So you want a luxury watch?
When I set out to build a finance meme page I never expected that within due time I would be getting inundated with thousands upon thousands of DMs, emails, and messages with different types of watches from all over the world.
I’m naturally a watch guy myself, and, after 4 or 5 years of constantly seeing every type of brand, make, and model you can imagine, I can usually identify a watch on someones wrist within 1-2 seconds. I’m not exaggerating, I have likely received 50 watch submissions a day for 4-5 years.
Watches have long been one of the status symbols of Wall Street and high finance as they exude taste, presence, and style. Nowadays with the push for apple watches and fitbits etc., I feel that it’s a bit rebellious to choose to rock a classic luxury watch given the shift in styles and preferences (most people just check their Iphone for the time these days - gross).
To me a nice watch will always be the ultimate compliment to any outfit and swagger.
I will never forgot the day in 2017 I got my first sizeable finance bonus. The direct deposit hit fro high 5 figures and that initial dopamine was pushed to the side as soon as I realized I was actually going to go drop ~$10K on a watch at the Rolex store on Madison avenue. I was giddy like a child.
When I finally got my Datejust II 41mm on my wrist I felt like a million bucks. The amount of toil and sweat, cold calls, lost trades, pressure, and work that had gone into getting it made it worth so much more than the Rolex name. I had worked for a milestone and accolade and I had at last arrived at my destination. In between champagne gulps, eager agreement from my colleagues, and excitement I paid, received an absurd amount of credit card points and walked back to the office.
For me, my entry into the world of luxury watches was pretty straight forward. I found the brand I wanted, the model I likely wanted, did my research, got the cash, and went to pull the trigger. Everyone’s journey is going to look different, some people get hand me downs, some are gifted nice watches, and some like me, save and go buy them.
Whatever your path or preference, it pays to do your research and then do it again.
Now with that being said let’s get into what we’ll cover here so that I can help bring you up to speed on some of the most common luxury brands, how to think about buying a luxury watch, and what to keep in mind. There’s a lot to know.
We’ll cover my reviews and preferred model picks for the following watch brands (in no particular order):
Jaeger Le Coultre
There are many other brands that we could cover here and everyone is going to have a different opinion but I feel this is a highly representative list based on what I have seen over the years in people’s preferences, running Arbitrage Andy, the go to choices, and demand trends I see.
Again, this is my set of preferences, everyone’s is going to vary but I like to think I have some good taste and knowledge I can pass on to more novice watch folks or seasoned timepiece connoisseurs.
Sorry Breitling and Panerai, but you didn’t make this cut - admittedly I don’t know enough to rank or summarize your offerings and I know too many douche lords that wear your watches. That being said I take Breitling over Panerai.
We'll cover the following watch brands in depth with my preferences on which models shine the most as well as the reputation, adoption rates I’ve noticed, and how well they hold their value. I can also provide some high level benefits vs. shortcomings of the following brands from a holistic perspective.
So we’ll touch on 10 luxury watch brands, the 30+ different models we like from each luxury brand, and throw in some additional brands to check out so you can make the best decision on a watch that is best for you.
The truth is you can spend $4,000 on a luxury watch or you can spend upwards of $150,000 for higher end factory models - excluding Richard Milles, and other incredibly high end artistic pieces that go for $250,000+. It’s largely a pay to play game with luxury time pieces but fortunately there are phenomenal and classic pieces for $4,000 to $10,000 USD.
If you’re in the market for a luxury watch this will be an excellent guide for general direction. If you’re a seasoned amateur horologist this will be a great list to sift through and compare your own opinions and takes with and could serve as a solid refresher given recent market price fluctuations.
Higher end luxury watches saw supply gluts impact their availability during the Covid 19 Pandemic but inflated prices and availability has improved as of late.
I am not a sponsor of any of these brands, this list was time consuming to compile and is expansive - so it’s available to all of our Arb Letter premium subs for $5.00/month (we do 5 deep dives a month at $0.80/pop).
Let’s get it.
I always judge a man by his shoes and his watch.