Defining a 'Luxury' Wristwatch
One word I often encounter when reading watch advertisements and reviews is the word 'Luxury'. To me this holds the same purpose as the word 'Gourmet' does for food. 9 times out of 10 you realise quite quickly before you even started on your one piece of asparagus balanced on your micro new potato that you have actually just paid through the roof for a childs lunch.
Unfortunately the same can often be said for timepieces, and luxury is usually a term used by companies so that they can charge you over the £1000 mark for there standard £200 watch. The usual result is that you get home and within week start spotting where this watch has cut corners. Some examples I see are QC issues such as misaligned bezels, specks under the crystal, hand alignement and poor quality bracelets.
So what is meant by luxury (other than being overpriced).
Technically the Cambridge dictionary states it as 'Great comfort, especially as provided by expensive and beautiful things'.
Although this leaves a fair bit of room for interpretation we can apply this to watches.
For a starter with the exception of maybe a handful of movements, do not try and tell me a standard quartz movement is a beautiful thing. They are functional, reliable, accurate and an excellent invention but i've never opened up a case back to a quartz watch and had shivers down my spine, and neither have you.
Perhaps if you case it up in 18ct gold then it is more luxurious but then we are moving onto a piece of jewellery and fine metals rather than a luxury timepiece.
It's likely true luxury and quality will always come at a price but the biggest giveaway is how well it holds that value once it enters the second hand market.
Watches such as Patek Phillippe, Rolex, Vacheron Constantine are all expensive watches on the retail and second hand market but do offer genuine luxury. They are beautifully designed with movements that have a lot more human involvement during the production, undergo very strict quality control measures and offer a rich history in watchmaking. The movements are genuinely beautiful to look at too, with decorated plates, blued screws and sharp inscriptions.
It ultimately calls into question whether there is such thing as 'affordble luxury'. There are great watches to be had by some relatively new brands that offer genuine value for money but please do not fall into buying a 'luxury' wristwatch with a Swiss standard movement, fancy box and a pamphlet to tell you it's rich 9 year history.