I always had high aspirations for myself. Although I had a fairly modest upbringing, I have had a penchant for luxury since childhood. Even as a young boy, I remember noticing watches, cars, and homes, and this curiosity drove me towards the successes in my life today.
In high school, I owned a gold-plated Timex, an aspirational stand-in for the gold Rolex Submariner I one day hoped to own. Like many, I wanted to own a fine timepiece for myself - a statement of style and taste. Quite simply, wearing a nice watch made me feel good. When I became a realtor, my affinity for watches grew naturally, as I realized what made me feel good also created the proper impression with potential clients. A win-win. And, like, real estate itself, there is also a fun, speculative aspect to the watch world as well.
When I started building my success, I decided to make my move. Before real estate, I worked in the fashion industry. That experience attuned my tastes to objects that were more reflective of personal style, ahead of the trend. I agonized about finally getting the Rolex of my dreams, or going for something edgier. I decided on a beautiful steel Audemars Piguet Royal Oak timepiece. This was before the brand was as popular as it is now. And, I made the right decision: That watch became my calling card. Since it wasn’t as ubiquitous as a Rolex, it amplified my personal style, and was a conversation starter with my clients. I loved the look of the steel bracelet, the signature geometric bezel, the wrist feel, the clasp. I wore it every day, but the idea of gold watch still stuck in my head.
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak in steel, $19,200, audemarspiguet.com
I realized that dream a couple years later with a yellow gold Dual-Time Royal Oak from Audemars Piguet. It had a smaller, more elegant case, a second time zone feature and more than lived up to my childhood Rolex fantasies. When I wear it, it always makes a statement. But now, I had two Royal Oak watches....what to do?
Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Dual-Time, price on request, audemarspiguet.com
I slipped on a Patek Philippe Nautilus Ref. 5712 at some point, and immediately knew I had to have it. It was a classic steel Nautilus execution, with a blue dial and moon phase. This was years ago, when Patek was a bit more of an in-the-know choice for watch collectors, well before Patek was referenced in rap songs and worn by the celebs. I hadn’t intended to buy my steel Royal Oak as an investment, but I was able to “trade” it in for the Nautilus. I wore the steel Royal Oak for four years, and, essentially wore it for free. I was able to acquire the Patek Philippe watch for a very low price with the trade-in value of the Audemars Piguet. Just like a good real estate investment.
Patek Philippe Nautilus, Ref. 5712/1A, $41,052, patek.com
So, what’s next? My daughter is named Rose (Gold). So I am looking into a rose gold version of the Patek Philippe Nautilus, of course. I am working with London Jewelers in New York (londonjewelers.com) for this next step in my timepiece journey. However, unlike the last purchase, at this stage of my career and life, I’m fortunate enough to be able to just collect now, so I won’t be trading in any watch this time around. But, it is always good to know that there is a strong resale market out there for the watches I currently own and enjoy.
Patek Philippe Nautilus, Ref. 5980/1R, $88,227, patek.com
As you can see, the speculative/investment aspect of watches is a lot like real estate. The right time and the right look all play a part. You want something you love and cherish in a watch, and in a home, but paying attention to the future is also key. Here’s a terrific listing in NYC that checks those boxes in my view: A property version of a one-of-kind, limited edition investment. This sprawling 4,000-square-foot open loft space at 136 Grand St. in Soho graced the cover of Architectural Digest in 2018, features two bedrooms (with an easy addition of a third) and three-and-half baths. The listing price is $8.8 million. corcoran.com/nyc-
The impressive loft property at 136 Grand St. in Soho.