How to find the watch for you

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Head over heart
So, you have a penchant for fine watches. Perhaps you always have, and are confident in your likes and dislikes, taste and unique foibles; with a significant collection already under your belt. Or maybe you are a budding enthusiast, about to embark on your first big acquisition.

Either way, your eye has been caught by a particularly fine specimen. A £5,700 Rolex Submariner, let’s say. Well, for the most of us that’s a pretty significant purchase, and one you’ll want to be confident in before making. Especially if, in the back of your mind, there’s a nagging inkling that says: ‘but what about that remarkable £9,250 IWC Portuguese I saw last month?’

Try before you buy
A sensible option might be to try before you buy. Not just in store, under the beady eye of an invested retailer; but over the course of a number of weeks – at home, in work, out at dinner and with friends.

Or even to try a few different models – the Submariner, the IWC Portuguese and a Patek Philippe (for good measure). This way you can truly get to know each watch: feel it on your wrist, admire the craftsmanship, familiarise yourself with its functions; and really understand what you are choosing between.

After all, you’d want to give that Vanquish Aston Martin a pretty good test drive before swapping it for your Lamborghini, right?

Options
Well, today’s watch market presents a number of alternative ‘test drive’ options for the prospective buyer.

Firstly, certain high-end retailers operate a ‘Try it’ service, such as the niche Swiss brand, Linde Werdelin. This gives new customers the opportunity to trial the watch they have their eye on for a period of five days. At the end of this time, you can either purchase the watch for the retail price, minus the amount of the deposit, or return it free of charge.

Others, such as D&C Watch Co., offer an extendable trial period of up to a few months. This service is charged at a fee proportional to the overall value of the model, against which customers gain equity at a rate of 50%. The equity earned is then deducted from the cost of the final transaction, should you choose to go ahead with the purchase.

Netflix for watches
Another avenue is to sign up to one of the increasingly popular monthly membership scheme to have emerged over the last few years, dubbed: ‘Netflix for watches’.

Sites such as Borrowed Time, Haute Vault, or the recent start-up: Eleven James, allow watch lovers to select from, and rotate between, a wide range of luxury watches, in exchange for a retrievable deposit and monthly membership fee.

Variety is the spice of life
Not only is watch rental a good way of exploring what’s out there, and achieving greater confidence when making that final purchase; but also opens the market up to those not necessarily looking to buy straightaway, but simply ‘experiment and have fun’.

A winning result
Once you’ve finished exploring and finally settled upon the watch for you; one thing you’ll want to be sure of is: that it’s properly insured.