It’s that time of year again when we all rack our brains for the perfect Valentine’s gift. But perhaps this year you’re looking for something a little more substantial than a box of chocolates and a card? If so, then a pre-owned, luxury timepiece might be just the thing to make your Valentine’s Day one to remember.
The ladies watch market doesn’t typically hold its value as well as the men’s. At the same time, we’re seeing a growing trend in women who are interested in larger style timepieces. Rolex typically used to make three sizes of watch – gents, medium and ladies – and we’ve noticed that women are tending to bypass the ladies’ size and heading straight for the medium. So, if you’re looking for an investment watch, then something a little larger might be worth considering. Likewise, women are becoming more interested in watch complications and the vintage market more generally. A Patek Philippe Steel Nautilus is a great option. Alternatively, the Patek Philippe 24 – it’s waterproof, has diamonds and is designed to be worn throughout the day, no matter what you’re doing.
Think about her style and the type of clothes and other jewellery that she likes to wear. Some ladies like to match everything – earrings, necklace and bracelet. Others might be a little more eclectic and prefer mixing bold pieces and colours. Women often have a preference towards a colour as well – some no longer enjoy wearing yellow gold, so perhaps a watch with a steel bracelet would be more up her street. Does she love diamonds? Or, is she a bit more sporty and looking for something more practical? Answering these questions can then help us direct you towards the right sort of brand. For instance, if she’s an adventurous type who likes choice, then Tudor could be a good option. They offer a range of steel and fabric straps and are a good place to start if you’re on a tighter budget. If you’re looking to push the boat out, though, Patek Philippe is always a firm favourite.
Cartier is a lovely option for women. The company makes beautiful cases and bracelets and because of its quality, the watches hold their value very well. You also can’t go wrong with a Jaeger-LeCoultre Duetto, on a leather strap, or a steel bracelet. It has an everyday face with a white dial, which is nice and clear and then it flips over to a black dial with diamonds – perfect for evening wear. They never last long in the showroom because they’re so popular.
Your partner’s lifestyle is a good place to start when choosing the best watch for him. Some men have a lot of evening work events that they have to attend, in which case a great option is the Patek Philippe Calatrava. It’s very traditional and there are different styles and vintages, depending on your budget. For instance, the Calatrava ref 3919 sells for around £8,000. As with women, Tudor makes an excellent choice if you’re looking for something a little more sporty. The Tudor Heritage Ranger is a favourite of ours. It was designed to embody the pioneering spirit of Arctic adventurers – think frozen landscapes and sled dogs.
Typically, our male customers love a timepiece with a complication or two. And if it’s complications that you’re looking for, then you can’t beat Patek Philippe. Over the years, this Swiss watchmaker has picked up more than 80 patents and is renowned for its innovation. Early inventions included the keyless stem winding and setting mechanism – which won three separate patents in 1861 – as well as the slipping spring in 1869 – an early influencer of today’s self-winding watches. It also invented the perpetual calendar complication 1889. Perpetual calendar watches display both day and month and only need adjusting once a century. In 1902, Patek was awarded a patent for its supercomplication – the Double Chronograph. This is a watch that includes two separate mechanisms for the measurement of different periods.
A friend can really help if you’re looking to buy a watch as a surprise gift. We’re seeing more women bringing a partner’s friend along. Childhood/teenage friends can be particularly handy as they tend to have a really good sense of what your partner loves and hates in terms of style, along with how his taste has changed over the years. It can often be worth chatting to his parents, too. As we grow up we develop our own tastes, but never underestimate the power of family memories to influence our choices.
The good news is that there’s lots of choice in the pre-owned market, but the bad news is that this also mean that there are also a lot of fakes about, so be sure to see the watch you’re considering purchasing – either through verified pictures or by visiting a dealer. A reputable dealer will never mind answering your questions. Good questions to ask include: does it come with its original box and papers? Has it been serviced? What guarantees does the watch come with? Most pre-owned luxury watch dealers offer a minimum of one year’s guarantee.
Don’t forget to research ongoing costs, such as insurance, security and refurbishment. Pre-owned watches can sometimes need repairs and it is wise to service them every three to five years. Your insurance company may also require you to buy a safe.
Let us help you make this Valentine’s Day one to remember. To get you started, you can browse our latest collection of vintage and pre-owned watches, or contact the David Duggan showroom directly for more advice.