Not every time telling device is a luxury watch – the ones that cost a fortune and take from months to years to be created exhibit a set of characteristics that distinguish them from ordinary everyday watches.
Mechanical watch movement is one of the basic criteria of luxury watches. Mechanical movement is a delicacy that requires watchmaker’s skill and mastery and hence world’s most expensive watches have mechanical movements. Mechanical movements are the result of several intricate watch components put together. It’s the seamless working of small parts that keeps a watch running. Most luxury watches have automatic mechanical movement which means the watch mechanism is smart enough to charge itself by deriving energy from the movement of the wearer. Such watches do not need to be manually wound by hand unless they have long been out of use. Quartz watches on the other hand use quartz battery to power the watch movements. Quartz watches are simplified watches that do not require much intricacy in manufacturing and maintenance but they lack the craftsmanship of mechanical watches and do not belong to the luxury watch range. People pay thousands of dollars for the luxury watches that are emblems of artistry of the horologists – watches with mechanical movements of course. If you are a watch enthusiast, make sure you pay a fortune for a mechanical masterpiece that is created after months of intricate work and dedication and is designed to last for centuries.
Synthetic Sapphire crystal front window
A luxury watch features a synthetic sapphire crystal i.e. front window. It is a thick, tough and scratch resistant material which can endure thuds and falls. Luxury watches retain their original shape over decades, courtesy to the expensive building materials that are used to craft tiny components. Ordinary, inexpensive watches often use mineral glass as cheap alternative to sapphire crystal but a luxury watch can never stand this compromise. After all, you do not expect your expensive timepiece to display scratches and lacerations after a couple of years.
Precious metals along with basic stainless steel
As mentioned above, precursor materials that are used in making a watch determine what the final product would be like. High end luxury watches use precious metals like gold or platinum that give the watches a characteristic outlook and sustain their originality over time. Precious metals also have certain properties that make them ideal for watch making. Where ordinary steel may cause skin rashes and allergies, particularly after coming in contact with sweat and moisture, gold or platinum are gentle on skin and do not react in varying atmospheric conditions. However, use of precious metals raises the manufacturing cost of watch by many folds, making the final product a few degrees more expensive. Some luxury watches use stainless steel with a PVD coating that helps preserve the watch’s color and reduces the chances of irritation. Such watches, obviously, cost comparatively lesser.
High quality luxury watches from leading brands come with certification against certain standards that make sure the article meets with all the claims of the manufacturer. These certifications mark another benchmark of the luxury watches. ‘Chronometer rating’ is a renowned watch rating standard that signifies high quality manufacturing in terms of design, production, components, assembly and precision of luxury watches against a set criterion. It is a fairly high end standard and specific measures are adopted at every stage of production to meet with the criteria of chronometer. Watches that enjoy a chronometer rating are genuinely high quality luxury watches.
There are some other standards that are specific to certain types of luxury watches. For instance, high end diving watches are tested against an ISO 6425 standard which evaluates a watch’s suitability for under water conditions and assures the watch has essential features that are characteristic of a diving gadget. Such standards and certifications establish brand’s trust and reliability.
There are a few things that do not make essential feature of every luxury watch, however, if present, they add value to it. Diamonds and other gem stones adorn certain watches. Particularly, women’s luxury watches are often considered part of the jewelry and are studded with expensive gem stones. Cases of precious metals or straps of original cow or crocodile leather are also among value adding features.
A reliable brand name
You don’t need to be a brand fanatic for everything you buy, but for things like luxury watches, being brand conscious is not snobbery, its wisdom. There are certain watch brands that have established their equity over the decades. They do what they are best at and therefore, enjoy a satisfied elitist clientele. Swiss brands are considered world’s best and most expensive watchmakers. These brands have been making watches for stars and celebrities and have long been symbolizing wealth, status and class. Needless to say, their products are tested against required standards and above all, endorsed by happy customers. Some of the top-notch luxury watches brands that have a legacy include Patek Phillippe, Rolex, Breitling, Tag Heuer, Omega, Rado etcetera.
Don’t be deceived by over functionality!
Luxury watches may or may not be highly functional gadgets. The range of complications a watch offers does not determine its luxuriousness. For instance, some very expensive dress watches are simple, elegant timepieces that fulfill all the criteria of quality and craftsmanship but do not offer many functions other than telling time. On the other hand, some inexpensive, mediocre level watches are highly multifunctional and vice versa. Watch complications are individual brands’ choices and world’s best brands vary greatly in their choice of complications. Patek Phillippe articles often come with new complications but Rolex watches are more often simple – baring exceptions. However, both brands are high rated in the eyes of horologists.
Exclusivity and uniqueness
Exclusivity is an important aspect of luxury watches. Most expensive luxury watches are not made in bulk, nor do they cater to a mass audience. Luxury watches are highly expensive and not everyone can afford to buy them. Those who do, pay for the exclusiveness. Ultra high end luxury watches are produced in limited numbers and target a selective elitist audience. Some special models are highly exclusive and are produced in counted numbers. These limited editions are often highly intriguing for affluent watch enthusiasts.