How much do you pay for a luxury watch? Well, you may get a basic item for as little as $2,000. But be prepared to pay a much larger sum of money if you intend to purchase a high-end piece. If money is not a concern, there are no limits on the price of the timepieces; a luxury watch can be worth millions of dollars!
So, what makes these watches so expensive? A good look at a few things can help you find an answer to this.
Rarity, in itself, is a Quality
Would you pay thousands of dollars for a diamond if it was found as easily as a pebble? No. The value of the diamond is due to its rarity. The same applies for luxury watches. No one would pay millions for a watch if it was mass-produced in a factory. There would be millions of similar pieces throughout the world.
A handcrafted luxury watch takes time to make. It can take anywhere between a few days, a few months or even a few years. The story goes that the original Breguet Marie Antoinette Watch took 44 years to complete. You can very well imagine the long hours a master craftsman puts in to build each piece to perfection.
Some watchmakers have incorporated the use of robotics to produce more quantities of certain pieces. However, many pieces, especially the ones that have numerous complications or the ones set with valuable jewels, are still crafted by experts. This takes time, and makes it possible to create a limited number of these precious pieces.
Mechanisms that Add to the Value
Only a handful of watch companies make their own movements. Extensive research and development, coupled with the large sums of money necessary to support it, is required to create a unique watch movement. This is the reason many watchmakers, even many of the best ones, are yet to venture into this specific domain of expertise.
The reason behind the hue and cry of watch houses that make their own movements is the efforts they put in for the task. Years of research, experimentations and modifications, and the expenses make it a big deal. People passionate about luxury watches also appreciate this fact, something evident from their interest to pay more for an original piece.
Don’t think that a watch is any less precious just because its manufacturer does not have in-house movements. The more expensive choices, such as Patek Philippe or Audemars Piguet, depend on movements from specialist manufacturers. The value addition is done with the use of complications with these movements.
Precious Materials that Dazzle and Gleam
Stainless steel, alloys – watches made from these materials may not fetch a high price, if they are yet to attain the vintage status. Luxury watches are often crafted from valuable metals and set with rare stones. This enhances the aesthetics of the watch and adds to the investment value of the piece.
Take for example, the Patek Philippe Ref. 3974 Platinum. Along with its numerous positive points – it is a rare specimen crafted by Jean Pierre Hagmann, it has numerous complications, it comes with its original papers – there is also the fact that it has a platinum case. The preciousness of the material boosts the value of the piece.
A simple piece in platinum, such as the Rolex President, or an elaborate one in white gold, such as the Patek Philippe Skeleton – whatever suits your fascination may be a unique accessory. The cost of the materials adds to the investment value of the piece. It can easily become a cherished heirloom that you leave behind for the next generations.
Handcrafted Wonders that Impress
Let’s consider the watch movement first. A luxury watch may have 100 components in the movement or 500; the Patek Philippe World Time has 239 parts in its engine alone! An expert may need to spend days for creating every one of these components. Only a connoisseur can appreciate the delicacy of such a piece.
The aesthetics demand no less attention. When the human hand crafts the outer surface of a luxury watch, no two pieces can be same. Be it the design of the case and the dial or the stitches on the leather strap, every piece becomes individual, when it symbolizes the craftsmanship of a niche expert.
The exclusive finish of the handcrafted luxury watch is one of the major reasons for its high prices. It is also one of the chief reasons that make it a coveted piece. The details crafted by the expert hand make each timepiece an embodiment of luxury. A high-end, handcrafted watch is your ticket to the elite world of the haute couture of horology!
Knowledge Leads to Appreciation
A $50 watch tells the time, and so does a $50,000 one. What makes them different? Only a true aficionado can tell you the difference between the two. A regular guy would have heard about great watch brands such as Omega and Rolex. However, many have not even heard about the biggest brands of the lot!
The reason is simple – the connoisseurs have the knowledge necessary to appreciate the expensive timepieces! Just as a gourmet would know whether the caviar is good, a watch-aholic would know whether a timepiece is precious. The beauty, outer and inner, of a luxury watch is appreciable only when you understand it.
Think about all the components, materials and mechanisms, in a high-end luxury watch. Add the number of hours a team of experts spent on designing, building and incorporating these components. Keep in mind the years of study, research and experience that went in to acquire this expertise. You will get an idea about why these watches are so expensive.
An unwavering passion for luxury watches and an unending curiosity about how they work is what drives me to take an active interest in them. An exquisite piece of jewelry, an intriguing new mechanism and a wonder crafted by horologists, the timepieces do demand attention for a lot of reasons! It is the love and appreciation for such luxury accessories that prompted me to take up the task of writing about them. As a Contributing Writer at Tic-Tock.com, I have found the best way of sharing interesting tidbits about these pieces with you. If it’s rare and pricey, it sure would interest all, especially me, and hopefully, you too.