or manual.
Complications refer to the functions on a watch that do more than tell time. This includes a timepiece’s ability to act as a stopwatch, keep the day and date, maintain a perpetual calendar, track the moon phase, and perform tachymeter capabilities.
The pricing of a luxury watch depends on many factors, such as the brand legacy, market value, materials, and complications. The final retail price also varies based on the dealer or retailer selling the watch.
Pre-owned luxury watches typically sell for a few thousand dollars, while new releases and sought-after vintage models go for tens or even hundreds of thousands. If you are looking to make your first luxury watch purchase, it might be a good idea to opt for something like the pre-owned Rolex Men’s Datejust Stainless Steel SKU P16014SRJ, which retails for $6,795.00.
If you are ready to invest in a new luxury watch, such as the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak 15500OR.OO.D002CR.01, the price point climbs to $56,995.00. In general, you can expect to pay more for watches that feature multiple complications, as these timepieces require several hours of meticulous craftsmanship to manufacture. Pieces that are inlaid with jewels or crafted from precious metals also carry a more hefty price tag.
Brand heritage also affects the price of a luxury watch. While all high-end timepieces require a financial investment, Blancpain, Audemars Piguet, Rolex, and Patek Philippe are among the most expensive watch brands in the world.
Delve into the Details
As you familiarize yourself with the basic terminology and pricing elements of luxury watches, you can begin to delve into the details of these horological wonders. While you may see a watch that you love the look of, many additional features of high-end watches may capture your attention. The specific luxury watch features to note when browsing is watch type, complications, movements, and aesthetic design features.
The watch type refers to the purpose or design inspiration for the timepiece. There are four main watch types: dress watches, sports watches, pilot watches, and diving watches.
Dress watches are designed to be worn as an accent to sophisticated clothing. Dress watches feature sleek profiles and minimalist designs and typically have a leather wristband. While they can also feature complications, their main purpose is to elevate your ensembles with their mature, refined appearance. The Jaeger LeCoultre Reverso 2458420 is the perfect example of an elegant luxury dress watch.
Diving watches are crafted for the specific purpose of keeping time for deep-sea divers. These masterful timepieces feature cases that can withstand intense pressure underwater and allow divers to monitor their oxygen supply while diving. The Rolex Submariner Date 126619LB is a classic example of a diving watch and can resist up to 1,000 ft.
Pilot watches are made especially for aviators and feature design elements like easily legible numbers on the dial and larger cases. These features allow pilots to glance at their watch when flying to check the time. The IWC Pilot Mark XVIII Antoine de Saint Exupery IW327003 represents this style well, with its simple design and bold, easy-to-read digits.
Luxury sports watches are designed to withstand all types of conditions that occur with intense physical activity. They feature durable cases and water-resistant materials and allow the wearer to read the time easily. The functions vary greatly, from simple date-time complications to chronograph capabilities, as seen in the Blancpain Sport Collection 5085F-3630-52, which functions as a stopwatch for racecar drivers.
Complications are what set luxury timepieces apart from quartz-powered watches. Intricate mechanical innovations allow luxury models to perform functions above and beyond telling time. Several highly technical Rolex models feature state-of-the-art complications, such as dual time, perpetual calendar, and chronograph and tachymeter capabilities.
- Chronograph – Records elapsed time and acts as a stopwatch
- Dual Time – Shows both the local time and a second-time zone
- Date Window – Shows the date in a small window
- Perpetual Calendar – Displays the month, day, and date and accounts for leap years
- Tachymeter – Keeps track of speed over a set distance
The caliber, also known as the movement of the timepiece, can be automatic or manual. When searching for your perfect luxury watch, note which kind of movement the model uses and which you prefer.
- Automatic – Self-winding uses the wearer’s natural movements to stay powered
- Manual – Requires the wearer to manually wind the watch’s crown to keep time
- Quartz – Are powered by a battery that vibrates a piece of quartz crystal at a specific frequency to keep the watch ticking
A watch’s design elements, including its material and visual appearance, factor heavily into your eventual purchasing decision. Luxury watch companies use high-quality precious metals and stainless steel to create eye-catching designs, as well as varying strap and case sizes, bezel embellishments, and engraving features.
