For most people, buying a luxury watch is the ultimate expression. It represents a significant investment of time and value in design, function and quality. In return you acquire an exceptional product designed to give you a lifetime of enjoyment and then some. It’s a major life decision.
That’s why we’ve put together our ultimate guide to buying a luxury watch. We cover everything from what to think about before you even enter the boutique to how to care for your new luxury watch so it can be handed down to future generations.
For men especially – though women take it just as seriously – the watch offers one of the few socially acceptable ways to accessorise. Some choose to wear a luxury watch simply because they like the way it looks – indeed many examples can be regarded as art. Others get excited about the complex inner-mechanics. Here are several reasons why owning a luxury watch makes good sense.
A luxury watch is crafted by skilled artisans using higher grade materials. The intrinsic value in this translates into several benefits. The first being reliable precision and quality of build. In the class of mechanical (and quartz), luxury watches are better made and more accurately regulated. In general, they will stand up to wear better and offer better protection from damage over something cheaper.
Properly cared for, a luxury watch will last for several decades (or longer). Check out any of the major watch auctions (Phillips, Christie’s, etc.) and you will find ready evidence of this. Worn regularly over years or decades, a watch becomes intimately associated with its owner. A luxury watch’s ability to stand the test of time means it can be passed down to future generations. It can serve as a meaningful heirloom, rite of passage or long-lasting memento.
Convey the right message
A watch is with you (or close by) all of the time; more so than even your phone. It’s something you will likely wear and look at every day. Choosing a timepiece of quality conveys a sense of self-respect. That message often carries forward into how others perceive you. The watch one wears can tell a lot about a person. A luxury watch can communicate individual taste, aesthetic appeal, a subtle display of wealth, and dress etiquette.
Look the part
In most circumstances, looking the part can prove all important. Luxury watches are widely respected and quick to be noticed by others that appreciate the finer details. (Especially when paired with stylish clothing.) As a result, they can serve as great conversation ‘openers’. A luxury watch communicates an appreciation for the finer things in life. By owning one, you can attract the right type of attention from likeminded people.
Now that you’ve decided you want to buy a luxury watch, there’s a few things you should do before you come into a Watches of Switzerland Boutique. These won’t take long but they will help ensure you’re buying experience is as seamless and as enjoyable as possible.
Decide your budget
Know how much you’re prepared to spend and what you would like to get for your money. Do you want a more prestigious brand, or a watch with more complications? Do some research online first and see what options are available within your price range.
Consider where you’re going to wear your new luxury watch
Is this your first watch or your third? Will you be wearing it every day or are you buying it for a specific purpose or special occasion? Aside from telling the time, different luxury watches are designed for different uses. And, broadly speaking, a dress protocol exists decreeing which style is appropriate in certain settings. Do some research to understand the various genres and complications available. At this stage it also pays to take into account how each of the movement types will behave in relation to your intended usage.
For example, a world time function can be useful for one who travels or does business in multiple countries. A formal occasion calls for an understated dress watch. Certain styles offer more protection against wear and damage. As well as higher degrees of water, corrosive or magnetic resistance. (Generally, these fall under the tool watch categories.) Also think about what size watch will work on your wrist, and the type of strap you’ll want. Leather, rubber, fabric or a metal bracelet (each come with their own attributes).
Mechanical calibres preserving traditional clockwork technology carry more clout among watch aficionados. However, battery-powered quartz movements have their advantages. In general, manual-winding types need to be wound every day; whereas automatics, if worn actively everyday, might need to be would much less frequently (short of investing in a watch winder). Otherwise they will stop and require winding and resetting to start again. Quartz lacks the kudos of mechanical but requires no input from the wearer. Hence, it doesn’t include the hassle of having to reset the time (until the battery needs changing).
Once you’ve decided on the above, it’s time to head in-store. You can visit us at any one of our Boutiques in Melbourne, Sydney or Perth. There our friendly and professional staff will be able to answer any and all questions you may have. Here’s a few suggestions from us to get you started.
Understand where you can wear it
This primarily concerns the watch’s water resistance. (But could also relate to magnetic resistance depending on the type of machinery you work around.) A 30m rating means the watch can repel rain or minor splashes around the sink. But to take it in the pool, snorkelling, SCUBA or deepsea diving requires significantly higher levels of resistance.
