What is the most important thing to remember when starting a watch collection? Buy watches that you love, that are beautiful to you, and that you will enjoy wearing. Forget about money-making and loss of investment and return. It’s firstly a passion product.
What characteristics are most important: the look, the case, the movement, the design, or the history? They all carry similar value. We often see buyers who are stuck on history and pedigree, and then we have customers who like the look of a watch. The movement is key, particularly automatic movements with complications. That obviously emphasises the world of craftsmanship.
With what watch brand should one kick-start a collection? In no particular order of importance: Rolex, Patek Philippe, Richard Mille, Audemars Piguet, F.P. Journe, and H. Moser & Cie are all lovely brands, and most or all of them are still privately owned.
When presented with options, should a collector always choose the more complicated watch? Complications come at a price, so it’s not always possible. Complications are also often not related to sports design watches. Typically, they are dressier, with precious metals and materials, so I would not say it is collector prone. Longevity is something to keep in mind.
Is there a particular material that a collector should prioritise? Stainless steel carries most preference worldwide. A stainless-steel Daytona is more expensive than a full-gold Daytona. That’s because of the hard-wearing nature of stainless steel. These watches don’t damage or scratch as easily. It’s perceived as a material that lasts much longer.
What are the mistakes to avoid when collecting watches? Things that relate to fashion fads — chasing after colours that might not stand the test of time, for instance. Also be very sure whom you are buying from, and look at the pedigree and history of a watch, and run the serial numbers. Stick to reputable dealers and sales people who could have access to the internals of the watch. A backed warranty is very important.
What are your top three watches? RM35-02 NTPT by Richard Mille, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph Lebron James, and IWC Big Pilot Perpetual Miami.
I have a fabulous collection of valuable and limited-edition watches. Should I wear them or lock them in a safe? Always wear your watches. They are made to be enjoyed, looked at, and appreciated. A watch in a safe is nothing better than gold, diamonds, and art. One of the key factors of watches is that they can be enjoyed. topwatch.co.za
• From the 2020/2021 edition of Wanted Watches, Jewellery and Luxury.