Mindful spending matters more than ever right now. With the economy fluctuating and more of us now increasingly conscious of our impact on the planet and less interested in fleeting, fad-like trends, consumer focus has shifted to buying less, but buying better. It's now about investing in considered purchases which will stand the test of time and for that, nothing is more fitting than luxury watches and jewellery.
It's a trend that's been gathering momentum for quite some time. Indeed, Sotheby's reported a 30 per cent increase in bidders and buyers at their auctions back in 2021, when the company pivoted to be able to offer smaller and more frequent online auctions during the COVID-19 pandemic, with previews available by Zoom. At the time, the category that attracted the highest number of new clients was watches and demand hasn't really slowed since.
A beautiful timepiece represents a classic investment buy (read our comprehensive guide to investing in luxury watches, here): they are as visually pleasing as a piece of art, expertly crafted from exquisite materials and built to be loved and worn for years. Choose wisely and maintain your watch well, and your timepiece should hold on to its value, too, in case you want to pass it on or sell it in the future.
So, whether you're marking a special occasion, anniversary or a birthday this year, these are the luxury watches that are sure to delight – for now, and for many years to come.
The beautifully balanced proportions and slender oval face of Cartier's Baignoire watch make it as elegant now as it was when it first launched in 1957. Less well-known than the famous Tank, but every bit as timeless, this slender watch is a truly special investment.
Mini Baignoire de Cartier watch in 18k yellow gold and leather, £11,000, Watches of Switzerland
2021 marked the centenary of Gucci and, to celebrate the occasion, the house unveiled an all-new ultra-slim watch called the 25H inspired by the sleek forms of contemporary architecture.
The unisex watch features a sporty-looking chain-link bracelet and case, plus a dial complete with engraved GG motifs. There are several iterations to look out for, including steel, pavé-set diamonds, and platinum.
25h watch in 18k yellow gold and stainless steel, £1,250, Gucci
Omega's legendary Seamaster celebrates its 75th anniversary this year with a handsome new line up of watches all bearing aquatic blue dials in reference to the timepiece's naval origins.
Pick of the bunch is the 38mm Seamaster Co-Axial Master Chronometer, which manages to blend the toughness of a former military watch (read: this one will last forever) with the sleek good looks of an everyday timepiece, so it will fit in perfectly with your workwear wardrobe. Be quick though, this one already has a lengthy waiting list.
Aqua Terra 150m Co-Axial Master Chronometer 38mm watch, £6,600, Goldsmiths
Relaunched in 2022, Chanel's beautiful Première Originale is a modern take on the fabulous Eighties' model – with a leather and chain link bracelet modelled after the house's iconic handbags and an octagonal dial that references the stopper on its most famous fragrance bottle, No.5.
Première Edition Originale watch, £5,200, Goldsmiths
If you are lucky enough to be able to find a new Rolex Oyster Perpetual, with its sky blue 'Celebration' motif dial and slinky steel bracelet, act fast. These novelty dial versions of Rolex's classic waterproof watch are as popular as they are fun to behold.
Oyster Perpetual 36mm watch, £5,100, Rolex
Renowned for their heirloom-quality timepieces, this contemporary Aquanaut Luce is Patek Philippe's foray into less formal, more everyday watches. But with a dual time zone facility, self winding chronograph movement, moon-phase window and a new annual calendar mechanism, this high precision 'casual' timepiece still comes fully loaded...
Aquanaut Luce 5261R in rose gold, price on request, Patek Philippe
Created as a sleek solution for polo players, who wanted a watch with a crystal face that wouldn't shatter mid-play, Jaeger Le-Coultre's iconic Reverso features an angular case that can be slid out of its frame and reversed, so that the dial is protected and the metal caseback becomes visible instead.
This modern update on the elegant original has a slender (just 7.56mm thick) case in pink gold, which can be personalised on the back with any date or initials that you like.
Reverso Tribute Small Seconds in pink gold, £21,900, Jaeger-LeCoultre
Never one to shy away from bold colour or standout sizes, Hublot's daring new limited-edition 42mm Big Bang Unico comes dressed for summer in sky blue polished ceramic and matching lined rubber strap.
Big Bang Unico Sky Blue 42mm, £20,500, Hublot
Inspired by the movement and eternal beauty of the heavens, Hermès' new Arceau Petite Lune is a work of art you just happen to wear on your wrist. The maison's original Arceau case, designed in 1978, has been adorned with a new dial sculpted from aventurine, mother-of-pearl, aragonite and opal, all framed with an orbiting halo of white diamonds.
Arceau Petite Lune watch, price on request, Hermès
Bulgari's serpent motif celebrates its 75th anniversary this year and, fittingly, has evolved at the house yet again. This time, it has been transformed into a limited edition series of flexible Tubogas watches (named for their springy bracelet design) which are adorned with tactile diamond scales across rose gold coils which snake seductively around the wrist.
Serpenti Tubogas Infiniti watch, £62,000, Bulgari
20 years after the debut of La D de Dior, the house has reinterpreted this bestselling watch design with a touch of its signature cannage pattern – a graphic interpretation of the pattern on the chairs at Christian Dior's beloved Avenue Montaigne flagship in the 1940s.
La Mini D My Dior watch, £5,400, Dior
Sporty in heritage but stylish to behold, the Master collection from Longines now comes in a sleek selection of steel watches with colourful, sunray-effect dials for a pop of juicy colour. Whilst the forest green is bang on trend for this season and the warm orange is instantly impactful, we're also drawn to the stainless steel version with soft golden dial as a timeless everyday option.
