The World’s Best Watches
The world of luxury watches glitters with rose gold and diamonds. In addition to the gems, certain repetitive patterns called guilloché are used to decorate many watch cases. Fine watches can range up to $1,000,000 and more.
The art of fine watch making is one in which designers combine form and function in aesthetic perfection. The cost of the wristwatch is determined by the movements, the jewels, the fine metals, the length of time necessary to produce the watch, the rarity, the craftsmanship and the artistic design; these intricate factors all affect the price of the wristwatch.
Wristwatches have a long history. The first “arm” watch was given to Queen Elizabeth I by Robert Dudley in 1571. At first, women wore these watches while men continued using the pocketwatch. At the beginning of the 19th century, the military began using wristwatches to coordinate attacks against enemy troops. Louis Cartier and the founders of what would become Rolex, Hans Wilsdorf and Alfred Davis, were early makers of wristwatches for men.
Cartier, Rolex, Tiffany and Bulgari are masterpieces of design in which form and function are part of their aesthetic perfection. Cartier’s Tank collection runs from $8,000 for stainless steel to nearly $200,000 for white gold and diamonds. Rolex watches retail from about $8,000 to $20,000, depending on the case and jewels used. Rolex is also synonymous with high-performance watches used in the rigorous conditions of different sports. Tiffany watches start at the $2,000 price point and range to $22,000 for their ladies’ cocktail watches with rose gold and diamonds. Italian Bulgari watches are known for their beautiful designs, particularly the Serpenti bracelet watch that coils around the arm. The watch is frequently embellished as the head of the snake, and in the Serpenti Secret watch, it’s actually hidden under the head of the snake. Not only are these four houses known for their beautiful watches, they titillate the senses of women everywhere.
Fashion watches are just as stylish as the luxury watches, but because of more modest materials, they’re a fraction of the cost. Michael Kors’ Parker series is approximately $160, with Swarovski crystals replacing the costlier diamonds. Movado watches are known for their flat faces with one gem indicating twelve o’clock. Kerry Washington has been the spokeswoman for Movado for years, and as Olivia Pope in the TV program Scandal she wears Movado watches. Most Movado watches are priced between $500 and $2,500.
Fossil watches are in the $200 range. The Cecile combines modern ceramic with Roman numerals for a classy look while the Boyfriend is a chronograph with a leather band for a more casual look. Swatch watches are trendy and bold. They’re designed in silicone and metal; most sell for less than $200.
According to their website, Coach watches are made by a renowned Swiss watchmaker. The styles are as simple and elegant as Coach bags. The Swagger model, in white with a gold-plated case, has the iconic turnlock leather strap of Coach bags. Most Coach watches run around $298 or less.
Betsy Johnson is known for her whimsical fashion. Her BJS slim cognac or white and gold floral watch has large roses on the dial with a leather band. Several of her watches come with animal faces, such as a tiger, owl or cat, on the dial. All have her signature fuchsia second hand with a heart at one end and are priced between $100 and $200.
High-tech watches are available for many sports including diving, mountain climbing, aviation and running. Each sport has its demands, and the watches allow the user to monitor their performance. Runners, for example, use watches to record their distance, route and heart rate, while divers want watches that are water resistant to 200 to 300 meters, or up to 984 feet. Suunto watches are used by mountain climbers who need watches equipped with altimeters, barometers and compasses or a GPS component. These watches are available in all price ranges, from the economical models in stainless steel to pricier models running into thousands. The Nike+ Sports Watch with GPS is around $200, and the Garmin Forerunner 920XT GPS watch, designed for several sports, comes in at $500.
The Apple Watch is the latest smart device offered by this tech giant. The watch, released in April (with delivery in August for some models), naturally was a best-seller. The watch comes in three versions: the Sport model, the Apple Watch and the Edition. Each version requires an iOS 7.0 or later and is compatible with the iPhone, iPad and iPod, but the primary differences among the versions are simply cosmetic ones. Apple’s hype says the watch has a digital touch screen, maps and Apple pay, and can receive messages, change faces, receive phone calls, play music and track your fitness, activity and workouts. It’s a tall order, but if Apple delivers what they say they will, this watch will take personal devices to a new level. HLM
Sources: apple.com, betseyjohnson.com, cartier.com, coach.com, gordonsjewelers.com, macworld.com, rolex.com, suunto.com and tiffany.com. Prices noted are approximate.