You Better Watch Out!

Wristwatches are In

We’ve been curious about the myriad luxuries purchased by our brethren during this time of Covid: pools, houses, jewelry, pets. All understandable - someplace to live, snuggly beings to cuddle, hard metal to safeguard cash. But watches? Watch sales waned with smartphones, right?

Evidently not for long.

Suddenly Westporters are buying watches in droves. Due to our insatiable thirst for knowledge and our love of shiny things, we decided to better understand this resurgence of titillation for timepieces.

So we scheduled a meeting with Mike Halpy of Lenox Jewelers, to learn what makes watch buyers tick.

There are two main reasons: 1. The value of a good watch rarely goes down; 2. They make people happy.

According to Mike, “A watch is sign of achievement, a sign that you worked hard. It ties into your personality and is a celebration of life.”

The extent of the celebration (price) of a watch differs greatly according to the brand, metal, and gemstones (if any), though its ultimate value depends on what the buyer likes. Which is all good, but we were really curious about Rolexes.

First, Rolex is owned by a foundation so they’re not slaves to shareholders. This independence allows them to focus on one thing: “[A] quest to make the best watch on the market,” says Mike. "They don’t disclose how many they make. If demand goes up, they don’t make watches to chase demand.”

Further, Rolex manufactures everything themselves (except for the gemstones and raw metals. The earth makes those). They use 904L stainless steel, which has superior resistance then standard stainless steel, and mix their own alloys, like most high-end watches. While Rolex doesn’t officially disclose the time it takes to make a watch, estimates are about one year.

Take this impeccable production, throw in things like chronographs and  slide rules, then doll it up in gold and ice and you’ve got a costly clock on your carpals. Of note, Westport’s Paul Newman owned a Rolex Daytona which sold at auction in 2017 for $17.8 million dollars, making it the most expensive watch in their history.

But if you don’t live on the corner of Mega and Millions, you can still sport a great watch. Here are some of our favorites:

Mike showed us a new brand, Shinola, which is based in Detroit and helping to revitalize Mo Town’s sluggish economy. Their witty Detrola watches, like the “Pee Wee” and the “Silly Putty,” are expertly crafted and ablaze with happy color.

Popular brand Oris is kicking up the fun factor with their Divers Sixty Five “Cotton Candy” line. The bronze watches, which get a lovely patina, have faces in lipstick pink, sea green, and sky blue.

Oris’ Aquis Date features dials made from plastic from the ocean. The recycling process creates different patterns in the plastic, so each watch is unique.

Lagos has introduced fine jewelry bracelets for Apple watches, so your handy texting capabilities look less like something you’re resigned to wear and more like something you want to.

Cartier, because it’s Cartier and their watches are notoriously beautiful. Rubber wristbands are becoming increasingly popular (waterproof, lightweight, easy-to-clean), so Cartier has designed them to resemble sewn leather or incorporated hardware to evoke stainless steel.

Then there’s the one that truly captures our imagination, the Brietling Emergency watch. It’s for the adventurous individual who runs risk of being lost or stranded somewhere more exotic than a lonely road in New Haven. “You pull an antenna out of the watch to send a signal to the Coast Guard and other organizations, alerting them to where you are,” Mike explains. But don’t get too excited; you pay a penalty if it’s not an emergency.


2500 Black Rock Turnpike, Fairfield

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