A luxury wristwatch is one of the most important fashion purchases you will ever make. Iconic brands, luxury materials, and an impressive history mean that a high-end timepiece is much more than a fashion buy – it’s a style investment. An emotive accessory that helps to define something of your personal taste and add immediate polish to your everyday look.
SO, WHERE DO YOU START WHEN IT COMES TO INVESTING IN A LUXURY TIMEPIECE?
At Swag, we are obsessed with beautifully engineered and designed watches. We understand the complexities of choosing a luxury timepiece and we love sharing our knowledge, helping people to make the perfect decision. We curate a beautiful collection of pre-loved watches from brands such as Cartier and Rolex.
Read on to discover everything you need to know about luxury women’s watches.
WOMEN AND THE WRISTWATCH
The story of the wristwatch is dominated by women. From an early beginning as a beautiful but inaccurate bauble to a modern must-have accessory, it was women who blazed the trail for this fashion essential.
The history of the wristwatch starts with some immediately recognisable names. One of the earliest recorded examples comes from the 16th century when Queen Elizabeth II received an ‘arm watch’ from her admirer Robert Dudley. Later Marie Antoinette commissioned a spectacular diamond ‘bracelet watch’ in typically flamboyant style. The trend, though, didn’t really gather speed until the 19th century after a watch (often cited as the first modern wristwatch) was made by Abraham-Louis Breguet for the Queen of Naples in 1810.
In the coming decades, intricate timepieces worn on the wrist became increasingly fashionable for aristocratic women across Europe, although appearance was much more important than accuracy. Women’s watches gradually became more practical as the wristwatch became an important means for women of all classes to navigate their work and social life. As the 19th century ended, wristwatches for women were increasingly commonplace, while Victorian men remained committed to the traditional pocket watch. The coming World Wars would bring the practical wristwatch firmly into the male fashion sphere but it was women who were responsible for popularising this important accessory.
BUYING A WOMEN’S LUXURY WATCH
You have decided to invest in a special watch. Perhaps you’re indulging yourself after hitting a personal goal or choosing a timepiece to mark a special occasion or anniversary. Whatever your reasons for buying, the choice can be overwhelming.
- Do you choose a classic design or something new and modern?
- How do you recognise a quality timepiece?
- Will celebrity endorsements sway your decision?
- What are some current trends in luxury watches?
The best advice is to stop, take a breath and do your homework. Try to get a handle on the market, key brands, designs and how to recognise quality. We can help too. Our friendly in-store experts are always happy to guide you through the important information you need to make an educated buying decision.
Photo credit: www.lydiaelisemillen.com
Lydia wears the Cartier Santos
One way to ensure quality is to choose a well-known, luxury brand. Rolex, Cartier and Tag Heuer are just a few of the brands you have probably heard of. If you are buying a luxury brand from a reputable seller then you can usually feel confident you are buying a quality timepiece.
You should also take the time to look at the materials a watch is made from. Precious metals and embellishments showcasing high-value gems, like diamonds, are a mark of excellence. Watches in precious metal should have a PVD coating to prevent tarnishing and stainless steel models should have a high level of purity. Other high-quality models may be made from titanium or ceramic. Look for sapphire glass in the watch face as this is much more durable and less susceptible to scratches than mineral or crystal glass.
Another important factor in the quality of a luxury watch is the movement. This can be one of the toughest aspects as a buyer to recognise and understand. Generally, affordable, good-quality watches will have a quartz movement. Mechanical movements are normally reserved for use in luxury watches and represent a higher level of craftsmanship and intricacy than quartz movements.
Finally, take in the overall look and finish of the watch. A high-quality watch should be finished beautifully with balance and symmetry. The more time you spend examining high-quality watches, the easier it will become to spot the tell-tale signs of quality.
WOMEN’S LUXURY WATCH DESIGNS
Finding a watch style to fall in love with is a very personal process. From delicate jewellery watches to masculine sporty styles, there is a women’s luxury wrist watch for every taste. Many brands now offer designs that are unisex, meaning there is no need to be confined to ‘women’s’ collections.
Design factors to consider can include the size and shape of the watch face, strap design and material, colour, and embellishments. A square face can look neat and elegant, where a larger, round face has a sporty utilitarian feel. A bracelet strap crafted in precious metals hits a glamourous note while traditional leather feels simple and chic. There is no right or wrong choice when it comes to selecting a luxury watch design – you simply need to find a watch that fits into your personal aesthetic.
If you’re a fan of all things vintage then you may want to look at our pre-loved collection. All of our watches have been carefully sourced and refurbished to an exceptionally high standard. For a new watch with a classic feel and vintage vibe, take a look at the Cartier Tank or Bremont Solo.
Photo credit: @stephaniegottlieb Instagram
Stephanie wears the Rolex Daytona and the Cartier Ballon Bleu
CELEBRITY WATCH ENDORSEMENTS
Brand Ambassadors can have a significant impact on the energy surrounding a brand and can help customers to connect with a brand personality in a meaningful way. Some well-known celebrity luxury watch brand ambassadors include Cindy Crawford for Omega, Bella Hadid for Tag Heuer and Kate Winslet for Longines.
The choice of celebrity partnership can say a lot about a brand’s values and image – it may help you to uncover the model and brand that speaks to you.
TRENDS FROM BASELWORLD ’17
The Baselworld Watch and Jewellery show is one of the leading watch events of the year and 2017 was no exception. The trade show not only allowed some amazing collections to shine but also pinpointed trends for the coming year.
For women’s watches, there was a noticeable increase in function in the mechanical end of the market, demonstrating that women are expecting more from their luxury watches than ever before. There was also an explosion of diversity in terms of material and design with designers switching up classic models with new and innovative materials and embellishments. Rose gold is still the hottest finish around and blue continues to be a key colour theme for many brands.
It’s hard to pick out our favourite watches from Baselworld ’17 as there was such a wide range of beautiful and unusual timepieces on display. The watches that really stole our heart included the the Omega Speedmaster 38mm “Cappuccino”, with its luscious rose gold detailing and the Tudor Clair De Rose, a beautifully elegant timepiece.
Photo credit: www.fayevorite.com
Faye wears the Omega Speedmaster 38mm “Cappuccino”
Photo credit: www.gosiaboy.com Gosia wears the Omega Speedmaster 38mm “Cappuccino”
CARING FOR YOUR LUXURY WATCH
Once you have chosen your luxury watch then it is important to care for it properly. Not only does this mean ensuring it is properly insured against theft and damage but also keeping it cleaned and well maintained.
You can use a soft, lint-free cloth and a small amount of pure water to bring a slightly dull or dusty watch to life. A baby’s toothbrush is also a good soft instrument for cleaning between the links of a bracelet or other hard to access areas. But for more thorough maintenance it is important to bring your watch to an expert. Most luxury watches benefit from a full service every 1 to 3 years. A jeweller can also repair any scratches that may be present and bring your watch back to its former glory. They can also send your watch back to the brand for any detailed in-house work.
Remember, your luxury watch is an investment and one that is likely to be with you for years to come, so treat your timepiece with the love and care it deserves.