Forking out substantial sums of cash on a timepiece is a landmark up there which sits alongside getting your first property (mortgage) and your first grey hair.
Of course, today many people may lecture that your hard earned pound could be better spent on other life commodities such as insurance, furniture and a tailored suit. But, think for a moment; what if money was not an issue at all and when it came to ´luxury extras´ such as watches? A horological no-holds-barred purchase which meant that you could invest in sapphires, crystals and 24 carat gold without feeling guilty, or bankrupt.
According to the international luxury jewellers of Bond Street, there are certain models that defy the hands of time, as well as every day bank balance. During a recent trip on board a super yacht in Barcelona (40 million Euros, to be precise); I got myself thinking the eternal question ´what if money was no object? ´
Of course in the broad world of fashion, there are plentiful opportunities to handle these wind-up works of art, some of which would not leave you much change out of a sizeable mortgage deposit. So, after making a little research, (through an on-line quiz and resentful browse through some of the websites of London´s finest jewellers), these fantastic four revealed themselves to me in all their glory – both visually and financially.
Rolex famously does not manufacture any timepieces with rubber straps, so the popularity of trends such as Sport-Luxe and Ath-leisure got me wondering if this new model was their response to the exponential growth in this luxury sports market.
Oysterflex is a band that looks exactly the same as rubber, but is actually crafted from nickel and titanium (inserts) which are then coated in an elastic polymer (elastomer) which is not only hypoallergenic, but shaped exactly to the form of your wrist for a fit so comfortable that would enrage most Swiss artisans.
Rolex appears to have done some serious research into the ´sport luxe´ market, then came up with its own interpretations. Taking this model´s gold finish for example, which is not rose gold (although it looks to be); it is actually Everose, a bespoke alloy with a touch of platinum to prevent corrosion.
For a touch of 007 tech-elegance, there are additional features on this watch such as a Cerachrom bidirectional bezel and scratch and UV-proof ceramics which Rolex have coated with platinum then scratched off with a diamond across the face (except the numerals which were left for a deeper visual relief).
You would be forgiven for thinking that this is just a gold watch with a slick ceramic bezel on a rubber strap. However, on closer inspection, you will see that it´s not – it´s more a sports luxury obsessed Rolex with a 2236 calibre movement, and we feel all the better for knowing this (even if the price prevents us.)
Oyster Perpetual yacht-Master 37. Available from Rolex, priced £14,750.
If you like to be the centre of attention, then you won´t go far wrong by investing in the Calibre de Cartier Diver with its stunningly handsome blue dial and co-ordinating gold casing. This screams old money gentleman´s style with a more modern outlook.
Calibre de Cartier Diver. Available from Cartier, priced £21,900.
Out of all the beautiful bezels that adorned the pages of the ´International Luxury Rooms´- this one was shall we say, the cheapest. For any gentlemen out there who, despite money being no object, don´t want to be caught wearing Bling with a capital B) or a wrist full of shimmering semi-precious metals fused into a timepiece for any reason (from a fear of looking new money to having a genuine dislike for bright metallics); you can always reach out to Tag’s Carrera Heuer-02T in titanium.
This is Tag is a bezel-ised black beauty and is also what looks to be one of the least investment intensive models on the chronograph market. This watch screams understated luxury, so you can rest easily in front of the magpies, unless they are ´really´ in the know.
Tag Heuer Watch Carrera Heuer 02T Tourbillon. Available at Jura Watches, priced £12,100.
My father once told me that good taste is something you acquire with years; and after 40 years, I believe that I have the fundamentals well stored. An appreciation for fine minerals and metals never passes me by, especially when it comes to the more classical timepieces as a hint of elegant gold will always get my attention.
Since money is no option for this article, a trip to Monaco to acquire the Audemars Piguet Royal Oak will always take my card of preference. Of course, it is indeed rather ostentatious, but if you sit this beside its unrivalled Swiss prestige and sheer quality then as time pieces go, it is probably one of the best investments ( for quality and price retention) that you can acquire.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak. Available at The Watch Gallery, priced £40,500.