Buying watches online can be a scary prospect. But it’s actually pretty safe and convenient these days if you know what to look out for.
Brynn Wallner, founder of women’s watch brand Dimepiece and media site Hodinkee, said luxury brands are finally starting to embrace younger audiences. She pointed to New York as one of the leaders in this movement.
The Rolex name is synonymous with prestige and it is the world’s most famous watch brand. It is the must-have accessory for presidents, business tycoons, celebrities and athletes. It’s also the most valuable luxury watch brand based on brand equity. Its success is the result of a long legacy of technical innovation, financial independence, marketing and style.
The company’s founder, Hans Wilsdorf, was a visionary that bet big on the wristwatch and developed the first waterproof, self-winding mechanical movement in 1905. It was one of the major innovations that helped make the modern timepiece what it is today.
Rolex’s longevity also lies in its willingness to evolve and push the envelope without losing sight of what made it a great brand in the first place. It was one of the first brands to create a watch specifically designed for diving and created a model that became iconic after being worn by US flying ace Chuck Yeager.
While other brands have been known to change their designs and models more often, Rolex has mastered the art of subtle design tweaks. That’s why even a new model looks very similar to an older one, making it easy for collectors to recognize the brand. They also have a history of creating partnerships with different events, sport and music, allowing them to stay in front of the public. They’ve been known to sponsor swimmers, golfers, tennis players and equestrian competitors.
Omega may not have the same cachet as Rolex, but their Swiss Made watches are still incredibly popular among watch collectors and mainstream luxury buyers alike. The brand has a long history of important historical and cultural connections, including serving as the official timekeeper for Olympic events and participating in the Apollo moon landings and other NASA space missions. Omega has also cultivated an extensive celebrity following with a stable of Hollywood A-listers, from Cindy Crawford and Daniel Craig to George Clooney and David Duchovny.
Aside from their important cultural and historical significance, Omega makes some of the most well-designed and high quality Swiss Made watches available. Their wide range of options includes everything from sleek, sports-oriented models to elegant dress watches. Some of their most popular models include the Speedmaster Professional and Seamaster series.
For example, the Seamaster 300M is a quintessential dive watch that’s as practical as it is stylish. It has a number of thoughtful details that set it apart from the pack, such as the scalloped bezel and the helium escape valve at 10 o’clock. The latter feature isn’t typically found on dive watches and serves a purpose unique to the Seamaster, as it’s a nod to the watch’s origins as the military-issued watch for divers during World War II.
The Omega X Swatch MoonSwatch is another interesting collaboration that highlights the brand’s playful sense of design. It’s no coincidence that it looks a lot like the Speedmaster, as this is intentional on the part of Omega. It allows those who dream of owning a Moonwatch to experience the iconic case design without spending over $6,000.
In recent years, Breitling has made a point to revive many of its classic lines. The Avenger series, for example, picked up where the discontinued Colt line left off with a collection of big, robust-looking automatic chronographs that look like they could be used by military pilots. The Chronomat line was reintroduced in 2020, and the brand’s Top Time line has also been relaunched with an emphasis on vintage reissues that offer a more automotive appeal for those who don’t want to focus on their brand’s bread-and-butter aviation theme.
In addition to the relaunched lines, Breitling has introduced new models with their in-house Caliber 01 movement, making them one of the only brands in the world to create and produce their own movements. Their current catalog can be loosely divided into diving, aviation, sports, and formal categories spread across eight separate collections.
In 1884, German immigrant Leon Breitling founded his eponymous company in Saint-Imier, Switzerland, focusing on precision stopwatches and other timing devices for industrial and military use, as well as competitive sports. The rise of both the automobile and airplane in the early 20th century fueled his bold technical inventiveness, and led to such groundbreaking innovations as a chronograph with 1/100th-second accuracy, and the first onboard flight timer that could be operated under the pressure of altitude and vibrations. It’s this spirit of purpose and action that continues to define the Breitling brand.
For those who desire the elegance and prestige of a fine timepiece with high-quality craftsmanship, Patek Philippe is the brand for you. From watches commissioned by royalty in the 1800s to hyper-complicated masterpieces of today, Patek has earned a prestigious reputation as one of the best watchmakers in the world. While Big Watch Buyers will cite the company’s high prices, they fail to see that Patek’s craftsmen use age-old techniques to craft each watch as a work of art, transforming dials into miniature canvases and gem-setting into a sculptural art form.
The company’s 142-piece line of watches varies in case size and shape, as well as material—from stainless steel to precious metals like rose gold or platinum. In addition to the timeless and understated Nautilus model, the company also offers a wide range of complication models that include annual calendars, moon phase indicators, chronographs, second time zones, and more. Expect to pay anywhere from 95,000 to 250,000 USD for a Patek Philippe watch depending on the complexity and features.
Patek’s legacy is a testament to its dedication to excellence, and the brand’s countless innovations have helped to shape horological history. Its watches aren’t just mechanical marvels; they’re conduits that connect generations, telling stories of innovation and artistry. Each tick echoes with the passion and expertise that went into their creation. Patek’s extensive archives contain countless extracts from previous owners, including members of royal families and heads of state.
Cartier is one of the oldest luxury watch brands. Founded by Louis-Francois Cartier in 1847, the company is known for its fine jewelry and high-end watches.
In the 1800s, Cartier became purveyor to the French royal court and began catering to a wealthy clientele. By the turn of the century, Cartier opened boutiques in London and New York. Their reputation continued to grow with the coronation of King Edward VII, which spurred a surge in orders for Cartier’s tiaras and other jewels.
Around this time, Cartier also launched their first wristwatch in 1903. The flat-shaped model was designed with the needs of pilots in mind and was called the Santos.
Its design was such a success that the brand continued to produce this model in different sizes, including a mid-size version. This allowed for a wider audience to enjoy this unique and elegant timepiece.
Cartier has a long list of iconic watches that are recognized for their style and sophistication. Whether you are a collector of Cartier’s fine jewelry or looking to add to your collection with a quality watch, there is sure to be a Cartier watch that is perfect for you. If you are interested in exploring the many options available for a Cartier watch, please contact us today. Our experts can help you find the right timepiece for your lifestyle. We look forward to hearing from you!
Tracing their roots to the 19th Century but bursting on the cultural scene at the turn of the 21st, Florentine watchmaker Panerai has established itself as a powerhouse in the luxury sector. Their unapologeticly military-inspired and indisputably masculine designs blur the lines between tool watch and luxury item like no other brand.
It’s easy to spot a Panerai from across the room—not just because of their typically bold sizing but for that unmistakable Italian swagger that seems to seep into their wearer’s skin. It’s this same spirit that draws legions of famous and non-famous fans (who proudly call themselves ‘Paneristi’) to the brand.
While working on behalf of fascist Italy during World War II, Panerai quickly adapted to changing conditions. They developed luminous paint that used the hydrogen isotope tritium, rather than the previously-used radium, which emits far less radiation (as well as a more consistent light). They also invented their lever-activated crown lock to reduce the risk of water ingress through winding crown seals, which often degraded over time or were improperly tightened.
Panerai is still a leader in technological innovation for modern watches. Their flagship Radiomir line is known for its massive Luminor sandwich dials, integrated lugs, and 8-day power reserve, while their newest collection, Luminor Due, debuted in 2018 with thinner cases, smaller complications, and an elegant execution based on vintage models. This model from the Luminor Due is the smallest in the range and at 38mm is ideal for those who want a Panerai but don’t need its legendary water resistance.