Tag Archives: Patek Philippe & Co.

Is Eleven James the Netflix of Luxury Watch Rental? Nope.

Word on the gold-paved street is that there’s a new luxury for less player in town, and the buzz has just begun. Eleven James, dubbed as the Netflix or NetJets of luxury watches, is here to help you live beyond your means for a modest fee. The premise: pay a monthly membership fee for access to a collection of luxury watches that they’ll lend you for two month periods before you can swap it for another luxury watch. Membership starts at $249 for three watches per year ($449 for six) and grants you access to collections “The Afficionado” (IWC, Panerai, Rolex, Hublot, Zenith, Cartier, Jaeger) and for an additional amount “The Connosiuer (all those, plus Patek, Audemars, Vacheron Constantin and Girard-Perregaux).

Eleven James Collection; rent luxury watches

Very Nice [via Eleven James]

My initial thoughts? Waste of money. Why would you throw money at something you’ll never own when you could just take your annual membership costs and buy a pre-owned luxury watch? These watches have all been worn before anyways and while they’re insured by Eleven James, it’s recommended you take out additional insurance in case of “incidents”.

Founder Randy Brandoff, former chief marketing officer of NetJets, insists that his experience with the luxury rental market proves that this is an in demand service. According to Randy via Forbes:

“At NetJets and Marquis Jet, I experienced firsthand how many consumers of luxury products are increasingly interested in access rather than ownership.  Private jets, vacation homes, classic cars, and many other historically prized possessions have all become accessible via various club and shared ownership programs.”

Right, Rando, but I don’t need (or even want, really) access to a private jet, Italian Villa, or vintage Mercedes every day. Maybe every weekend, but not every day. Luxury watches? I want to hoard collect them and treasure them daily, even if I do own 20 and have to bother with reminding myself to switch them.

But it’s not for me. It’s for the guy who’s leasing his Lambo and his mansion. It’s for the guy who already has 10 watches and is cool with paying $1599 a month for the opportunity to play dress up with The Virtuoso collection. It’s for the guy who owns a TAG or maybe even a Sub and has the taste for grail watches but not the budget.

Again, it’s not for me. This company is geared specifically towards men. I get it, it makes sense, but chicks love watches too. And no I don’t mean a diamond studded J12, I mean I think I’d look pretty baller in a rented Milgauss 116400GV or a rose gold and chocolate dial Daytona. It’s nice that “a gorgeous brunette” will deliver it (only in NYC though), but for a format like this, one that oodles of women and female teens have proven they’re very comfortable with, it seems like a misstep not to include us in all the scuba-diving-in-the-Galapagos-with-”your”-Rolex fun. The website does say more collections are pending though, so here’s hoping they can find some US Olympic swimmers to deliver the lady horology.

Rolex Daytona 116515 18k Everose Gold Ceramic Mens Watch

Why, thank you, Cullen Jones, watch delivery right on time (get it?!)

And why are the ladies so comfortable with this concept? Bag Borrow or Steal, Le Tote and, of course, RTR. Eleven James is less like Netflix and more like attainable luxury juggernaut Rent the Runway…which has its drawbacks. If you’re a dude, no that is not the name of a runway model escort service. Rather, it’s how your female Facebook friends can afford to wear a different designer cocktail dress to the seven weddings they attend each weekend. It is pretty awesome, but the dresses’ exclusivity have been diminished thanks to RTR’s immense popularity. There’s a finite number of dresses to rent, so you end up seeing the same Herve Leger dress on four different girls in the same month. Things that make you go “Hmm”: a surge in 24-year-olds rocking $1000 spandex on the regular.

Rent the Runway Herve Leger Naughty but Nice Dress

Have you seen this dress? Yes. Yes you have.

Now, the same thing might not (probably won’t) happen with Eleven James, simply because it’s a hell of a lot more unexpected that you’d be borrowing a $40,000 watch like it’s your sister’s favorite sun dress. But I have a feeling this news is going to spread fast, especially because the company only launched in December 2013 and I’m seeing fairly aggressive coverage of the company on finance and luxury blogs. It’s only a matter of time until Watch Snob goes HAM on this and every trader you know is wearing a different Patek Philippe every two months.

Best Luxury Watches for Men 2013

Time Will Tell When it Comes to Luxury

The concept of wearing a timepiece on the arm began to gain in popularity among the upper classes by the end of the 19th century. Although slow to replace the reliable and ubiquitous pocket watch, luxury watches such as those pioneered by Breguet were already beginning to catch the attention of a growing group of discriminating buyers. While the category of haute horlogerie for these items was still in the future, a solid foundation was in place by the early 1900s. Today, the demand is truly global, with the United States consumption comprising less than 31 percent of the global market.

