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August 02, 2016


The Luxury of Time: A Conversation About Timepieces

There are few certain things about modern living. The world moves faster and faster with each coming day. We’re online and plugged in at all hours, and to what end? What is considered luxurious in 2016? It could be a globe-trotting travel itinerary or a spacious home decorated to your taste. Or, is it the finer details of your day to day life? Luxury is time and the certain self-assurance that you’re forging your own path. Luxury is living according to your own schedule, beholden to no one. So, if your world moves according to your own time, then what about the instruments you use to measure it? As opulent or utilitarian as your style may be, there are certain basic facts about watches that can lead you to make the right choice when considering a timepiece to invest in.

1. What Makes Luxury Watches So Special?

True luxury watches are, no pun intended, timeless. While even the most style-focused tastemakers across the globe can consider watches to be frivolous, luxury watches aren’t as extravagant a purchase as one might assume.

In fact, depending on your lifestyle, a luxury watch can be a trusted necessity and staple. So, let’s discuss some of the benefits and facts about watches that can be overlooked when considering these valuable tools for those who value punctuality.

Luxury Watches Are Lifestyle Accessories

A true luxury watch is a symbol of prestige, power, and wealth. In today’s increasingly image-conscious world, those qualities can go a long way in your personal and professional endeavors. Consider a scenario that places you in a meeting with a potential business associate or partner. He’s wearing old, worn trousers and a wrinkled t-shirt. Would a reasonable professional be impressed enough to do business? But, what of a consummate industry-insider who dresses the part and can give you a leg up on the competition? Regardless of your profession, image matters and luxury watches offer an unspoken calling card in conveying class and distinction.

Luxury Watches Have Investment Potential

Since luxury watches are crafted from precious metals and materials, not only do they retain their value, but they can increase in worth over time if they’re kept in immaculate condition. While they may not be an obvious investment like real estate, vintage cars, or artwork, luxury watches do store value and add diversity to a financial portfolio.

While the commonly held notion of “buying low and selling high” doesn’t necessarily apply to luxury watch investments, procuring authentic vintage timepieces from reputable watchmakers such as Patek Philippe, Ulysse Nardin, or Rolex will ensure that your luxury watch retains and increases its value with care and maintenance.

According to a 2015 report detailing facts about watches in the vintage market, Time magazine found that the success in these brands’ high-value retention is the relatively limited range of their product lines. While certain brands continually produce a myriad of lines and models, notable premium watchmakers like Rolex keep production low in order to focus on their exquisite quality.

Luxury Watches Are Built to Last

Aside from obvious engineering and precision differences, collectors would be hard-pressed to find a moderately priced watch that runs strong a year or two after its initial purchase, let alone for a lifetime. Meanwhile, luxury watches are meticulously crafted to a level of mechanical excellence that ensures they can be true heirloom pieces that are passed down from generation to generation.

Some luxury watches can take years to produce, which is a true testament to the level of quality that collectors should expect. From effortless movement to precise construction and timeless design, the measure of true luxury watches is their staying power.

2. Know Your Luxury Watch Brands

With some fundamental knowledge on what makes luxury watches desirable, any collector should consider the brands and watchmakers that have produced these legendary pieces. Since the brands you champion can be a matter of personal preference, these basic facts about watches along with their reputations will aid you in your quest for knowledge. While trends come and go,

Now that you have a basic understanding of what makes luxury watches desirable, consider the brands and watchmakers that have shaped the industry. Obviously, the brands you champion are going to be a matter of preference, but these facts about watches and their reputations among timepiece aficionados should help you in your quest for knowledge while also providing some conversational points. Trends may come and go, but true style never gets old. Let’s go over some proven information on timeless timepieces.

Consider Investment Pieces From IWC or Franck Muller

While there are dozens of outstanding watch marques and brands available, two of the most widely respected luxury watch brands are IWC (International Watch Company) and Franck Muller.

