Sotheby’s watch specialist for the Middle East, Frederic Watrelot, explains the dos and don’ts.

Rob Chilton
Why is it a nice idea for a man to buy a special watch?

Watches are pretty much the only jewellery men wear, and very often an object that can accompany them throughout their life. As the ultimate token of time, they are the perfect present to mark important events in life. A well-maintained watch can last forever and even become a family heirloom.

Do you advise buying new or second-hand for a first luxury purchase?

I would advise buying a second-hand watch, provided that the source can be trusted, that it has been well taken care of, and is in good condition. If you’re more into modern pieces, then you should ask the question: Do I want more bang for my buck? If that’s the case, I’d suggest considering the secondary market or buying at auction for the same budget, you can get a far more important piece.

What type of watch is a good idea for a first-time buyer?

For important milestones, you want a watch you’ll wear and cherish for a long time so I would advise a timeless icon. Trendy watches fall out of fashion far more rapidly than traditional designs.

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Mechanical or quartz?

I would recommend mechanical watches over quartz ones. A battery-operated watch can’t be repaired when the production of the battery is discontinued, whereas, in mechanical movements, spare parts can always be re-manufactured by trained watchmakers.

Does the guy need to find a special meaning or connection to a watch or brand?

The choice of watch is often informed by its design and functionality but also the brand’s heritage, the story of the watchmakers, and their influences. Researching the brand will also allow you to get a sense of the brand. Personally, I’d prefer a brand which makes several thousand watches each year, rather than one that makes millions.

Is researching the brand important?

Absolutely. When it comes to high-end watches, established and prestigious brands offer a guarantee of quality and the insurance that you’ll be able to service your watch and find parts necessary for repair.

How much should a guy spend? 

This is a matter of budget and priorities. Personally, I would spend more money on a watch than on a car.