It is not uncommon for the success of a man to be judged by the quality of his suit, the kind of car he drives and the neighborhood he lives in… but the watch on his wrist is often another indicator.
Wristwatches date back to the late 1800s, a time when they were thought of as jewelry for women only. Originally, they were worn by a clasp on a woman’s lapel. Later, a silk cloth was wrapped around a pocket watch for ladies to wear on their wrists.
The wristwatch as we know it today was first designed by Patek Phillipe in 1868. It wasn’t until World War I that wristwatches became a timepiece for men. Pilots found it too difficult to reach into their pocket to retrieve their pocket watches, therefore, wearing a timepiece on their wrist made more sense.
Ironically, what was once thought to be “women’s wear” is now predominately collected by men. Men often collect wristwatches because they offer more than just a way to tell time.
For the traveler, there are watches offering numerous time zones. For the athlete, chronographs are the preferred option. Divers must have watches that are waterproof.
Not only are there different mechanical options, but you can also collect by maker or time period; or, you can collect different types of movements, such as manual wind, automatic, or electric.
Perhaps you’d like to follow in the footsteps of your favorite celebrity. Breitling watches are worn by John Travolta, Brad Pitt, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Matt Damon and Dane Cook have been seen wearing Tag Heuer, and Paul Newman was known to wear his Rolex Daytona.
Not only are watches small, meaning you can accumulate many without requiring a lot of space to house them, but they also come in a variety of price ranges. Early manual-wind watches can be purchased for as little as $40-50. Asymmetrical Hamilton Electrics can be bought for a few hundred dollars.
It’s not just the lower-end brands that are affordable. If you’ve been eyeing the latest Rolex watch, chances are you can buy one for a lot less if it’s “pre-owned” or vintage. The current “DATEJUST” model in gold and stainless retails for about $4,500. However, a pre-owned model can be had for as little as $2,800.
Regardless of how much you invest in a watch, though, it’s an opportunity to make a statement about your unique sense of style while investing in a collectible that boasts both form and function.
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