These two renowned watchmakers have produced and continue to innovate luxury watches in terms of engineering, design, and craftsmanship. While they’re relatively less famous in the United States than household names such as Cartier or Rolex, these marques are no less reputable or respected.

IWC Specializes in Longevity and Excellence:

IWC can trace its storied past to 1868 when the company was founded by Florentine Ariosto Jones. The brand is notable among collectors as being the only major Swiss watch manufacturer founded in Eastern Switzerland, whereas most are based in the west.

Though IWC has been around for close to 150 years, the brand has continually innovated its mechanics, design, and sales. Since 1885, the company has kept immaculate records on each watch produced in their Swiss factory. Additionally, technological advances throughout the 20th century have only added to IWC’s reputation for excellence. During the mid-20th century, the brand introduced the revolutionary Caliber 89 movement, its famed mechanical movement that powered watches from the 1940s to the 1990s. Among vintage luxury watch circles, connoisseurs and collectors may even still find early models that function just as effortlessly as they did when they left the production line over 70 years ago.


Founded in 1914 by Swiss watchmaker Eugene Meylan, Glycine set itself apart from other luxury brands through its focus on pure precision. Meylan was ahead of his time when he directed the firm to strive for technological progress in its timepieces.

This commitment to engineering would be a recurring theme for Glycine throughout the 20th century. History enthusiasts looking into facts about watches will be surprised that this Swiss watchmaker is well known for their timepieces designed for pilots. In the early 1950s, Glycine introduced The Airman, a 24-hour watch that worn by many US Air Force pilots during the Vietnam War.

Since then, Glycine has tirelessly innovated the art and science of watchmaking with automatic Airman models and mechanical watches known for their rugged reliability.

Franck Muller’s Fusion of Modern Style and Classic Mechanics:

Franck Muller is a relative newcomer to the luxury watch scene. Though the company was only founded in 1991, Muller has built a solid reputation for merging the perfection found in Swiss engineering with more modern American stylistic twists.

Worn by eminent cultural icons from Demi Moore to Elton John and 50 Cent, Franck Muller’s watches are noted for their intricate, unique engineering conceived by Muller himself. Many of Muller’s watches are distinguished for their rarified silhouettes such as an innovative “tonneau” curved rectangular shape introduced in 1993.

While Franck Muller has revolutionized modern luxury watches, he has also experimented with their distribution and marketing. Since 1993, Franck Muller has introduced “World Premieres,” exclusive collections centered on specialized features never before seen in the watchmaking industry. Details such as minute repeaters, perpetual calendars, and indicators measuring internal temperatures proved innovative and highlighted the brand and designer’s unique perspective on luxury watch design.

Panerai’s Timeless Appeal

Among the many facts about watches is the ebb and flow of their stylistic trends. As with any handcrafted designer product, trends come and go. However, in the world of timepieces, designers opt for styles that last. With that said, even the most modern watches will tend to echo and mirror classic designs from the early 20th century or earlier. Occasionally, these vintage styles will see a revival, leading to the values of certain watches and companies to rise and fall with changing tastes.

For example, the Italian watchmaker, Panerai, has only recently started to gain acclaim for its stories pieces despite the company being around since 1860.

Panerai tends to be a bold watch marque, relying on expressive, yet relatively simple silhouettes. The watchmaker is the official timepiece supplier to the Italian navy, yet was a fairly obscure brand until Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger popularized it in the United States in the 90s.

Ulysse Nardin

Ulysse Nardin has been a mainstay in luxury watches for over two centuries. The Swiss watchmaker made history with its highly precise marine chronometers, which were at one point supplied to 50 navies across the world. Since the 19th century, Ulysse Nardin has staked its reputation on eminently precise timepieces valued for their functionality, engineering, and Swiss styling.

In the 1980s, the company made history when it produced the Astrolabium Galileo Galilei. This game-changing watch had the ability to display time, lunar and solar eclipses, as well as the positions of several stars. With over 21 distinct functions, the watch was named the world’s most functional watch by the Guinness Book of World Records


Oris is a relatively new luxury timepiece company, founded in 1904. Though a smaller company, the brand managed to remain a truly unique voice in the industry. With an internal buyout in the 1980’s, the brand cemented its reputation for independence on all fronts.