At the other end of the timepiece market, it was a little less than a century ago that the wristwatch was in the process of becoming a common accessory for the average man. The looming World War and technology were to make the watch a standard item for officers fighting in the trenches. Its proven practicality and affordability made it a mass consumer product by the early ‘20s, and the pocket watch was largely relegated to the status of historical curiosities by the end of World War II.

Time has, indeed, been kind to the growing market for luxury watches. Even during the recent worldwide economic malaise, the global interest in these tokens of success grew by seven percent in 2012, which was the third consecutive year for such an increase, according to a preliminary report by the Digital Luxury Group.

This category of luxury products even has its own trade organization and magazine, the Fondation de la Haute Horlogerie.

Any effort to rank and select key players in such markets raises the issues of which metrics are most important, as both subjective values and objective factors enter the equation. However, general interest and market revenues tell us that there are less than two dozen designers and manufacturers of truly high-end luxury watches. The principle players include brands such as:

According to the study’s data, the following luxury brands occupy the top ranks based on total market sales. However, there is evidence of shifting within these rankings, with newer brands such as Richard Mille and Vacheron Constantin recording the fastest rates of growth. The current leaders by market share are:

  1. Patek Philippe – 23.6 percent
  2. Jaeger-LeCoultre – 12.7 percent
  3. Vacheron Constantin – 12.6 percent
  4. Audemars Piguet – 9.2 percent
  5. Breguet – 7.7 percent

Below, we’ll take a brief look at just ten of these manufacturers that are admired and coveted by many of those considered to be in the highest-end of the luxury watch segment.

Vacheron Constantin Skeleton Minute Repeater

Vacheron Constantin Skeleton Minute Repeater
via The Hour Lounge

With a retail price exceeding $600,000, you won’t see this market leader on many arms hoisting a working man’s brew. The workmanship of this timepiece requires thousands of hours of the finest watch artisans. It boasts a 30-jewel movement with a 34-hour reserve. Its clean design is reflected in the lack of complications. Of course, this is not a watch worn during a marathon. Here you find a piece that provides definitely proof that the watchmaker’s skills are not a lost art.

Girard-Perregaux Opera Three

Girard Perregaux Haute Horologie Opera Three
via Extravaganzi

Another of the watches that will cost more than many fine homes, this option also comes in at a little over $600,000. The supply of this timepiece that plays two separate personal tunes with its miniature carillon will be in greater demand than the supply, which is how the manufacturer that positions itself as the maker of “watches for the few’ likes it.

Bulgari Ergon

Bulgari Ergon
via Amazon

With a price of $15,000 that is more attainable for many, the Egron has clean, curved lines focused on function and regular use. This is reinforced by its stainless-steel case and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and crocodile band. Here is another luxury watch that eschews fancy complications, offering only hour, minute, second, and date functions.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classique Grande Automatique

Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Classique Grande Automatique
via Go Top 10

Still more affordable at $8,200, this entry is nonetheless an exceptional product by a leading luxury brand. Known for its innovations, this timepiece has the ability to swivel or reverse its stainless-steel case. The design has a bit of the retro look, with a rectangular case and prominent numerals. You may not use the reversible feature very often, but it is one way to protect the crystal on this 30-meter water-resistant classic.

TAG Heuer Kirium F1

TAG heuer Kirium F1
TAG heuer Kirium F1

At “just” $3,000, this timepiece fits its manufacturer’s goal of being a favored selection of the active luxury watch buyer. Whether racing in the Le Mans or sailing on the bay, this is a rugged and practical everyday watch that has a total of seven functions, including both analog and digital displays. The other complications, such as dial backlighting and second time zone, are useful to some that compete or conduct business internationally. The water protection will take you to 200 meters.

Richard Mille RM 002-V2 Turbillon

Richard Mille Tourbillon RM 002 V2 Red Gold
via Luxury Bazar

Moving back up the price range, this Turbillon will command just under a quarter-million dollars if you wish to add it to your collection. The look and feel of this striking entry shows why Richard Mille is such a rising star in the luxury watch universe. This model uses carbon nano-fiber construction and its lines reflect that advanced technology. There are a number of functions and complications shared among the separate models and provide the buyer a challenge concerning which to prioritize. This is a watch that will be worn for more than special occasions.

Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti Type 370

via Exquisite Timepieces

Priced just a little higher up the luxury chain at $274,000, the Parmigiani Fleurier Bugatti is still reasonable compared to what you would pay for its automotive inspiration, the Veyron by Bugati. Interestingly, the crystal and face are slanted as an acknowledgement of that source of design, and the angle allows a driver to check the time without moving his hand from the wheel of the presumably fast-moving auto. The movement wheels are even replicates of the early Bugati wheel rims. The white-gold case lends a simple elegance to the final product.

