Boutique Watch for a Boutique Shop

Hey guys,I'm in the process of buying my first watch, and I could use some recommendations. I'm graduating university this semester, so the watch will be a graduation gift. My budget is ~$35k.

I'm looking for a watch I could wear to work and at nice events & dinners. The shop I'm joining after graduating is very small: 2 partners and no Directors/VPs/Associates. I will be the only analyst. The partners have very luxurious tastes, so I think (and I could be wrong) that wearing a watch in that price range would be fine, so long as it's not flashy.

My favorite watch right now is a Breguet Classique. I'm very interested in astronomy/astrophysics, so a watch that gives the moon phase is preferable, though not a necessity. Name brands with limited functions (e.g. AP Royal Oak) don't interest me as much, though some special edition Rolexes look interesting (e.g. Submariner Kermit). I'm looking at used watches on Chrono24 because new watches take a long time to deliver (not to mention prices/models might change). I also have a relatively thin wrist if that matters.

Any advise on watch brands/models in that price range or advise on wearing a luxurious watch in the office is greatly appreciated!

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Comments (21)

  • Investment Manager in HF - Other
3mo

The watches you mention are very different, are you looking for a dressier watch or something more sporty? Something on a leather strap? Precious metal? Any specific functionality (moonphase? annual calendar?)? How big is your wrist? You want to make sure the watch fits well (some can look ridiculous on small wrists). Happy to give some recommendations if you narrow some of this down, there are some great brands and many that you can buy new. 

3mo
no_arms_no_problem, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Honestly not sure between sporty or dressy. I don't go to many events that justify a very dressy watch, but I do want something that I could potentially wear to work and is not flashy. No preference between leather or not, though I've heard leather is harder to care for. For functionality, I do appreciate unique time features, especially moon phase. Perpetual calendar is also very interesting, though I have had a hard time finding watches in my price range with perpetual calendars that don't feel squeezed together.

Also, my wrist is 15.5cm.

I appreciate the help!

3mo
A Jumping Salmon, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I would go with a sportier watch than a Breguet Classique but it all depends on how your office dresses. I actually own a Breguet Classique (black alligator strap and gold case) but never wear it because I feel it stands out too much and I am worried about how much wear and tear it can take. I wear a Rolex Explorer II most days which is perfect because it better matches my work outfits better than a more "fancy watch" and I am not concerned about scratching it. If you want to go with a "higher" level brand than Rolex, you may need to up your budget since you don't like AP.

Most Helpful
  • Investment Manager in HF - Other
3mo

I don't think the OP would have to go higher budget, there are plenty of "top" brands (higher level of finishing than Rolex) that are under $35k, the problem right now is that the market for a sports watch is still a bit crazy. 

But sports watches that you can buy without a wait, under $35k (with finishing similar or better than Rolex):

Glashutte SeaQ

Blancpain Fifty Fathoms 

Moser Heritage (or pioneer if you need water resistance)

JLC Polaris (you can get the perpetual calendar for under $35k)

Edit: forgot about zenith and Parmigiani (tonda being a good one)

With some wait, but attainable:

Czapek Antarctique (18 month wait or so)

Gronefeld Deltaworks (LONG wait and big size at 45mm) - but $55k

Romain Gauthier Continuum (1-2 year wait) - around $40k

Not attainable but would be right priced at msrp:

Patek Nautilus or Aquanaut 

AP royal oak (but you aren't a fan)

Have more recommendations if people are interested. 

3mo
no_arms_no_problem, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thanks for the great list! Lot of brands here that I've never heard of before, so I'll have an exciting few days going through their models. I particularly liked the Glashutte and Moser Heritage you recommended, though the Continuum is my favorite. Do you know how difficult is it to join the waitlist?

Thanks for the help!

  • Analyst 1 in RE - Comm
3mo

Wow, that is a great list. You seem to have a wealth of information.

What is the best way to get a relationship with a new AD?

I want a Yacht Master 40 and have no issue waiting, I just want something new opposed to a used watch. I have 2 other Rolex but they were purchased in another country.

  • Investment Manager in HF - Other
3mo

Honestly some of the AD games are ridiculous (as are some of the people). What are you looking for? I try to stick with one AD so that I can have an established spend with them if trying to get something that's a bit harder to find. What area are you in? I would find an AD that covers enough brands that you may be interested in and then stop on in and have an honest chat about what you are looking for. You will get a sense of whether or not the place will work with you. When I started working with my AD, I just chatted them up about watches and then let them know the stuff I was interested in (and why). I had done this at a few places and you will know when you are being blown off. I would never buy something you don't want just to get in line for something you do want, especially with brands like Rolex where there is supply. 

  • Intern in IB - Gen
3mo

Hey, man - if you don't mind me asking, how were you able to get a full-time offer at a shop that size? I'm interning at 3 man boutique and would love to stay there full time once I graduate this year. Firm has been around for 3 years and they have never had a traditional VP/associate/analyst. Are there really firms that small that hire analysts?

  • 1
2mo
TechBanking, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Despite being a larger person (6'2" and >200lbs), I have tiny wrists. I don't own one but have borrowed from my friend with an extensive collection. I've found that Jaeger  Lecoultre works well for smaller wrists and should have a bunch of options in your price range. 

  • 1
2mo
alimanach, what's your opinion? Comment below:
[Comment removed by mod team]
2mo
gRhgOjpFj, what's your opinion? Comment below:
[Comment removed by mod team]
2mo
Ruhm, what's your opinion? Comment below:

As stated above JLC can work well for smaller wrists. I'm partial to the Master Ultra Thin Perpetual Calendar which includes a moon phase, which would fall into your budget range

2mo
poignant, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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