Oris' freedom as an independent firm has allowed them to pursue their own unique vision, and they are one of the few Swiss watch companies in their price range that exclusively sells mechanical watches. The brand is also famous for receiving one of the single highest quality ratings from the COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute).

Popular Oris Timepieces:

  • Diver Date Black Dial
  • Hunter LE
  • Charlie Parker
  • Carlos Coste Chrono
  • 44 Regulateur

Terms to Reconsider

To keep up with the prestige set by luxury watches, mass-market timepieces typically boast a number of bells, whistles, and gimmicky features that may seem opulent to the untrained eye. However, true luxury watch aficionados should recognize that the difference between the two isn’t in the numerous amenities offered, but by the sheer quality and craftsmanship that goes into each timepiece.  


There is a difference between “waterproof” and “water-resistant.” While many high-end watches that are waterproof, these are mainly for divers and Navy personnel, and professionals who spend significant amounts of time under wear.  Most luxury watches are water-resistant, meaning washing your hands or walking home in the rain shouldn’t be a problem. Just don’t go swimming with an heirloom quality Rolex or Tag Heuer that boasts “water resistance.”


While using your watch as a night light may be a fun feature that proves useful in dark interior environments or on an airplane, true luxury watches don’t need to rely on this feature. To compensate for this added visual appeal, luxury watches have faces designed for maximum readability and pin-point accuracy.

Terms to Know

Knowing facts about watches is only as good as your familiarity with the terminology watchmakers use. Horology can be complicated, so here are a few basic terms that industry insiders use when referring to different components and features:

  • The movement is the part of the watch that keeps time. It can be mechanical or electronic.
  • Complications are the bells and whistles that add excitement to mechanical movements. Examples of complications include chronographs, calendars, and date and time zone displays. Many watch buyers seek out complications that never actually get used.
  • The COSC, or the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, is the industry-standard organization that tests Swiss timepieces for precision and accuracy. For some serious watch enthusiasts, a COSC certificate matching the timepiece's serial number is a must, although others say it has no relevance as far as quality.
  • A chronograph is a watch that also has a stopwatch function, allowing the user to measure a specific amount of time, rather than just telling the time of day.
  • A perpetual calendar differs from a standard calendar in that it doesn’t need to be adjusted, regardless of the month.
  • Winding refers to the mechanism that tightens the timepiece's mainspring by turning a small dial called the crown or winder. This can be done manually or by using a watch winder.
  • A watch winder is a device that keeps automatic (self-winding) watches running even when the user is not wearing it. This ensures the watch keeps the correct time and date at all times, eliminating the need to reset it after a period disuse.
  • The dial, also called the face, is the primary disk of the watch where the user views the time, date, and other complications.
  • The crystal is the dial's cover.
  • The bezel is the circular piece that joins the dial and the crystal.
  • The case is the timepiece's shell and contains and protects the movement, hands, and dial.
  • The aperture is a small opening on the timepiece's face that provides an indication besides the time. The day, month, or moon phase are the most commonly featured indications.

Immerse Yourself in Horology

The best way to learn more about luxury watches is to beyond learning the basic facts about watches. Take the time to talk to other watch enthusiasts and learn about this enchanting hobby and lifestyle. There is no shortage of fascinating information out there, so spend some time researching each brand's unique contribution to the industry.

Purchase Luxury Watches Online Today

At TimeScapeUSA we offer an elite, curated range of the finest luxury timepieces. Additionally, our expert staff has decades of experience in fine watches and watch winders, and we are committed to providing exceptional customer support at all times. We proudly offer exclusive, exquisite timepieces that are deeply rooted in the 21st century. Call our experts at 1 (877) 525-8880 for expert advice, product information, facts about watches, or anything else. Plan your next acquisition with TimeScapeUSA today.

Craig Zaligson
Craig Zaligson


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