Photograph by Luke MacGregor—Bloomberg via Getty Images

6 tips from a luxury watch expert.

By Colleen Kane
October 25, 2015
October 25, 2015

The inherent value: “Can you assign value to the item outside of any marketing or brand recognition? Strip the label off: Is this watch still worth a lot?” says Adams. One simple way to determine that worth is whether it’s made with precious metals or materials, such as gold, platinum, or diamonds.

The quality of its craftsmanship: Consider the complexity and the time taken to produce the watch. Does it offer additional functions, such as a moon-phase display or a perpetual calendar? Is the watch produced via careful engineering, prototyping, and assembly?

The artistic value: Luxe watches should be considered mechanical pieces of art, contends -Adams. “Look at the application of the artistic technique: engraving, enameling, gem setting,” Adams says.

Does it have a special pedigree? Sometimes other intangibles are at play. Perhaps the timepiece was owned by a celebrity or a historic figure. Or maybe it is a one-of-a-kind watch edition. In such cases there’s an exclusivity built in for an object that no one else is going to own.

Is it a big brand or a small, lesser-known one? Without marketing muscle behind it, the small names typically don’t command the same prices. They also don’t usually have the same cachet or resale value. Smaller labels also come with a risk, according to Adams. “What if your watch breaks?
Are they going to be around to service it?”

Is this a watch you’d actually want to wear? Others may lust after this timepiece, but if you find it bulky, uncomfortable, or just not your style, think twice. “You should focus on the fact that any watch you buy is going to be included in your life,” says Adams.

Check out 6 new luxury watches for men and Inside Tiffany’s plan to rebuild its luxury watch business.

A version of this article appears in the November 1, 2015 issue of Fortune with the headline “Looking for a luxe timepiece?”

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