Watch buying secrets from 5 global experts

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Cara Barrett; watches
Illustration by John Kenzie; Courtesy of Longines & Rolex

Cara Barrett, Editor at watch-focused media group Hodinkee

My first watch: A Cartier Tank Française, received for my 18th birthday and unceremoniously stolen five years later. I’m still not over it.

My first important watch: An Audemars Piguet Royal Oak ref. 15450 in stainless steel. The hand-brushed case and bracelet are to die for.


Advice for first-time watch buyers: Do your research, talk to people and read up. If you’re buying vintage, buy from someone with a good reputation.

Watch I’m coveting this season: A girl can dream — I am obsessed with the Rolex Rainbow Daytona. More practically, I love the new Longines Legend Diver 36 mm.

Best watch to gift: With no budgetary constraints, I’d say a Rolex 36 mm Oyster Perpetual. Classic, durable and can be worn by everyone.

Celeb watch icon: The collecting world is still mostly men, but Ellen DeGeneres holds her own with an incredibly impressive collection of vintage Rolex Paul Newman Daytonas.

Best watch cameo in a film: Sean Connery as James Bond in “Dr. No” and his Rolex Submariner ref. 6538.

Favorite watch innovation: This year, Van Cleef came out with the Lady Arpels Planétarium, which tracks the rotation of the moon, Earth, Venus and Mercury. Pretty cool.


John Reardon; watches
Illustration by John Kenzie; Courtesy of Patek Philippe

John Reardon, International head of watches at Christie’s

My first watch: My grandfather’s tonneau, gold-filled Hamilton. He wore it almost his whole life as a Latin teacher.

My first important watch: A Patek Philippe steel, midsize Aquanaut. I still wear it today.

Advice for first-time watch buyers: Buy the seller as much as you buy the watch. Find someone you trust like family.

Watch I’m coveting this season: A platinum Patek Philippe 570 Calatrava.

Best watch to gift: A 1970s dive watch. You can buy a shock- and waterproof watch from this era that screams vintage style, has a story to tell and looks amazing on the wrist. It is a gift they will keep forever.

Celeb watch icon: [Banker and Patek patron] Henry Graves Jr. As the gentleman who commissioned the most important — and now most expensive — Patek Philippe ever known, he is a 20th-century visionary.

Best watch cameo in a film: Remember the gold-watch scene in “Pulp Fiction”? Christopher Walken’s performance was unforgettable, to say the least.

Favorite watch innovation: The Double Impulse Chronometer from Charles Frodsham & Co. It’s the first wristwatch with a George Daniels double-impulse chronometer escapement. Oil free, symmetrical and a modern marvel of engineering.


James Lamdin; watches
IWC Portugieser Perpetual Calendar Edition 150 Years, $39,900 at London JewelersIllustration by John Kenzie; Courtesy of IWC

James Lamdin, is the NYC-based founder of Analog/Shift, an online marketplace devoted to vintage watches.

Signature style: Wingtips, jeans, button-down and a herringbone sport coat with colorful pocket square. A style that has been described as “deceptively smart.” I think it was supposed to be a compliment!

Watch count: Thirty? 40? More than I need, but certainly not more than I’d like.

First watch purchased: 1970s Seiko 6105 diver’s watch. Rugged, utilitarian, inexpensive and entirely cool.

Next watch: IWC has some really exceptional commemorative pieces for their 150th jubilee this year. I’m particularly drawn to the Portugieser Chronograph and Tribute to Pallweber editions, as well as some of their Heritage Pilot collection.

Fave feature: A GMT function. I travel a lot and utilize a second time zone feature regularly.

Favorite watch city: New York. Hard stop.

Watch icon: I’m drawn to historic figures with whom timepieces are inextricably linked: Jacques Cousteau, astronaut Gene Cernan and Clint Eastwood (right), to name a few.


Kathleen McGivney; watches
NomosGlashütte Orion Anthracite watch, $2,360 at London Jewelers.Illustration by John Kenzie; Courtesy of NOMOS Glashütte

Kathleen McGivney, A watch aficionado, writer and consultant, McGivney is the NYC-based CEO of the RedBar Group, an organization of international timepiece enthusiasts who meet regularly.

Signature style: I’m a New Yorker, so I wear a lot of black. Think urban Morticia Addams, with red hair and more tattoos.
Watch count: Forty or so.

First watch purchased: My first mechanical watch was a Nomos Orion.

Next watch: My obsessions change regularly, but the Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight is on my shortlist.

Fave feature: The moonphase complication, which has little practical usage in day-to-day life but speaks to both my inner goth and my inner science nerd. I even have a tattoo of a moonphase indicator.

Recent watch travel: I went to London for a few events with our RedBar chapter there, as well as the Horology Forum, hosted by Dubai Watch Week at Christie’s.

Watch icon: Winston Churchill (right), for his dedication to “The Turnip,” his pocket watch.


Alexander Rosenbæk; watches
Patek Philippe Nautilus ref. 5726A, price upon request at London Jewelers.Illustration by John Kenzie; Courtesy of Patek Philippe

Alexander Rosenbæk, The Denmark-based Insta influencer (@dailywatch) has 2.2 million followers and is the co-founder of 8past10, a social net-work for timepiece connoisseurs.

Signature style: I like sporty but elegant when it comes to watches, without too many complications. That works perfectly with either a suit or a casual outfit.

Watch count: Eleven.

First watch purchased: A Certina DS First. It’s a sport watch, and I bought it with the first money I earned working a student job.

Next watch: Dreaming of a Patek Philippe Nautilus.

Fave feature: The chronograph — useful on a daily basis.

Recent watch travel: A trip to Rome with Longines to discover their new Conquest V.H.P. GMT Flash Setting watch.

Favorite watch city: Geneva.

Watch icon: John Mayer (right) — I absolutely love his collection.





By Andrew Sessa

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