IWC Grande Complication

IWC Grand Complication
via IWC

Coming in at $215,000, the IWC Grande Complication is limited to production of no more than 50 timepieces a year. The device earns its name with numerous functions that are supported by 659 parts in the 75-jewel watch that is also self-winding. Of course, you’ll find a chronograph, as well as a perpetual calendar and moon phase display. Multiple settings are available for the watch to chime, from on the hour to every minute.

Patek Philippe Celestial

Patek Philippe Celestial
via Luxist

Some will consider this entry, the Patek Philippe Celestial, a bargain at just under $200,000 simply because it is made available by the leader of the luxury watch market. Another watch in the grand complication category, it includes an innovative sky chart to track more than most of us can appreciate about celestial movements. With 301 parts and 45 jewels, this watch reports a 48-hour battery capacity.

Breguet Double Tourbillon Classique Grande Complication

Breguet Double Tourbillon tournant
via The Watch Quote

With a retail price of $329,000, this design by the grandfather of luxury watch makers is both classic and innovative. The rotating center plate is turned by hand and it has a case of platinum, protecting a total of 588 parts in a 69-jewel movement. A nice touch is the solar system hand engraved on the movement’s back.

Even if these watches are out of your current budget, you’ll enjoy stopping in and viewing them at your favorite retailer of fine and luxury watches.

A History of Watch Complications

To some, the first watch “complication” was the seconds hand. Of course, over the centuries of watchmaking, the complications have only compounded, growing more and more advanced. With skilled artisans still creating the majority of luxury watch movements, the feats of modern watchmaking are even more amazing. While technology races ahead at the speed of light, it’s important to remember that many of the fine Swiss manufactures employ human hands to craft the most elegant and complicated of movements. So that makes modern watch complications even more impressive – or not, depending on how you look at it. After all, the last several hundred years of watchmaking involved a skilled watchmaker laboring away at a movement made of the tiniest parts somewhere in a Joux Valley workshop. And that’s just when it comes to our modern interpretation of watches. The art of timekeeping dates back tot eh dawn of man, with ancient Egyptians using a 24 hour method of tracking the time on their sundials. Once the watch became more portable, watchmakers needed to devise a way to keep the watch moving, regardless of shifts in temperature that wreaked havoc on springs. Hence the chronometer was born and created more durable and reliable timepieces. From there, the ‘dead second’ complication kept more precise time, allowing the watch to “tick” rather than sweep through time, also allowing the wearer to keep shorter amounts of time, and was a precursor to the chronograph. Meanwhile Breguet was busy pioneering the first Perpetual Calendar, one that wouldn’t be disrupted by Leap Years. And then, the chronograph was born. Perhaps the most important moment in the history of watch complications, the chronograph function finally allowed the watch use of a second hand that functions independent of the hour hand and its time-keeping function. Invented to time horse races, the chronograph marked a quantum leap forward in timekeeping in 1821, with the next boldface moment in watchmaking coming over 100 years later. In 1945, the date function came into existence, allowing the watch’s wearer to remember the date at a glance. The pioneer? None other than Rolex. And these are just the timekeeping complications! This gorgeous inpographic shows off other great moments in Watch Complication History, covering astronomical complications and striking complications. Check it out below!

A Brief History of Watch Complications Infographic

Antiquorum’s Used Watch Sale Makes Over $3 Million

Bidders bid on over 450 watches in Antiquorum New York’s September auction for Important Modern and Vintage Timepieces last week. These sales totaled over $3.6 million. The bids were made via commission, telephone and internet and they were from the UK, Asia and the Middle East. There were modern limited edition time pieces in excellent condition that were purchased for amazing prices.

Jaeger Le Coultre Reverso 210.1.15 18k Yellow Gold Mens Watch

Jaeger Le Coultre Reverso 210.1.15 18k Yellow Gold Mens Watch

The highest paid item was sold for $255,750. It was a Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Gyrotourbillion 2, No. 04/75. This time piece is a limited edition reversible pink gold watch. The visible Jaeger-LeCoultre caliber 174 with inclined 2 cage multi-axis spherical tourbillion. Other higher paid items were a Greubel Forsey Double Tourbillion 30 degree Vision, No. 58 was also sold for $219,750. An Audemars Piguet Ref. CCW1 Carbon Royal Oak Concept 2 was sold for $141,750 and a Hublot Ref. MP-02 Flying Tourbillion Titanium PVD Coated timepiece was sold for $147,750. A Patek Philippe Ref. 5070 Chronograph in yellow gold and one of the same brand with Ref. 5940 Perpetual Calendar in yellow gold were both sold for $62,500. The Patek Philippe watches are usually sold for the higher prices at these auctions.

