Building a luxury watch collection is no easy thing – yet it can be exceptionally rewarding. Many experienced collectors will tell you that they’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way, but they wouldn’t take it back for the world. The hardest part is always starting out. Many new collectors face choice paralysis, or struggle to discover what their real purpose is for the collection.

Watches are bought for a million reasons – as fashion accessories, as investments, as coming-of-age milestones, as status symbols or even just to tell the time. They key thing is to work out what kind of collection you really want to build. Are you most interested in watches of a certain kind? Maybe you want a themed collection, or a collection of watches from a single brand that speaks to you. Or perhaps you’d like to create as diverse a collection as possible, for maximum lifestyle choices. Are you buying to invest, or to show off, or simply to admire these beautiful creations that captivate so many of us?

Play the Field

After you know what your aim is, make sure to take your time. The number-one mistake of enthusiastic collectors is impatience – trying to build too quickly, or making impulse choices that they later regret. When you buy a watch, you have to be sure you truly love that watch: it has to speak to you. Make sure you have done your research and that you have a good idea of the full breadth of what’s out there.
Still looking for ideas to get you started? Below we will suggest a series of watches that might make a fantastic starting collection. We’re assuming that, like many collectors, you will be seeking to build up a portfolio prioritising variety and diversity, to give you a broad range of choices when picking a watch that’s appropriate for any occasion.

Rolex Air-King

It’s pretty rare to find a watch-lover who doesn’t crave a Rolex. Indeed the brand is so good at what it does that we have included three of its watches in this list. There are so many fantastic Rolexes to choose from, but as your very first watch, we cannot think of any better entry-level timepiece than the Air-King. With just as much quality and history as the brand’s other collections, you simply cannot go wrong with this beauty.

TAG Heuer Formula 1

Heuer is a legend in sports horology, known for classic 1960s racing watches like the Carrera and the Monaco. But the modern brand’s purest identification with motorsports is definitely the Formula 1 collection. Bold and good looking, the Formula 1 gives you a fantastic option at the opposite end of the spectrum from the Air-King. This limited-edition chronograph is especially on-point.

Rolex Submariner

At this point you’ll be impatient to start moving into the big leagues. Don’t be shy of turning to the icons: and what is more iconic than the Rolex Submariner, rightfully one of the most famous watches of all time? If you do your research you can find great deals – keep your eyes peeled for a great value ref 16610.

SevenFriday P1

If you’re looking to diversify your collection, you’ll need to pay attention to smaller brands. SevenFriday burst onto the scene and into many collections when it launched its square-cased, futuristic models inspired by the industrial revolution. All the cool kids have one: the perfect way to keep your collection fresh at a low price-point.

Nomos Tangente

Alongside the obvious choices, a good collection should show its taste by appreciating less historic manufactures. Some of the very finest watchmaking is done outside of Switzerland, for example in the legendary German town of Glashütte. Nomos is perhaps the most highly praised of the new brands that appeared there after the Cold War – its superb minimalist, Bauhaus-inspired designs are turning heads across the industry. A dapper look for any occasion.

Bell & Ross BR03

You’ll want a range of different styles in your collection – and turning to a brand like Bell & Ross is often a great way to find them. The watches in the brand’s BR01 and BR03 collections are both original and compelling: round dials on square cases often in bold black and white colours, inspired by instruments from aircraft cockpits. Striking.

Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Ultra Thin

Time to move up a notch once again. Don’t neglect classic horological traditions. No one has mastered the art of timeless elegance like the brand beloved by all experienced collectors: Jaeger-LeCoultre. Its ultra-thin watches are the envy of horophiles everywhere: true style and grace made flesh.

Rolex Cosmograph Daytona

And finally, we couldn’t exclude this one, which for many represents the essence of great luxury watches. An icon among icons, the Daytona is a ‘grail’ watch for many collectors, who will tell you that no collection can be truly complete without it. Everyone has their favourite Daytona model: we can’t get enough of the two-tone editions.

For more information, see chronext.co.uk