Watches have been a status symbol ever since they were invented. It once took a king’s purse to afford even a modest timekeeper. If you pulled a pocket watch out of your coat in 1750 you were one hell of a big deal. Fast forward to today and things are different, but in some ways surprisingly the same. There is a big difference between today’s mass produced watches and luxury timepieces that focus on design, quality, and complexity.
Upper range timepieces in today’s world aren’t strictly necessary or novel from a technological standpoint, but they do have something to say about who is wearing them. In social contexts people look at your watch to determine things like your social position, level of education, taste, and of course wealth. Sometimes you want the right watch to make a good impression, other times you merely want to fit in.
It was once said that “you aren’t taken seriously in business in Europe if you don’t have a good mechanical watch.” That might also hold true for Asia, and other parts of the world. Probably less so in the United States but the trend is catching on. Assuming you are in the type of meeting where your watch will be noticed, you must play a delicate balancing act of trying to show people you’ve done well and have good taste, while at the same time indicating that you aren’t irresponsible with your money. Because that might mean you are irresponsible with their money too. Thus, business friendly watches should be conservative and classy, as well as a signal of success. Probably the best brand is Patek Philippe and at a category lower is Rolex.
Pablo Picasso wearing a Patek Philippe Reference 2497
Patek Philippe is the top high-end brand in the world and also comes with an average price several times that of a Rolex. Patek Philippe watches are also known to retain value quite well. These are also timepieces very well-regarded by watch lovers and aficionados. To some they might not look exciting at first, but these are a AAA investment when it comes to horology.
Rolex is the best known brand and for good reason. They make high quality time pieces that also retain their value very well. Owning a Rolex can be to indicate that one has "made it" in their professional career. Or, it can indicate that the person is trying to "make it" and is educated and knowledgeable enough to know that wearing a Rolex states that point.
Beyond the Rolex's and the Patek Phillipe's one ventures into the world of Ultra Luxury Exclusivity. With brands such as F.P. Journe and Greubel Forsey, Ultra Luxury watches are known only by horological enthusiasts and afforded only by those with deep pockets. Owning Ultra Luxury time pieces symbolizes not only professional success, knowledge and good taste but also wealth.