When you opt for a sophisticated dual-tone Rolex watch like the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona 116503 SKU 116503CD or the Rolex Men’s Day Date President SKU P228238CD, you can show your appreciation for elements such as a diamond-studded bezel and 18K yellow gold, as well as expertly designed subdials, engraved bezels, and the use of 904L Oystersteel materials.
When considering the design features of a luxury watch, choose an option that fits with your existing style and provides the functionality you need. If you wear suits to work, choose an elegant stainless-steel watch with a classic blue dial. If you are active during the day, try a sporty watch with a rubber bracelet rather than metal.
Narrow Your Style and Brand
A helpful tip for choosing the right luxury timepiece online is to narrow down your preferred style and brand. Each high-end watchmaker elicits its unique approach to the horological craft, so it is a good idea to become familiar with the top luxury brands and their overall style.
Popular Luxury Brands
The most popular luxury brands on the market today are:
- Audemars Piguet
- Patek Philippe
Rolex is known for its Oyster Case design, the first waterproof case in watchmaking history. The Oyster Case gives Rolex its distinctive look. Cartier watches are recognized for their non-circular shapes like the Cartier Tank W5330008 SKU W5330008, which was inspired by the shape of military tanks in WWI.
Panerai watches are unique among luxury watches for their minimalist design and large dials. Hublot timepieces feature visually interesting elements such as dials with no numerals, sleek, flat bezels, and an overall air of futuristic sophistication. When searching for a luxury watch online, browse through the different luxury brands and find out which one speaks to you.
New vs. Vintage
You may also want to invest some time into researching new luxury models versus their vintage counterparts. Many watch collectors prefer the vintage style over the modern look, but others lean toward new, innovative design elements and complications.
In the world of luxury watches, vintage refers to timepieces created before about 1990, although there is no set rule. Vintage pieces are appealing because of their rarity and original features and how they tell the specific brand’s evolutionary story. For instance, the Rolex Cosmograph Daytona series has undergone several changes since its inception in 1963, and vintage models of this type are hard to find.
While vintage models may be difficult to get your hands on, you can easily find luxury watches with an intentional vintage look like the IWC Vintage Pilot series, inspired by their original design from 1936.
Modern timepieces may be more your style if you prefer updated, crisp, mechanical looks over the more worn vintage variety. Although “modern” watches vary based on the series and the watch designer’s overall aesthetic goal, you can expect to find innovative functions, sleek designs, and high-quality metals in newer models.
For example, rose gold increased in popularity over the last several years, so newer luxury models use rose gold in addition to classic options made with steel or yellow gold. The Rolex Rose Gold Sky Dweller 326235 SKU 326235R is an example of the use of rose gold on the case and bezel that wouldn’t have been embraced before the 1990s.
Find a Trustworthy Dealer
One final tip to keep in mind when buying a luxury watch online is to find a trustworthy dealer. There are several factors to consider that can indicate whether or not the retailer you are looking at is one that you want to buy such a high-end item from. Some indications to consider are whether or not the company:
- Provides a certificate of authenticity with your purchase
- Offers warranties on the watches
- Maintains an outstanding reputation
- Posts clear, transparent buying and return policies
Luxury of Watches is a reputable high-end retailer. Every one of our luxury timepieces comes with a certificate of authenticity and a 5-year warranty so that your investment is protected. We also boast accreditation with the Better Business Bureau and maintain a 4.6-star customer review rating on Trustpilot. In addition, we adhere to our transparent policies that provide details on our shipping policies, payment options, warranties, pricing, and return options.
Discover the Timepiece That’s Right for You
Whether you are a first-time buyer or a horological connoisseur looking for a new stylish timepiece, find what you’re searching for at Luxury of Watches. We boast a wide array of luxury watch brands to suit any aesthetic and price point. For over 14 years, our company has been providing luxury watches to men who appreciate style. Visit us online to view our new and pre-owned watches to discover the timepiece that’s right for you.
Zein Republic Studio/Shutterstock.com