In a world like today where watches are no longer just a tool watch, but a symbol of success, a feeling of accomplishment or perhaps decades of treasured memories, the luxury watch market has really exploded. With as many watchmakers and brands as there are now, it can get quite tricky knowing where the line of luxury starts and ends where ludicrousy starts. With more platforms like Instagram making seeing luxury watches ever easier, it can become very tricky knowing what a luxury watch actually is and what to look out for in one. Today, we’re going to go through all the elements of a luxury watch you need to know about and what they actually are so you can be safe knowing that whatever watch purchase you're considering, you’ll know whether it meets your criteria.

Multiple luxury watchs

Luxury watches have always been a symbol of elegance, craftsmanship, and timeless style. Whether you're an avid watch collector or simply appreciate the artistry behind these exceptional timepieces, understanding the world of luxury watches can be both fascinating and rewarding. The difficulty with defining luxury is that much like the words “expensive” or ‘cheap’, they are relative terms and what may be luxurious to you might not be to another person. For argument's sake, we’re going to remain neutral and look at what most people in general would classify as a luxury watch and the elements it must possess. Hence before we dive into all the luxury watch brands you could consider, we’ll first take a look at all the different aspects of a luxury watch in general so you can decide which brand best suits your luxury watch needs.

The first criteria of a luxury watch 

Most people would agree, a luxury watch does have to be polished to a mirror finish, be coated in diamonds or have ridiculous wrist presence, but it does have to feel luxurious which can mean different things to different people. However, there are a few aspects that most would agree a watch has to fulfil in order to be considered a luxury watch. The element of legacy and history: luxury watches boast a rich heritage that spans centuries and often with historical achievements made. 

From the pioneering innovations of watchmakers like Abraham-Louis Breguet and designers like Gerald Genta to the iconic designs of brands like Rolex and Patek Philippe, each luxury watch brand carries its unique story. 

Exploring this history allows us to appreciate the legacy and craftsmanship that goes into creating these extraordinary timepieces that we then get the fortune to wear and enjoy on our wrists.

Rolex Sky-Dweller With Black Rubber Strap
Rolex Submariner in 41mm With Blue Rubber Strap

A Luxury watch will likely have a movement that represents the quality of the watch itself. One of the most crucial elements of a luxury watch is its movement. A movement, also known as a calibre, refers to the mechanism that powers the watch.

Yes, a cheap Seiko 
movement (not that there's nothing wrong with them!) will still tell more or less the same time as the famous calibre 3235 that beats inside the Rolex Submariner, but it is nowhere near the same standard as the Rolex. High-end luxury watches often feature mechanical movements, which can either be manual or automatic.

Manual movements require you to manually wind the watch in order to keep/increase the power reserve, some find this difficult to remember but others enjoy and appreciate the everyday interactions you have with this sort of movement.

An automatic movement has its own rotor wheel and rotates 
due to gravity and uses kinetic energy to keep your watch’ power reserve filled up so as long as you wear your watch, it will continue to tell the time. Both of these movements tend to be very nicely finished in luxury watches and certain brands like Audemars Piguet will have every piece hand-polished, hence they look like phenomenal pieces of art.

Following on from the movement, complications and other features are all signs of a luxury watch. However, it does not necessarily mean that the more complicated the watch is, the more luxurious it is. Take the forever iconic Rolex Submariner no-date, it simply tells you the time and no more. But the simplicity of itself, how reliable it is, the fact it can tell you the time 300m underwater or cruising in a plane across the sky, something simple yet impeccably well-made is still very much luxurious.

That said, most luxurious watch brands will create watches with complications such as a perpetual calendar, chronograph, moonphase, tourbillon or even a minute repeater (the movement that chimes a tune at a certain time). These movements are incredibly difficult to make and yet alone make them so they can withstand the test of time.

Rolex Submariner in 41mm With Black Rubber Strap
Patek Philippe

Source : Watch Collecting Lifestyle 

Hence the slogan from Patek Philippe is perfect as it summarises everything perfectly. ‘You never really own a Patek Philippe, you simply look after it for the next generation’. Patek Philippe
This means that they create masterful luxurious watches which will not only outlast you but will remain within your family for generations to come. This goes to show the level of craftsmanship that they can achieve and considering the insane complications of their watches, they really do make the dictionary definition of a luxury watch. Each complication adds to the complexity and value of the timepiece, making it a true marvel of engineering and work of art. Of course, Patek Philippe is not the only watchmaker to make watches to this level but their slogan and everything they stand for perfectly summarises everything about luxury watches.

