All eyes are on Switzerland this week, with Baselworld 2016 opening its doors on the 17th March. In anticipation, Sunseeker asked Mayfair based luxury watch specialist David Duggan to tell us about the hottest watch trends that serious enthusiasts should be looking out for in the year ahead.
Sunseeker: We’re gearing up for the start of Baselworld – no doubt an important event in your own calendar. For clients looking to invest in a luxury watch, what are the most sought after models at the moment?
David: Without doubt the Patek Philippe Calatrava Pilot ref 5524, released at Baselworld 2015, has the market in a frenzy. We were in their salon just last week and they told me they currently have a seven year waiting list. It’s the first pilot’s watch they’ve brought out since the 1930s and that’s a big part of the attraction. It’s a fantastic looking watch – really handsome. At 42mm it’s also the biggest watch they’ve ever made, plus it’s a Travel Time. But I think the appeal really lies with the fact that it offers the market something we haven’t seen for many years. It retails in the £30K upwards bracket – so for the luxury client it’s certainly affordable, but still a special investment.
Sunseeker: And what else should enthusiasts be looking out for at this year’s show?
David: Well, what I love about Baselworld is that there are always surprises, but from the point of view of a serious buyer it’s easy to get swayed by gimmicks and I would say the newest releases on the market aren’t necessarily the most desirable or the ones that hold their value. If we look at the Patek Philippe Nautilus, for example, that’s doing incredibly well amongst enthusiasts. It was originally released in 1976, but they’ve started to introduce new models and complications ranging right up to the Annual Calendar and the Chronograph. For a stainless steel model, you’re looking at the mid £30K bracket, but they also produce models in gold and of course they jump up price-wise.
At the moment, pre-owned models are changing hands at an unusually rapid pace. As an example, the Travel Time Chronograph retails at £34K, but we recently sold a pre-owned model for almost bang on that list price, which is unusual. It’s because people just can’t get hold of them new. If you’re in the market for a Nautilus, it’s a good idea to put the word around in the pre-owned market – otherwise you’re in for a very long wait. The same goes for another of my personal favourites, which is Rolex’s James Cameron Sea Dweller. That’s also massively sought after with extensive waiting lists.
It’s worth adding that, for those looking at a slightly lower entry level, Rolex Tudor is an exciting maker right now. They’ve only just come back into the UK after a gap of several years and the new range is brilliant. They have brought out some great sports models – so I’m looking forward to catching up with them at Baselworld to see what they’ve got lined up for us next.
Sunseeker: And what about for the truly top level buyer? What would you suggest as a real showstopper?
David: Well, we’ve all seen exceptionally high profile models go for millions at auction. But for me, a genuinely special model is the Patek Philippe Split Second Chronograph (ref 5204). That comes in just under £200K – so yes, it’s an aspirational purchase, but in my view one of the best investments you can make. Really, it’s the movement that pitches it up into the higher price bracket. It’s a caliber CHR 29-535 PS Q – only the eighth entirely in-house movement Patek Philippe has ever made. The complications are extensive, but the aesthetic is stunning too. And it’s certainly highly sought after – so again, it’s a winner from an investment point of view.
Sunseeker: You’re neighbours with Sunseeker London, located as you are in Mayfair’s’ Burlington Arcade. Tell us a bit about the showroom?
David: It’s a wonderful place to be. It dates back to 1819, so it’s now listed, which obviously restricts any alterations – but we would never want to do that anyway. I’ve been involved in the luxury watch industry since my twenties, I started out in Portobello road before we moved into the Bond Street Antiques Centre, and then into Burlington Arcade in 2002. It’s full of character and period features and it’s a lovely intimate space. We also run our Rolex approved service centre from here, so all of our repairs and servicing take place on site and I’m very lucky to have Ian Forster (a former Patek Philippe and Cartier expert watchmaker) as our Technician. Welcoming clients and giving them the time and support they need to choose the perfect watch is what we’re all about, and Burlington is the ideal place to do that.
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