Over the past few years, many women have discovered watches as an integral part of their look and have started creating their own watch collections. If you are one of those who has been bitten by the watch collecting bug and are already buying watches but want to boost your collection to rival other women watch lovers, we’ve got a few tips for you.
1. Set your budget.
The very first thing to think about when starting a watch collection is your budget. Obviously, you will be paying more money for watches with small complications, watches with big names (such as a Cartier Ballon Bleu), or watches with more diamonds or gemstones than for a basic timepiece, such as a TAG Heuer, Movado or Baume & Mercier.
2. Diversify your watch style.
Every basic watch collection should consist of four to six essential timepieces, which, if you’re a seasoned collector, you probably already have covered. Those include at least a couple of good everyday work watches; a sporty weekender that reflects your activities or hobbies; and a nice dress watch maybe even with some diamonds.
When you’re ready to graduate into a more serious collector, experts suggest punching up your watch wardrobe with some variety. For instance, if you already have several watches for daytime, such as a three-hand from Omega or a Rolex Datejust, consider adding a bolder, less classic look to your repertoire. (Variety is the spice of life, after all.) A Cartier Roadster is a fun choice or even the Bulgari Serpenti watch, where the coil bracelet of the snake watch wraps around your wrist.
Similarly, if you have several strap watches, explore the concept of adding a colorful watch strap or bracelet watches, with particular attention to two-tones and mesh.
3. Invest in rare and unique women’s watches.
Many watch experts advise collectors to look to certain genres or styles of watches that tend to keep their value over time. These include “panda” and “reverse panda” chronograph dials (black dial, white subdials or the opposite combination); military-inspired watches (like the smaller and divine Rolex Air-King); certain dive watches from the big names like Omega and Rolex. If you are shopping second-hand (which you should be and see below for more) you may even find a nice steel and gold Patek Philippe smaller sized watch, or a great rectangular reversible Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso. Additionally, women’s watches with special dials or special gemstone settings are a nice genre to invest in and wear.
Alternatively, some collectors prefer to focus on certain brands that seem to be more likely to appreciate in value. Good brands to invest in include the top names already mentioned, as well as Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, and Girard-Perregaux.
Don’t be afraid to buy from a newer, smaller, independent watch brand, either, as they tend to be more creative in their products and are starting to hold their own in terms of resale value.
4. Expand your collection and watch knowledge with watch complications.
Generally, when starting a watch collection, most women play it safe and buy simple three-hand watches and date watches. But to really branch out and build a robust collection, add some complications that suit your lifestyle. If you love to jog, invest in a chronograph, such as Audemars Piguet’s women’s Royal Oak Offshore with rubber clad strap, to time those laps. If you are a busy world traveler, look to the dual time zone watches, world timers and GMTs that are functional and easy to use. For instance, Jacob & Co. has some wonderful Five Time Zone watches bedecked in diamonds.
At the high end of the price spectrum, consider a perpetual calendar watch from a brand like Patek Philippe or Vacheron Constantin. Or go for the gold and invest in a watch with a tourbillon escapement (that compensates for errors in timekeeping due to the effects of gravity on the watch when the wrist is in certain positions). Owning these complications boosts the value of your collection and effectively demonstrates your watch knowledge and passion.
5. Forgo paying full retail and buy second-hand and vintage.
The smartest and easiest way to build a strong collection chocked with variety and complexity is to buy second-hand from a reliable source, like TrueFacet. Look to see if the watch has been inspected and if it comes with a warranty or guarantee. Read the return policies, and, most important, the re-sale policies – because let’s face it: you may want to trade up as you go along.
The key to remember with each and every watch purchase, though, is that personal taste comes first. There is no right or wrong; you choose your own style.
Main image by Lydia Elise Millen.