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Materials, often synonymous with luxury

The next thing to consider is materials and the level of craftsmanship used to make the timepiece. What we mean by this is when you pick the watch up, how does it feel in your hands? Can you feel the perfectly cut edges of the case? Not too sharp that it feels unrefined but perfectly defined with every part of the watch case and bracelet feeling like they were made to go together perfectly. Another way to look at it is if you were blindfolded, does it feel like high quality and well built? Luxury watches make sure that the finishing of their watches is very refined and precise making them feel special in the hands and on your wrist. When you handle the watch or try it on, this would be the first thing you’ll notice but almost immediately after if not at the same time will be the material.

Patek Philippe

Source : Prestige Time

How heavy does it feel and how well is that weight balanced? Now, there are plenty of luxury watches that use material like titanium which is a very light material but bears no indication whatsoever that it is of inferior quality at all! But for your standard watch made from steel, you should be able to feel a nice balance of weight evenly distributed around the watch. Luxury watches are crafted using the finest materials available, from precious metals like gold and platinum to high-quality stainless steel, luxury watches are designed to stand the test of time. 

Omega Aqua Terra

They are built so you can hand them down to your children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren! Additionally, many luxury watchmakers incorporate exquisite details such as hand-engraving, gemstone settings, and intricate dial designs, showcasing the mastery of skilled artisans. Not many brands will offer this level of detail but for those who desire pure luxury, there are plenty of watchmakers out there to deliver this level of refined watchmaking.

The value of a luxury watch

Caliber Omega

Source : Fratello Watches

The next element of a luxury watch is very much up for debate and that is its value. Both new and second hand, a luxury product means luxury effort, design and production has gone into crafting it so you can expect to pay a luxury price tag for it. Now there is a very broad range of prices which can be considered luxury and this will vary from one person to another. However, a 50-dollar Casio watch, whilst an iconic and fantastic watch, you would not perhaps associate the word ‘luxury’ with it. Entry luxury watches can start from several hundreds of dollars and rise well into the thousands, tens of thousands and even millions of dollars. The sky's the limit when it comes to luxury watches but you can often use the price tag as a rough and general guide to its level of luxury. It goes without saying watchmakers will have their own markups and desired profit margins which will vary but generally speaking the higher the price, more than likely the more luxurious. It is often, BUT NOT ALWAYS a way to see what materials, costs and level of craftsmanship has been incurred to produce that watch. 

Often a luxury watch is highly desirable and by checking second hand prices, you can see how the majority of people value a watch. Much like a company in the stock market, a watch on the watch market will have its value set by what most people will pay for it. Therefore, you can use this as a measure of seeing how luxurious certain watches are or even watch brands according to the value assigned to them by us buyers, the public. Value is more of a general indication rather than stating because watch ‘A’ is more expensive or increases in value more watch ‘B’ watch ‘A’ is therefore better- no that's not the point. It is crucial to remember that this is really just for your own curiosity, always buy what you personally like and your definition of luxury may be different to someone else's which is totally fine!

Cartier Watch

Source : Italian Watch Spotter

The final aspect of a luxury watch you need to know about is the care and maintenance. For those familiar with cars, specifically sports cars, they can deliver exceptional performance, feel and experience. However, in return they require more maintenance and care and the more expensive the sports care, the more expensive the maintenance. The exact same goes for luxury watches, the more complex a movement, the more prestigious the watch brand, the higher the cost will be for maintenance. But costs aside, they often do not need servicing as often. For example, both Rolex and Omega say for their new 2022 watches and onwards will only need a general service once every decade.

Aqua Terra in 41mm With Orange Rubber Strap

It is important to look after your luxury watch and care for it/them too, try and keep them clean and never exceed their water resistance limit. If the strap is leather then try to make sure you don’t get it wet or wear it whilst doing sports to avoid sweat damaging it faster. A luxury watch is built to be worn so do not be afraid to wear them but just make sure you know where and when to wear them. If you owned a Ferrari 458 Pista and a Range Rover and you were going to go camping in the woods, you’d probably choose the Range Rover as it is better suited to that particular scenario. The same logic can be applied to watches, you get the idea!

And there you have it, everything you need to know about luxury watches, what they are, and what makes a luxury watch, a luxury watch. ZEALANDE offers you the perfect rubber strap option for your luxury watches as they are designed to fit your watch as well as the OEM strap/bracelet/band. For those of you wanting a watch strap option that allows you to not have to worry about scratches, that can add a bit of colour, reduce the weight of your watch and wear and tear on your bracelet, then ZEALANDE has the perfect option for you. There is something to be said about the combination of a luxury watch on a luxury rubber strap, the look and feel it provides is really something special and you can even see many more celebrities wearing their luxury watches on rubber straps. Make sure you checkout ZEALANDE’ fantastic rubber straps for your watch so you can get the most out of your watch this Summer.