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Best Investment Watches: 5 Timepieces You Can Bank On
Few things in life embody class and sophistication the way a luxury watch does. For some men, the refined craftsmanship is reason enough to invest their hard-earned cash. For others, it’s the complex inner mechanics or the ability to elevate their wardrobe with a statement piece. The reasons for buying a designer timepiece may vary, but making the final decision to take a luxury watch from the display counter to your wrist has most men torn between the financial cost and potential benefits of ownership.
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Why Luxury Watches are an Investment
A luxury watch can run you anywhere from a few thousand up to hundreds of thousands of dollars. What you’re willing to spend depends on how the watch fits into your lifestyle and what the term luxury means to you. Any mass-produced watch can perform the basic function of tracking time. However, the best investment watches serve up advanced features wrapped in high-quality materials that help retain, or even increase, their resale value.
Luxury watches are crafted with precision using tried and trusted materials, such as gold and titanium, to ensure they can last for generations. The mechanism that makes a watch work, known as its “movement,” is highly coveted by watch experts for its superior precision. Unlike a quartz watch that runs on replaceable batteries, the best investment watches feature mechanical movements assembled in-house by a master craftsman, often by hand.
Luxury watches for men produced by elite brands, such as Rolex and Omega, will also have Chronometer Certified (or Chronometre Certifie) engraved on the dial. This means that the timepiece has undergone the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC) process that tests accuracy in different conditions and temperatures over several days.
From the sapphire crystal featured on the Omega Seamaster to the 18-Karat white gold casing on the Rolex Submariner, the materials a brand uses to build a watch is a significant point of distinction. Rolex has even gone so far as to run their own gold foundry for exclusive manufacturing rights to the gold used in their collections.
Luxury watches are usually released in limited quantities. This is primarily due to the significant amount of time and resources brands invest in the research and design phase, in addition to hand-finished components that are nearly impossible to scale. With limited collections comes high demand, driving up the cost and resale value of designer watches.
While watches made using the finest materials and most intricate inner workings are more expensive to maintain, they are built to stand the test of time. If cared for properly, a luxury watch can become a meaningful heirloom that lasts for generations. Whether you have inherited a timepiece from a decades-long family tradition or looking to start one yourself, a quality wristwatch perfectly symbolizes the passage of time as a tangible token of the bond shared by each owner.
Top 5 Best Investment Watches for Men
If you’re the type of man that likes the finer things in life but appreciates a good return on investment, keep reading. Few brands have truly mastered the art of watchmaking, and here are the top five sought after timepieces that will hold their value.
The Submariner line was first introduced by Rolex in 1953 as a true diver’s watch known for its resistance to water and corrosion. Today, the Submariner is an icon of design found among the most extravagant collections.
True to its aesthetic heritage, the new generation of Oyster Perpetual Submariner and Oyster Perpetual Submariner Date from Rolex feature an Oyster case that is guaranteed waterproof to a depth of 300 meters (1,000 feet). The middle case is crafted from Oystersteel, a corrosion-resistant alloy, or from 18-Karat white gold.
The unidirectional bezel is fitted with a 60-minute Cerachrom insert in black, green, or blue ceramic that allows divers to confidently monitor their dive times. The bezel’s edge is designed to offer excellent grip underwater, even when wearing gloves. The dials are also coated with a luminescent material that emits a long-lasting blue glow to improve visibility in dark environments.
Perhaps one of the most historic watchmakers, Jaeger-LeCoultre has been releasing iconic collections since 1833. The origin of the Reverso watch started at the beginning of the 1930s, where it was designed to withstand the polo matches of British Army Officers in India. The case is easily reversed to conceal the dial, protecting the face from the impact of mallet strokes.
The geometric lines tracing the face are dripping with Art Deco inspiration. The front of the classic Reverso features the small seconds in an aperture at 6 o’clock. The dial is accented by sword-shaped hands and black Arabic numbers that stand out against the silver background.
The Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso men’s line includes a limited-edition Tribute Fagliano timepiece. This distinguished wristwatch represents the inspired Duoface concept, perfectly accented by the Cordovan leather strap handcrafted by the Argentine bootmakers Casa Fagliano. Single-slide models are designed with a steel case-back, while Duoface offers two time zones on its back-to-back dials.
Patek Philippe Calatrava
Patek Philippe has been pursuing traditional Genevan watchmaking since 1839. Coined as the best dress watch for men, the Calatrava is known for its timeless, elegant design. With several styles to choose from, each piece is hand finished to smooth away any burrs or traces of machining that may impede perfect movement.
Stick markers, dauphine or sword hands are the essence of the Calatrava. A Calatrava from the 1940s or 1950s has the same amount of finishing and accuracy levels as the watches produced today, with only slight differences to the overall design and more parts in the minute repeater.
Patek Philippe is an independent manufacturer with vertically integrated production. The individual parts, movements, and cases for every watch are produced, finished, and assembled in-house. Each Calatrava involves a high level of hand-finishing, limiting production to 60,000 units per year.
In tribute to the first Seamaster models OMEGA released in 1948, these limited-edition heritage models retain the original post-war design that has been updated with 21-century technology. The dauphine-style dial traces the time around a 38 mm 950 platinum case and a vintage OMEGA logo, all set in 18-Karat Sedna gold.
A sapphire crystal on the case-back has been laser-engraved with a 70th Anniversary logo, a Chris-Craft boat, and a Gloster Meteor aircraft to honor the aviators dressed in OMEGA timepieces during World War II. Finished with a brown or green leather strap, the Seamaster is Master Chronometer Certified, the industry’s highest standard set by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS) for precision.
Each watch must pass eight rigorous tests for precision, magnetic-resistance, power reserve, and water resistance. OMEGA also uses a co-axial escapement to reduce mechanical constraints and the need for lubrication, offering more time between servicing than many other luxury watches.
Introduced in 1984, the new collection of Chronomat watches from Breitling features a subtlety updated look from the original retro design. Four rider tabs sit flusher with the bezel creating a more fluid silhouette and making the bezel easier to grip. This impressively proportioned mechanical watch is an all-purpose piece that can easily dress up some slacks or tag along on a dive, offering water-resistance up to 200 meters.
You can choose from a variety of materials, including stainless steel and 18-Karat red gold, with a range of black, blue, silver, and copper dials. The Chronomat is presented on Breitling’s signature rouleaux bracelet and powered by the in-house Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01, a COSC-certified chronometer. The polished interlinks in the bracelet compliment the chromatic rider tabs for a cohesive look, making it one of the best investment watches for any occasion.
This entirely depends on what you are looking to get out of a watch. If you are just using it to check the time, you probably don’t need to shell out the cash. If you want a watch to last for decades or you like getting a return on your investments, then you should consider purchasing a luxury watch.
The main distinguishing factor between a men’s watch and a women’s watch is size. A women’s watch will typically have a smaller face and slimmer band. Whereas, a men’s watch will have a larger face and bulkier band. However, there are also unisex options available in neutral colors, styles, and sizes that comfortably fit most wrist sizes.
On average, luxury watches will either increase or retain their value. Apple watches, like most technology, become redundant in a few years. Swatch watches are typically made using durable plastics and silicone. These materials tend to break down over time, in addition to running on batteries that need to be replaced every 2-3 years.