I have been interested in watches since my early teenage years. However, after really jumping head first down the rabbit hole of the watch world a couple of years ago, I feel like my goals have changed considerably. I realise I am pretty much at the beginning of my journey and fortunately - or unfortunately - I don’t think I’ll be giving it up anytime soon! The CEO of the Geckota Group has asked me to document my journey as we realise many readers may have been or are in a similar situation.
The Seiko 'Dracula' SRP313J2 - part of the "Monster" collection - Credit WatchGecko
Apart from some inherited pieces, my collection is small but somewhat varied. Consisting of brands like Rotary, one being my first watch that was my Grandads and the second a 17th birthday present from a loved one. I’m a Seiko monster enthusiast, more of that in a previous feature of mine. I feel like there’s always room for Seiko in a watch collection.. of course some Casio and G Shock, Oris, Bulova and a Helm Vanuatu which allowed me to dip my toes into the microbrand sector.
Where I’m heading
It has become apparent to me that as a collector there a very few watches I feel I would definitely add to my collection immediately if they were available and affordable for me. This is not to say I am not open to trying and buying different watches but some watches today are not as affordable as they once were. At the age of 25 I am now at the stage of my life where buying a wider range of watches is a possibility, I feel next in my sights is a luxury watch purchase.
As you can imagine, I have been considering various brands for some time. It’s very easy to consider watches you might like to pull the trigger on, along with countless YouTube videos and reviews. This is all well and good but as I’ve mentioned before watches are certainly not inexpensive items, especially when considering a luxury watch brand. So, on my quest for a luxury watch there are some factors to consider:
I find the above to be the three main factors that keep flagging up. Can I afford the watch? Does the quality back up the cost? If I’m happy with the first two factors, can I actually get one?
What am I considering?
What do I want my first luxury watch to be? I’m looking for something that is a good all-round quality timepiece that can be worn in many - if not all - situations, with a timeless aesthetic. I plan for this one to stay in the collection for the foreseeable future.
First up is the Rolex Explorer reference 124270.
Rolex Explorer - Credit WatchGecko
In my opinion a great all round watch, 36mm in size perfect for my 6 ¾ inch wrist, 100m water resistance and rugged enough to be used as a Rolex should be used.. as a TOOL watch! The Rolex Explorer has been an icon since the 1950’s with the original seed for the explorer being sown in 1952, the year Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay summited Mt Everest.
Rolex were insistent on their watches going along for the climb, and so in 1952 they provided British mountaineers with Oyster watches. The Oyster watch ultimately became the Rolex Explorer.
Rolex Oyster Perpetual - Credit WatchGecko
Many enthusiast believe the Explorer was the original James Bond watch due to the original writer of the novels Ian Fleming choosing to wear one as his personal timepiece. What’s not to love… However, I’m not sure how likely this option would be given the “availability” factor I was talking about. The Rolex Explorer is also the most expensive watch I am considering and therefore a second factor of “cost” enters the equation.
The next contender is the Tudor Black Bay 54 reference M79000N-0001.
Tudor Black Bay 54 (still sealed in film) - Credit WatchGecko
A modern dive watch with vintage design, produced by a brand doing great things in the industry as of late. The Tudor Black Bay 54 was released at Watches and Wonders this year and its certainly caught a lot of attention, I can see why! The 54 calls back to their reference 7922 Submariner which was released in 1954, the 54 pays homage to 7922 with a smaller and slimmer case size of 37mm diameter 46mm lug to lug and a thickness just over 11mm.
I recently visited the Breitling boutique at Meadowhall Sheffield in hope of trying on a model that had peaked my interest.
The Top Time Deus reference A233112A1A1X1 is a stunning limited edition piece of 2000, the Top Time has rich heritage being originally launched in the 1960’s.
Breitling Top Time Deus 2023 Edition - Credit WatchGecko
Kalum, the member of staff I got chatting to advised me that the Top Time Deus was not currently in the boutique. Due to the limited amount produced, these pieces are not always in store. Kalum took my details and advised me he would get in touch if one could be located, I left the store thinking I may hear something in the coming months or maybe not at all due to their limited production.
Inside the beautiful Breitling boutique at Meadowhall Centre - Credit Breitling UK, used with permission.
Much to my surprise I received a call a couple of weeks later to say the Top Time was in if I’d like to get hands on with it, the watch was absolutely stunning and everything I love about Breitling. Unfortunately, it was not the watch that filled the spot of my luxury timepiece, purely due to my criteria for an all-round more tool orientated watch. However, the service I received was nothing short of brilliant, Kalum’s knowledge and passion for the brand made it difficult to say no to the Top Time Deus. AD’s can get a bad rap, but I can’t praise Kalum and the staff at the Breitling Boutique enough.
Since being part of the WatchGecko team, I have been fortunate enough to get hands on with many brands. This has helped me remove the big brand goggles and consider other quality brands such as NTH and Formex, I have handled the Formex Reef extensively and its built quality superb for just shy of £1900.
Formex REEF on ZULUDIVER Military Nylon - Credit WatchGecko
I regularly catch up with my good friend and colleague Richard, you guessed it, the topic is watches! Richard often tries to talk me out of Rolex having come from a different era of Rolex, Richard purchased his Rolex Explorer 2 for £2700. I can’t deny I do feel like I was 15 years too late to the party, the soaring prices and extensive waitlist do leave me feeling a little disheartened.
Rolex Explorer II- Credit WatchGecko
However, with that said, I know this is going to be an extremely fun and exciting experience, where ultimately I will end up with a fantastic watch. The journey of purchasing a luxury watch continues, I will continue to document this journey and provide updates as I reach milestones, make decisions and ultimately purchase a watch!
These are my thoughts and I would really love to hear yours along with any suggestions you might have surrounding the luxury watch market.
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