Master Collection 34mm watch, £2,350, Longines
Bright green hour markers on a shimmering mother-of-pearl dial help Blancpain's elegant Ladybird watch stand apart from other dress watches. Available with quick-change leather straps, so you can match the hue of your watch to your every mood.
Ladybird Colours Collection watch, £30,400, Blancpain
Audemars Piguet's classic Gerald Genta-designed Royal Oak watch could hardly get more alluring (the man himself supposedly described it as the 'masterpiece' of his career). Or so we thought, until we spotted the brand new Royal Oak Self-winding yellow gold model with a slice of natural turquoise for a dial. It's now on so many lust-have lists, it's tricky to even find one to try on.
Royal Oak Selfwinding 37mm watch with turquoise dial, £55,000, Audemars Piguet
For the ultimate in precious jewellery watches, Harry Winston has returned to its roots as New York's 'King of Diamonds'. Its handsome 'Avenue' collection is a sparkling ode to New York's Fifth Avenue and includes Art Deco design touches that evoke the jeweller's flagship salon.
Avenue Classic watch in 18k white gold and diamonds, price on request, Harry Winston
It's the subtle details in Vacheron Constantin's watches that really sets them apart. The diamond-encrusted bezel of the new Overseas Self-Winding, for example, is a sparkling ode to the watchmaker's house motif – the Maltese Cross. It also comes with interchangeable straps in leather and rubber, to suit your lifestyle and wardrobe.
Overseas Self-Winding 35mm in pink gold, £56,000, Vacheron Constantin
Previously known for its chunky, drum-like case (from which the watch derives its name), Louis Vuitton's youthful Tambour has just received a decidedly grown up make over. Available in steel and all-gold versions, the all new Tambour boasts an integrated metallic bracelet, refined case and much more elegant dial, making it a covetable luxury watch to rival those of many older watchmaking brands.
Tambour automatic 40mm watch in steel, £17,500, Louis Vuitton
Van Cleef & Arpels
Designed and named after its iconic gold-smithing technique, Van Cleef & Arpels' new Perlée watches are subtle and sophisticated – the perfect blend of jewellery expertise and watchmaking prowess. Available with diamonds, in gold or with colourful stone dials, we think the refined mother-of-pearl version is ideal for everyday wear.
Perlée 23mm watch in 18 rose gold and mother of pearl, £8,000, Van Cleef & Arpels
Sandwiched between thin panes of sapphire crystal, five free-floating gems instantly link this dainty wristwatch with its maker's legendary diamond expertise. Available with a steel or rose gold case and with a pastel-hued assortment of leather double-strap options, it's a chic way of making an instant statement.
Happy Sport watch in Lucent Steel, £4,240, Chopard
Dubbed the watch that signals 'our mission to do better', the Super Chronomat Automatic is Breitling's first with fully traceable materials - the provenance of its gold from small-scale origin and its lab-grown diamonds can be tracked via a block-chain backed NFT record that comes with every watch.
Super Chronomat Automatic 38 Origins, £17,400, Breitling
An ode to the wonder of the night sky, Piaget's new metiers d'art watch imbues its familiar Altiplano collection with an otherworldly elegance thanks to the savoir faire of its expert gem setters, engravers and enamellers. Adorned with the house's signature palace décor effect and rows of sapphires that evoke rays of stellar light, the lower dial also reveals a window at the 6 o'clock position that reveals the position of the moon in the night sky.
Altiplano Moonphase limited edition watch, price on request, Piaget
"A race car for your wrist," is the motto over at Richard Mille and, with the sheer amount of technicality that goes into each timepiece, it's easy to see why.
This skeletonised, self-winding watch is the RM 07-01, featuring an 'Intergalactic' design created by a cosmic arrangement of white diamonds. It's also one of the models favoured by friend of the house, Michelle Yeoh, who wore it to collect her best actress trophy at the 2022 SAG Awards, so it has excellent starry associations, too.
RM 07-01 Intergalactic watch, price on request, Richard Mille
Unveiled at the 2023 Watches & Wonders timepiece fair, the TAG Heuer Carrera Date quickly amassed a slew of admirers (including house ambassador, Ryan Gosling, who donned a pink dialled version on the official press tour for the Barbie movie). A subtle update on the 60-year-old original Carrera Date, this new classic is slimmer, sportier and more comfortable than ever to wear.
TAG Heuer Carrera Date with green dial, £2,750, TAG Heuer
Named after Caroline Murat, the queen for whom Breguet created one of the first ever wristwatches in 1811, the elegant Reine de Naples has become an eye-catching classic since its release over twenty years ago.
The latest iteration is a softer, more romantic take on the design crafted in white, rose or yellow gold and framed with a halo of diamonds, plus a diamond or ruby crown – it's destined to make collectors fall hard for it.
Reine de Naples watch in 18k gold and diamonds, £35,000, Breguet
With a graduated dial in pastel pink, green or blue, the new Panerai Luminor Due Pastello may look super sweet, but it also boasts excellent toughness credentials. The polished, stainless steel case and matching bracelet are hardwearing, while the maker's signature semi-oval crown protection device comes with a safety lock system to prevent any setting slip-ups. The watch is waterproof up to 5 ATM (50 m or roughly 164 ft) and its pared-back dial is filled with bright white Super-Luminova, so it's perfectly legible in the dark.
Luminor Due Pastello 38mm watch, £6,800, Panerai
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