American styliste Michael Kors said ‘the ultimate luxury is time’.
Mankind has always attempted to measure time. Four thousand years ago, the first measuring devices appeared. Today, the watch has become an inevitable fashion accessory, closer to a wrist jewel than a tool to measure the passing of time. Easy to move, and pleasing to the eye, the watch has slowly but surely managed to establish itself as a necessity in our everyday life but also in the luxury sector, where they are incessantly rethought by the greatest creators. In this domaine, OhmyLuxury.com is an expert and provides horology lovers, professionals or individuals, who wish to have current news on luxury watches with the best information.
The luxury watch, a legend on your wrist
From the Antiquity to the creation of the first watches
Long before the invention of the first spring-driven clocks, gnomons, a piece of wood planted in the ground perpendicular to the horizon, was used as an indicator of the hour of the day. Inspired by this technic, sundials were put together, this time against a wall and on a graduated and decorated frame.
The inventions multiplied with time and throughout the world, when, in 1275, the first mechanical clock was created. This innovation was the basis for future watches.
The watch as we know it nowadays, was officially created in 1571 when the count of Leicester offered Queen Elisabeth the Ist an armlet to which a small watch was attached. Over a decade later that this famous wristwatch was finally mass produced before the interest in it declined. It was during the 17th and 18th century, that the publics interest was renewed. At that time, mainly for women, the bracelet watches was made available as a pendant, hence closer to jewellery. As for the fob watch, it was undoubtedly the most popular model up until the 20th century.
The modern watch
From the beginning of the 20th century, the watch imposed iself as a necessity within the military gear. However, they were primitive models since the traditional bracelets were too expensive and too fragile. Accordingly, the creation of the wristwatch, strictly speaking was born in 1904, created by the french François Louis Cartier (Cartier) and the swiss Hans Wilsdorf (Rolex). It quickly appealled to the public and in 1914, despite being a rather novel accessory, it was increasingly popular on the streets and with the soldiers of the 1st World War. The conflict played a major role in the popularisation of the watch which had a long-lasting effect on the men and women of the 20th century.
More and more powerful, the watch is a perfect example of precision and stability. Taking on essential qualities such as water resistance, shock resistance and other additional functionalities: calendar, alarm clock, moon phases, timer or even a compass.
Watch manufacturers continually innovate and rethink their models to seduce more individuals. Hence, in recent years, watches enveloped themselves in sets of precious stones and more resistant high-end materials. The luxury watch as we know it was born.
Luxury & Horology
At its beginnings, the watch was a finery only accessible to royalty and aristocracy. Then, during the 1st World War it became very popular within the working-class because of its practicality, resistance and preision. Today however, the watch has truly morphed into a jewel made to highlight your wrist and brands like to offer a wide range of models each season. Number of actors stood out from their fellow actors during this race for innovation. The family owned company that is Cartier, born in 1847, specialised in jewellery and horology. On November 12th, aviator Santos -Daumont for whom Cartier had designed a watch 2 years previously, breaks the altitude record for an airplane by achieving 220 metres. At his arrival, he looked at his watch, definitively establishing Cartier’s reputation. Since then, the company focuses on the luxury sector as showed by its 2007 collection ‘Haute Horlogerie Cartier’.
Symbol of prestige, watches are now exceedingly reliable, resistant but also precise as shown by the Rolex certificate. This certificate originally reserved for navigational instruments distinguishes the Rolex watch from other watches by making it not a simple tool but a collector’s item.
Quartz watches, renowned for thair mechanismes, were designed and mass-produced in 1969 by a French Company named Lip. The group previously illustrated itself as an innovative specifically with the launching of the famous Lip Timer and the Electronic, first electronic watch with diode.
Other pioneers such as Baume & Mercier, created in 1830, participated in the rapid expansion of luxury watches. Nonetheless, this sector is not limited to the historical watchmaking houses. Recentlys Kairos has managed to once again surprised its devoted fans with the first connected luxury watch.
Luxury watches: an accessory for Mr and Mrs
Luxury watches for women: a symbol of femininity
Firstly seen as a very feminin wrist ornement the watch takes a more supple and delicate appearance. Forgotten after the 1940s, the luxury watch for women managed to once again conquer the female heart with fine and elegant models. Indeed, the glamourous Chanel J12-365 recently captivated the female gender with its white or black ceramic case complemented by a steel of beige gold of 18k gold alloy developed exclusive to Chanel.
For Khesis and Chaumet, the companies focused on the creating watches akin to jewellery by dressing their models with exquisite steel and cristal frames. Increasingly bewitching models, elegance and quality are key in the market of women’s luxury watches.
Luxury watches for men: a long tradition
Certain brands creating models for men have become legendary over time. The best example would evidently be Rolex. With its large frame and thick dial, Rolex’s luxury watches for men is today a symbol of virility and success which any collector would dream to possess.
From the more basic models such as the TanK MC and the Pasha by Cartier to the most avant-garde, including the innovative Villeret Perpetual Calendar by Blancpain, luxury horology for the male gender is always changing, offering a wider range of models more impressive and alluring than the previous.
Luxury watches in numbers
– The first timepiece was created more than 4 millenias ago.
– 1728, its the number of pieces which make up the famous ‘Calibre 89’. Created in 1989 for the 150th anniversary of the Patek Philippe House, this watch is the most complexe watch to ever exist.
– 40 million euros, its the estimated price for Graff’s most recent creation. Set with multicolor diamonds, this 104k watch is the most expensive watch in the world.