Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Collecting Patek Philippe and Other Luxury Watches? Here’s What You Need to Know

Luxury watches from brands such as Patek Philippe, Omega, and Breguet are not inexpensive. The process of buying one can take weeks, or sometimes even months, because of the planning that goes into making a purchase of one. If you’re planning to collect timepieces from Patek Philippe or other luxury brands, here are some tips to get you started:

1. When in search of contemporary watches, look for those with complicated models in limited production numbers. Watchmakers such as Patek Philippe are known for pioneering a number of innovations such as the perpetual calendar, split-second hands, and the chronograph. Breguet made their mark with the tourbillon movement and A. Lange & Söhne is known for producing the first timepiece with a wearable 31-day power reserve, while Omega was the first to successfully incorporate the co-axial escapement.
2. Just like jewelry, vintage watches are scarce, which makes them that much more expensive and worth the investment. Patek Philippe and Rolex watches are known to increase in value as time passes. Patek Philippe luxury watches have long been worn by royalty and political leaders, and have consequently become a status symbol for most watch collectors. Among the most popular timepieces are the Annual Calendar Chronograph, Calatrava, Nautilus, and Aquanaut.
3. According to Michael Ashton, a Patek Philippe and Rolex specialist, Patek Philippe timepieces from the 1940s and 1950s are good investments because, ironically, they weren’t popular during that time and thus had very limited production runs. For example, the 1943 J Chronograph features a hand sewn Patek Philippe crocodile and engravings on the crown.
4. Keep all paperwork, especially the original documentation of your luxury watch. Accessories should be intact and well taken care of. Replacing or restoring them will bring down the value of your watch.
5. Buy what your heart wants and not what the fashion world dictates. Because these luxury watches are expensive, it’s best to check out what’s available and choose what kind of movement and brand best fits your style, personality, and lifestyle. For men, watches are just one of the two or three accessories worn on a daily basis, so they should be the perfect one for you.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Bloomberg BusinessWeek Lists Most Expensive Watches of 2010

2010 means that more diamonds, gold, platinum, chronographs and tourbillions are set to make their mark in the world of chronology. Combine them and you have the elements that make up the most expensive watches of 2010. The world’s most prestigious and renowned watchmakers have submitted their picks for the most expensive watches of the year, based on aesthetics and technical functions. Here’s a few that made the list:

Tag Heuer’s Monaco V4 is priced at $80,000, but despite that relatively exorbitant price tag, it’s probably one of the cheaper ones on this list. The world’s first and only belt-driven timepiece was inspired by maker Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s (LVMH) love for cars. Though only 150 pieces were manufactured, the Monaco V4 is highly durable and requires less maintenance because of the belts and micro ball bearings.

• The L'Astronomo Luminor Tourbillion 1950 Equation of Time pays tribute to Galileo Galilei, as each piece is engraved with the client’s hometown, located on the back near the rotating sky chart of the city. Cast in rose gold and priced $235,000 each, only 30 of these limited edition luxury watches will be produced.

• Although Swiss watchmaker IWC’s Grande Complication was first launched 20 years ago, it continues to makes its mark in the world of watchmaking. Featuring a perpetual calendar with a moon phase, minute repeater, and chronograph with automatic movement, only about 50 pieces are manufactured annually. The platinum version is priced at $318,000 while the Portuguese-style case costs $220, 567.

• With a price of $508,000, Chopard’s Secret luxury watch features a pave-set diamond dial and a frame adorned with 19 carat diamonds in brilliant, baguette, and square cuts. Only two Secret watches have been produced so far.

• From Breguet comes the Classique 5349 Grande Complication at the price of $755,000. With twin tourbillons rotating in a platinum case lined with diamonds, this piece has more than 570 parts and is protected by three patents for its “superior precision and technological mastery”.

• For approximately $1,091,869, watch collectors can own Patek Philippe’s Sky Moon Tourbillon. The first double-faced watch has a nocturnal sky with the stars, moon, moon phases and sidereal time. The ultimate luxury watch also has a perpetual calendar, tourbillon, and a minute repeater.

• The title of most expensive watch belongs to Louis Moinet’s Meteoris, priced at an astonishing $4,599,487. With a set of four tourbillon watches, each made from a different material such as a meteorite from Mars, the moon, an asteroid, and the “Rosetta Stone”, the Meteoris comes with a planetarium that makes its price worth paying for.