In the spirit of wardrobe shopping and working towards buying pieces of quality over quantity, watches are a major player. Once was a seen as a status symbol, watches now hold a luxury of another kind: They're a practical, beautifully made tool that doesn’t involve a screen.
For a first-time buyer, watches can be super intimidating. Learning about what makes a luxury timepiece luxurious helps put the price tag in perspective. And so does the cost-per-wear factor. Watches are meant to survive multiple generations while maintaining their value, can the same be said for a pair of designer sneakers?
While shopping for a watch is not ideal while stores are closed, it is the kind of purchase that requires proper planning and time to think through. Narrowing down what best suits one’s personal style as well as considering practicality and longevity, is the first step in watch-hunting. See below for some ideas to help determine what pillars matter to you.
Cartier’s iconic Pantheré watch is a classic style with deep roots in the history of the brand. Inspired by the long history of the panther as the muse of the maison, its spotted print appeared for the first time in an onyx and diamond encrusted watch. Pierre Rainer, Director of Image, Style & Heritage at Cartier International, says of this code: “Far more than a fashion or status symbol, or a mere ornament, the Cartier panther has become a genuine cultural icon.” The same can be said about this watch, having evolved from its high jewelry descendants, the modern version debuted in the 1980s and is one of the key styles of the Cartier watch portfolio.
Panthère de Cartier Watch, $4,600.
One of the most important criteria in a luxury watch is its durability. Rolex launched the Oyster 1926 as the first waterproof wristwatch in the world. Since then, this model has remained the backbone of Rolex’s designs. The Oyster Perpertual is waterproof to 330 feet and is made of corrosion-resistant Oystersteel, which, for an entry-level price point, is a quality and timeless material.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual 31, $5,000.
Bulgari introduced its signature Serpenti watch in a late 1904s jewelry collection, complete with the now ubiquitous tubogas, the hand-coiled bracelet. The name technically refers to the metal bands that wrap around the coil which was inspired by Italian piping, but also happens to resemble the body of a snake. This technique is a staple of Bulgari design and has been incorporated in countless collections for watches and jewelry since its debut. The style was popularized by Elizabeth Taylor who wore her Serpenti bracelet watch on the set of Cleopatra. For those looking for a timepiece that has a strong jewelry influence and historic style, a Bulgari Serpenti is an iconic choice.
Serpenti Tubogas Watch, $5,400.
Owning a remixed take on a classic is not only a conversation starter, but a great start for anyone looking to begin a watch collection. In the 20th year since the iconic J12 ceramic model from Chanel was created, the fashion house has released a special edition “Paradoxe” which is a mix of both the black and white models, arriving to stores in September. This was made by seamlessly fusing two ceramic cases, which is no easy feat, especially with colors at both ends of the spectrum. The craftsmanship and the striking style of this watch makes it a collector’s piece for years to come.
Chanel J12 Paradoxe, $8,050.
Watches are a relatively new category for storied luggage-maker Louis Vuitton, since launching in the early 2000s, but by weaving in the heritage codes of the house and travel, the collection is inspired by their worldly clientele constantly fluttering between time zones. With Nicolas Ghesquière and Virgil Abloh at the helms of the women's and men's collections respectively, the house is not short of innovation, especially in their timepieces. The Tambour New Wave is the newest iteration of the Tambour that was originally launched in 2002, and the "My LV Tambour" edition offers customizable straps to curate the look the season or ones mood. To get behind a brand that is at the cusp of developing new codes for their timepieces is ideal for anyone who considers themselves an early adopter.
Tambour New Wave 34, $3,780.