“Excuse me, what’s the time?” asks a passing stranger at a train station. The woman standing on the platform doesn’t glance at her wrist, but instead pulls a phone from her pocket. “Almost noon,” she says. Even though she’s wearing a watch, she’s not thinking of it as a way to tell time. With a vast array of electronic devices at our disposal—from blackberries and iphones to mp3 players and ipads—a watch is no longer a necessity. The watch’s more practical purpose of keeping time is fading as its popularity as a fashion accessory rises.
Stylish, modern, and vintage watches are now, more than ever, a fashion statement, and certain watch styles are gaining in popularity.
One trend worth noting is that women are putting away their dainty watches for oversized men’s style watches with large faces. The Balloon Bleu watch by Cartier, with sleek metal styling and solid gold incorporated into every model, is the most popular Cartier style at the moment.
Another popular style in women’s watches that has continued through the decades is the bejeweled timepiece. Women love watches decorated with diamonds and precious gemstones. One great example is an Art Deco Platinum, Diamond and Gem-Set Smoking Watch by Chopard, featured in our upcoming June 14th, 2011 Fine Jewelry auction, and estimated at $15,000-20,000. This watch was designed in 1920 and depicts two chic women smoking. While smoking may now be considered a fashion “no,” wearing a watch like this is definitely a fashion “yes.”
It’s likely that men collect fashionable and vintage watches because a fine watch is one of the most distinctive fashion accessories aimed at men. Rolex sport watches, including Sea Dwellers, Submariners, and the green crystal Milgauss are all currently in style. And of course, no discussion of fine watches can neglect to mention Patek Philippe, one of the finest timepiece makers in the world.
Patek Philippe watches are highly collectible and can bring high prices at auction, especially if the watch has quality details or complexities. The perpetual calendar wristwatch was first introduced by Patek Philippe in 1925. This classic watch displays the month, day of the week, and phases of the moon, details that watch collectors adore. One of these Patek Philippe watches is featured in our upcoming Fine Jewelry auction with an estimate of $20,000 to $30,000.
The watch market is very strong this year, especially at auction. What classic or vintage watch would you most love to take home from an auction? Do you wear a watch for fashion or for the time?