Understand how to set and use the complications
There’s nothing worse than buying a complicated watch and not knowing how to use it. For example, how do you correct the annual calendar or read a chronograph properly? Depending on the complication, there may be certain times of the day when adjustments should not be made because the mechanism is engaged. This sort of important information can help you avoid damaging your new luxury watch. For mechanical watches, find out the length of power reserve so you know how often you need to wind or wear the watch. And don’t forget to ask about the perils of over-winding.
How long is the warranty and what does it cover?
Just about all reputable brands offer some sort of warranty but there are different conditions and durations. The industry standard is generally governed by EU law which requires a minimum warranty period of two years. Rolex has been offering a 5-year warranty since 2015.
What is the after-sales procedure?
For repairs and services, find out what will be required on your part. Usually, this will just mean bringing the luxury watch back to the boutique. (If you choose to make a purchase while overseas, be clear on what your options are.) Servicing and repairs can generally be done on site, but in some cases the watch may need to be sent back to the manufacturer.
Watches of Switzerland is proud to be an official retailer for the all the brands we offer in our boutiques. There are a number of advantages to buying from an official retailer. We’ve listed a few below for you to keep in mind.
Authenticity and buyer protection
Firstly, you’re guaranteed authenticity of the product (with accompanying papers etc.). It also ensures you receive any available warranty and that the terms will be honoured. The novice buyer may also overlook the future maintenance aspect of owning a luxury watch.
As an official retailer, we have direct links with the brands. This helps in organising repairs, services, ordering parts and ensuring warranty claims run smoothly. With several brick-and-mortar store locations to choose from, resolving issues can be as simple as dropping the watch off to us, and waiting for a call.
Now that you’ve chosen and paid for your new luxury watch, it’s time to take it home. Naturally you want to keep it looking new and shiny for as long as possible, so here are a few tips on how to care for it in the years to come.
Be mindful of water, heat and magnets
Know your luxury watch’s limitations. Subjecting it to deeper water or higher pressures (from high-board diving or water sports) than what it’s designed for may prove too much. Understand that over time the water resistance of a watch reduces as gaskets deteriorate. (More so if you’re repeatedly subjecting it to water.) Heat or sudden changes in temperature can damage movement components. Avoid sources of heat in general and hot water situations such as a hot bath or the sauna. (Steam can infiltrate where cold water can’t.) Close contact with magnetic fields can adversely affect the accuracy of your luxury watch, so try to avoid magnets where possible. (Unless anti-magnetic protection is included, magnetism can cause a movement to gain or lose time or stop altogether.)
Keep it clean
Periodically clean your luxury watch to remove dirt and dust. And especially after wearing it in salt water or the pool, clean it to avoid corrosion of metal parts. Use a soft damp cloth, a soft toothbrush and a cotton bud to get into hard-to-reach places – such as between the links of a metal bracelet. (If the strap is leather, avoid getting it wet because it can weaken the material.) Also avoid chemicals – cleaning products and perfume don’t mix well with your luxury watch.
Keep it running
Mechanical movements need to be kept ticking over on a fairly regular basis. Otherwise moving parts can seize up as oil dries. Wind your manual-winding luxury watch regularly. But don’t overwind it – stop when you feel the resistance in the crown. Automatics can’t be overwound but still require occasional winding, depending on your activity. And if you decide to use a watch winder, avoid over-winding the movement. (Each automatic has an optimum number of revolutions – referred to as turns per day (TPD).)
Have it serviced
It’s recommended to have your luxury watch professionally serviced every three to five years. Movement components need to be cleaned, lubricants reapplied, and water resistance seals replaced. Make sure the case is professionally resealed and pressure-tested to ensure it is water tight. Unless you’re an experienced watchmaker, do not attempt to open or tinker with your luxury watch.
Watches of Switzerland is here to help you with every stage of buying and owning a luxury watch. We are the Official Retailer of all our stocked brands, and our friendly and professional staff across our boutiques in Melbourne, Melbourne Airport, Sydney and Perth are ready and waiting to answer all your questions.
Visit us today and discover your first (or your next) luxury watch.