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09/04/2019
 3 minutes

101 Reasons Why Watches Are Great: Part 9 They Are the Ultimate Status Symbol

By Jorg Weppelink
17-101-Reasons-why-watches-are-great

101 Reasons Why Watches Are Great, Part 9: They Are the Ultimate Status Symbol

Humans have always placed great value on status and making sure that others know where they belong on the social food chain. Some people are born into high status, while others work to achieve it. The world of watches is perhaps most strongly connected to the path of status via achievement, and that’s how I prefer it. Many people choose to celebrate their successes by purchasing a luxury timepiece. Today, we’ll be exploring why that may be the case.

Until recently, luxury watches served two major functions: telling the time and expressing emotions. However, in the digital age, most people look at their phones or other smart devices for the time rather than their wristwatch. So, you might ask, what’s the point of buying a watch anymore, especially an expensive one? The answer is that people now primarily covet watches for emotional reasons and as projections of their status. This shift has had an effect on how people perceive luxury watches. While some may see them as frivolous and a waste of money, others recognize their value as storytellers, design icons, technical masterpieces, and status symbols.

Patek Philippe Nautilus Jumbo 3700
Patek Philippe Nautilus 3700 Image: Bert Buijsrogge

Mechanical watches have always been associated with high status.Why? The most obvious reason is that many of these watches are made of expensive materials, such as gold or platinum. Their material value alone makes them inaccessible to most individuals. Another reason has more to do with the brands themselves. Names like Rolex and Patek Philippe are synonymous with luxury and, thus, demand high prices.

There are many reasons why people prefer high-end brands, including the history, innovation, craftsmanship, design, exclusivity, and high prices of their products.All these factors create a unique brand image. For the general public, the last two factors play the largest role. It’s no secret that these timepieces are only intended for an elite group of individuals and, chances are, you don’t belong to it. What could be more attractive than earning your way into such an exclusive group?

Audemars Piguet Royal Oak white dial
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Image: FratelloWatches

While wanting to show off one’s wealth is all well and good, I’m more interested in the people who buy timepieces because of their fascination with the history and technical mastery behind them. I know this is a rather romantic take on the matter, but researching a brand and specific model is a great way to connect with like-minded individuals.It will also transform your watch from a simple status symbol to a bearer of history with its own stories to tell.

But why are watches status symbols in the first place? Are they better status symbols than cars, clothing, or houses? For me, the answer is a clear yes. Firstly, watches as status symbols most definitely predate the car. Secondly, the most exclusive timepieces are made of precious materials and often feature diamonds and other gemstones, all without losing their practicality as timekeepers. Finally, watches are extremely personal. They join us in our everyday lives and are a clear indicator of the image we’re trying to project.

Richard Mille Image: Bexsonn

I think a luxury watch is the ultimate status symbol.The reasons for this go far beyond stories and personal connections. Watches are more accessible than many other luxury products. That means the variety of people who can enjoy them is much wider, even if certain timepieces are much more expensive than a car or even some houses. Another reason is their timeless designs. While classic Rolex and Patek Philippe models have not changed much over time, cars seem to be redesigned every few years or so. This often means that luxury cars quickly depreciate in terms of status.

Rolex Submariner
Rolex Submariner DateImage: David Heitz

So, which watch is the best status symbol? While I could list off any number of high-end brands, there’s only one brand with enough international clout to fill those shoes: Rolex.However, picking an individual model is a bit tricky. Arguably, any Rolex could fit the bill. That being said, the two best Rolex status symbols are perhaps the Rolex Submariner and Rolex Day-Date. Even if you have another watch in mind, I’m sure we can all agree that these two timepieces are bona fide status symbols. Now only one question remains: What watch are you going to buy next?

Read more

101 Reasons Why Watches Are Great: Part 8 

The Most Extraordinary Rolex Datejust Dials

The Connection Between Watches, Fast Cars, and Adrenaline


About the Author

Jorg Weppelink

Hi, I'm Jorg, and I've been writing articles for Chrono24 since 2016. However, my relationship with Chrono24 goes back a bit longer, as my love for watches began …

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