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Watch This!

From rookie to big baller budgets, these are the timepieces to watch.

by Venice

By Anoop Daswani | Photography by Jason Nuttle

There’s an entire world of real estate that exists where the returns are outperforming the stock market, cryptocurrency, gold and even conventional real estate. It’s the 2” x 2” area on your wrist typically occupied by a timepiece, and if it happens to be a fine Swiss marque like Rolex, Patek Philippe or an Audemars Piguet, it may also provide you with the best returns. Thanks to ongoing global demand, market shortages due to the pandemic, and social media’s role in increasing awareness of luxury brands, watch investors are enjoying lofty gains. One such timepiece is the Rolex Daytona, the value of which has appreciated nearly 40 percent in the past year.  The Nautilus, which was priced at $3,100 when it debuted in 1976, is now going for a cool quarter-million. So, whether you’re new to the luxury watch world or a seasoned collector looking to make your next big investment, here is a list of some desirable pieces, from entry-level to big baller.

The Rookie

For first-timers, choices abound in this category, but a few standout brands have offerings that will make any newbie look like an aficionado with prices ranging from$4,000-$10,000.  Included in this lineup is the sister brand to Rolex, Tudor, which has many pieces that subtly nod to the company’s history, like the “Black Bay” collection. Omega has great choices in both the “Speed Master” and  ”Sea Master: collections.  Breitling also offers compelling options, especially for motorcycle and aviation enthusiasts. For the ladies, Cartier is a sound choice, with models like the “Tank Solo” and ever-popular “Ballon Bleu” leading the way in both style and fashion. Another standout in this category would have to be from relative newcomer Corum, founded in 1955. With its United States headquarters based right here in the 954-area code, this La Chaux-de-Fonds, Switzerland-based brand has been producing unique styles within its iconic and uber-whimsical “Bubble” collection for more than two decades.

PHOTO BY JASON NUTTLE

The Semi-Pro

For those seeking to step up their watch game and their budget, the clear winner in this category is Rolex, but don’t overlook brands like Hublot, Panerai and IWC. Each of these brands have great options in the $10,000-$20,000 range, with some Rolex models fetching big premiums over the retail price due to ongoing market shortages. Here in the “Yachting Capital of the World,” Corum’s “Admirals Cup” collection offers great style alternatives to the other marine-influenced brands.

The Big Ballers

The pro players in the watch game include a carefully curated list that will be familiar to some but ultimately makes the boldest statement to all.  The iconic ”Nautilus” by Patek Philippe has become one of the most sought-after pieces in the world due to high demand and low supply with up to eight-year waitlists. The simplistic beauty of a stainless-steel watch with an integrated bracelet is perfected in this reference–with buyers expecting to pay $250,000 or more.

There’s also the spectacular gem-set watch known as “The Billionaire,” by Corum, with a price tag of 550-thousand dollars which is perfect for those seeking to have the flash to match their cash.

The “Royal Oak,” an exceptional luxury sports watch manufactured by Audemars Piguet,  is highly sought after with high prices and long waitlists. These $400,000-plus” racing machines on the wrist,” designed by Richard Mille, have even inspired Drake to rap about his ability to “put a Richard on the card.”

What does your watch say about you?

So now that you know what you want, what does your watch say about you? Fashion and style are inseparable, and accessories tend to be extensions of our personality, so it’s safe to say that our watches can say quite a bit about us.

Shaken Not Stirred

The Rolex “Submariner,” for example, is a classic diving watch that made its first appearance in the 1950s and still remains a staple in many high-end watch collections. Its utilitarian style is well-suited to either weekday “desk diving” or scuba diving on weekends. This piece suavely states, “I’m understated, yet refined”, likely why it was the International Man of Mystery, James Bond’s, go-to-gadget.

Treat Yo’ Self

Sporting a Patek Philippe these days is quite the statement, especially stainless-steel versions.  Wearing a watch like the aforementioned “Nautilus,” delivers a sense of confidence of being in the finest company. Rare and elegant, this piece says—no, screams—“I’m the sh*t.”  And, indeed, you would be.

Woke Watches

For the eco-minded adventurer, check out the latest offerings from Breitling’s collaboration with world champion surfer and Florida local Kelly Slater. These unique watches from the “OuterKnown” collection feature materials in the watch that have been made from recycled plastics removed from our oceans. With style for miles, this watch says, “I care. I care about the oceans. I care about the environment.” It also conveys a sense of adventure and love for Mother Earth.

PHOTO BY JASON NUTTLE

Buyer Beware

There are no wrong choices when it comes to choosing the right watch.  If it feels good, and you like the way it looks or makes you feel, then go for it. But first, do your homework.

Finding many of today’s hottest watches can be as easy as going online, but buyer beware, the internet is rife with unscrupulous watch dealers who prey upon newbies and novices alike.   There are also some fair deals to be had, with some credible sites that offer ways to alleviate the concerns that come with making an expensive purchase. If you opt to go the digital route, I recommend investing in third-party authentication. This service has become the preferred way to ensure that the piece you’ve bought on eBay is what it’s supposed to be, though the best method would be to establish a relationship with someone local, a specialty shop who has the ability and the knowledge to guide you every step of the way, thus avoiding the dark world of fakes and other undesired outcomes. Whichever path you take, don’t fly blindly.

About the author: Anoop Daswani was introduced to the world of luxury watches at a young age through his multi-generational family jewelry business. He has spent the last 29 years in the jewelry industry, honing a deep knowledge of the world of watches. During his career, he’s helped build brands like Hublot, Ulysse-Nardin and Audemars Piguet. Daswani’s passion for all things micro-mechanically engineered, coupled with a love of horology, has led him to become one of South Florida’s top experts on timepieces.   A member of the International Watch and Jewelers Guild, the Horological Society of New York he is also the in-house watch specialist at Daoud’s Fine Jewelry in Fort Lauderdale, where you can often find him geeking out over new and vintage pieces. Anoop often hosts private pop-up socials and watch-centric events and shares his musings and timepiece passion in his blog, “Anoop, There It Is!.”

Anoop Daswani can be reached at (954)WATCHES, at Daoud’s Fine Jewelry and on IG @watchbarFTL.

 

 

 

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