There were timepieces with interesting stories behind them that were sold for higher prices as well. There was a lady’s Swiss gold pocket watch that had been given to HRH Princess Alice, who lived between 1843 and 1878 for her 12th birthday, by her parents Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. This incredible historic piece was sold for $26,250. Pieces such as this one always attract attention from buyers all over the globe, and create highly competitive bidding, as this one fetched over 8 times its worth. Antiquorum’s October 26th auction in Hong Kong is expected to feature a great collection of modern timepieces from Patek Philippe, Jaeger-LeCoultre and A. Lange & Sohne.


Patek Philippe 5110G World Time 18k White Gold Watch

Patek Philippe 5110G World Time 18k White Gold Watch

The Antiquorum is the world’s premier auction house for modern and vintage watches. They have a reputation for having the best information in the industry and only employ experts in the field of watches. It started in 1974 in Geneva and has generated its own place in the world of auctions by creating an atmosphere for a collector’s market for watches worldwide. They always obtain the highest bids, and are the only place to find exceptional timepieces that have set world records for their rarity.

Pre Owned Vacheron Constantin Platinum and Diamond Pocket Watch

Vacheron Constantin Platinum and Diamond Pocket Watch

As a great source for these collectors, the Antiquorum started selling these timepieces at auction in the early 1980’s, and ended up making an exciting market place for these sales. Some years later, the themed auctions were started with the Art of Patek Philippe in 1989, which was the 150th anniversary of the company. These themed sales are offered regularly where collectors and watch authorities can gain knowledge on each line. World records have been set with the Vacheron Constantin, the Tour de l’Ile, and the King Fouad I. Another record was set for the Mondani Collection of 309 Rolex watches in 2006.

There are about 10 auctions held each year in Geneva, New York, and Hong Kong, with previews held in other major cities around the world. There are also Antiquorum offices and agents in Paris, Milan, London, Munich, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Moscow. These offices are staffed with the most knowledgeable staff and experts, providing the best service available to any auction house in the world.

Watch of the Week: Breitling Chronomat Evolution K13356

It’s our favorite time of the week! Well, it’s our favorite time of Monday, at least, when we celebrate the end of day one of the work week with a fabulous featured watch. We’ve been stocking up on plenty of super high-end luxury watches lately, with appearances from the usual suspects. More second hand Patek Philippe watches than you can shake a stick at, our usual abundance of pre owned Rolex watches, and even a completely iced out Audemars Piguet we’re saving for a special occasion (like next Monday, perhaps.)

But with Patek Philippes stealing the show left and right, it can sometimes be all too easy for us to forget about the vast stores of gorgeous Swiss Luxury watches from the other brands. Namely, Breitling. This week, we scooped up not one but two jaw dropping pre owned Breitling watches. Rare to the secondhand market right now, the Breitling Chronomat Evolution is a late model Breitling that most owners are not ready to give up. This lucky buy reminded us that Breitlings are here to stay in a big way, can hold their own against the bigger brands, and are a horological force to be reckoned with.

Breitling Chronomat Evolution K13356 Mother of Pearl Diamond Watch

Breitling Chronomat Evolution K13356 Mother of Pearl Diamond Watch

Behold, the Breitling Chronomat Evolution K13356, studded with factory diamonds and set in 18kt yellow gold (we also have the white gold version for those who prefer silver metal). Just one look at this watch is really enough to stop you in your tracks, but because we’re watch obsessed, allow us to delve a little deeper. At first glance, our eyes snap to the perfect diamond bezel.

Yellow gold Breitling Chronomat Evolution with mother of Pearl Dial, used Breitling Boca Raton

But once we’re past the bling (approx 1.14 carats worth to be precise), the features start to shine. Notice the boldly carved big markers on the bezel. The incredible mother of pearl dial somehow manages not to be overwhelmed by a date window, tachymeter, factory diamond markers and three subdials. Gold tone sub seconds, 30 minute counter and 12-hour counter subdials are a feast for the eyes on this chronograph.The case, crown, pushers and lugs are all brilliantly polished in 18kt yellow gold, along with the gorgeous bracelet.

Breitling Windrider Chronomat Evolution

The beautiful Pilot bracelet is clasped with a Breitling stamped (obviously) deployent clasp. The relative hugeness of the case is extra obvious from this point of view, and the hefty case size (a solid 44mm) is complimented by nicely proportionate 22mm lugs. But the case back itself is worthy of its own close up.

Used Breitling WindriderA pushed down case back stamped with Breitling regalia houses the powerful Breitling 13 movement (aka the B13 automatic mechanical), an automatic movement with a ETA Valjoux 7750 base to service its chronograph and date functions. With a 42 hour power reserve, the hefty watch gives you exceptional leeway – if you can bear to have it off of your wrist for that long. But when it’s absolutely necessary, fear not – this Breitling Chronomat evolution in 18kt yellow gold comes with box and papers, so you’ll always have a place for safekeeping.