Building A Watch Collection Over Time

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Courtesy of Christie’s

World Bride Magazine is honored to have caught up with Eric Wind, Vice President and Senior Specialist of Watches for the legendary Christie’s auction house. We were beyond impressed with how he was so well versed in not only the various collectible timepieces, but the history of each brand. It was a pleasant surprise and honor when Mr. Wind accepted our request to share with our readers the worth of time and a timepiece, and what a watch will mean to men/women at different stages of their lives. Below are the words of a master:

Watches should be more than just a fashion statement – they are an investment and a legacy to leave for the future. At Christie’s, we help everyone from those seeking to buy their first watch to those seeking to find the right timepiece to add to a distinguished collection. Whether in one of our live watch auctions held twice a year in New York, Geneva, Hong Kong or Dubai, or one of our online auctions held on average every other month, we are eager to help our clients, who range from their teens to their 90s, to find the right timepiece. The beautiful thing about watches is that if you pick the right pieces and purchase them at the right price, you may see financial returns that outpace your stock portfolio and be something for future generations to treasure and enjoy.

The following suggestions will assist; if your venture strikes it big and you suddenly become a billionaire, perhaps you will want to buy all of these at once.  These are some quick thoughts on what may be appropriate purchases at four stages of life, for both men and women.

Age 25 – Rolex Datejust / Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso / NOMOS Zürich Weltzeit / OMEGA Speedmaster

 

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Courtesy of Rolex
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Courtesy of Jaeger-LeCoultre
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Courtesy of NOMOS
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Courtesy of OMEGA

At this point in life, it is all about building a collection with a classic watch that will never go out of style and that is appropriate for anything. All of these as basica models in steel are all under $10,000 and significantly less in a vintage, used or pre-owned version. Whether vintage or new, the Rolex Datejust is a timeless and durable model – it can be worn just as easily with a suit or dress as with jeans and a t-shirt. The Reverso is just as timeless – perhaps slightly more formal given that they are typically found on an alligator strap, it is also a watch built for anything. Make sure to go for one with a mechanical movement for something that can be used for many generations in the future. For something slightly more uncommon, the watches that come from NOMOS in Glashütte, Germany have won legions of fans from lovers of watches for their strong commitment to minimalist design and their excellent approach to watchmaking. The NOMOS Zürich Weltzeit is an appropriate watch for a frequent world traveler who wants to keep track of time in two places. And the OMEGA Speedmaster will forever be considered one of the great chronographs of all time for its functional aesthetic, reliable mechanics, and the fact it has for decades accompanied and helped American astronauts, from walking on the Moon to timing a burn that saved the astronauts on Apollo 13.

Age 35 – Audemars Piguet Royal Oak / Patek Philippe Nautilus / Lange 1

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Courtesy of Audemars Piguet
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Courtesy of Patek Philippe
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Courtesy of A. Lange & Söhne

These three watches are all modern classics in their own right, just slightly up the food chain in terms of price, although pre-owned versions can often be had far below their retail prices. The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak and Patek Philippe Nautilus watches both feature integrated bracelets and were conceived by the amazingly talented designer Gerald Genta in the 1970s. They created a new category of luxury steel sports watches that remains as relevant as ever today. The Lange 1, upon its introduction in 1994, was the watch that brought back great watchmaking to Germany and remains the quintessential classic German dress watch. Christie’s auctions often have examples of each of these iconic watches, and plans are underway for our upcoming special thematic auction dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the Nautilus this fall, with 10 examples offered in each auction location: Dubai in October, Geneva in November, Hong Kong in November, and New York in December.

Age 45 – Vintage Rolex Daytona  / Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar 

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Courtesy of Christie’s
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Courtesy of Patek Philippe

Two watches that are icons in their own categories are the Rolex Daytona and the Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar. A vintage Daytona remains one of the most desired in-demand and recognized watches in the world. Whether a basic reference 6239 or 6262, which may run around $30,000 in one of our auctions, to the iconic versions named after Paul Newman that can stretch into the 6 and even 7 figure range,Christie’s can work with you to find the right example. Likewise, the Perpetual Calendar watches made by Patek Philippe are true icons, whether those from the 1940s or those from today, in many different metals.

Age 55 – Patek Philippe Perpetual Calendar Chronograph 

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Courtesy of Christie’s

When many lovers of watches think of the quintessential “grail” watch, they think of the perpetual calendar chronographs made by Patek Philippe. Again, there is incredible variation in price depending on reference, condition, and rarity, ranging  anywhere from five figures for basic reference 3970s in yellow or even pink gold from the 1990s to seven figures for rare variations of the reference 1518 and 2499. Tracking the value of these vintage examples over time shows incredible growth in value in the reference 1518 and reference 2499 – the type of growth that has changed how many people think about watches as investments.

No matter your stage of life or what level of investment – Christie’s is eager to assist you in finding the right watch for yourself, your spouse or partner. Please do not hesitate to contact us or see what we have to offer at christies.com/watches.

Upcoming Christie’s Watches Auctions:

Online Auction – October 12-26 (See the current offering at: christies.com/watchesonline)
Dubai – October 19 (preview days preceding)
Geneva – November 14 (preview days preceding)
Hong Kong – November 28 (preview days preceding)
New York – December 6 (preview days preceding)
Eric Wind
Eric Wind joined Christie’s in May 2015. Eric previously served as a contributor to HODINKEE, a leading watch publication, where he wrote popular pieces on vintage watches as well as scholarship on the nuances and histories of watches and their owners. He is considered an expert on vintage watch authenticity and analysis across brands. In addition, he has been interviewed in the New York Times and quoted at length in various publications regarding watches. Eric holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service degree in International Politics from Georgetown University. He is fluent in English and Spanish, and is conversational in Persian (Farsi).
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