5 Watches To Hold On To For The Next Generation
Who amongst our readers has proclaimed that their luxury wristwatch purchase was an investment? Okay, that was just a wall of noise. Let me refine the question. What about justifying the cost because you can pass the watch on to the next generation when the time is right? Alright, I hear you — this is a crowd I can work with.
Even for affluent people, putting down big bucks for a flashy timepiece inspires a slight level of guilt. That money could have bought a family holiday, a new lawnmower, or even a new business venture. Regardless of the options, we choose to swipe our cards on fancy high-tech tickers we strap to our wrists. To compensate, we employ all sorts of reasons to convince ourselves the hefty bank balance deduction was worth it.
Watch brands are wise to the notion that a wristwatch can survive centuries. As long as the raw materials exist, the watches can keep on going with regular service and maintenance — longer than our lifetimes. Therefore, younger members of the family or friends close to our hearts can continue your legacy by wearing the watch they receive. Patek Philippe famously capitalized on this with the Generations Campaign.
You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely look after it for the next generation.
We tend to lambast this longstanding slogan. Instead, we prefer the cynical alternative: “You never actually own a Patek Philippe. You merely stay on the waiting list.” While this applies to the Nautilus and Aquanaut, there are a plethora of tasty Pateks that can be same-day purchases. Often, the advertising campaigns display the sort of timepieces that are not “Instagram Darlings”. That is very clever by Patek Philippe. A yellow gold Calatrava or diamond-studded Gondolo may lose monetary value but will always be timeless for the next generation to appreciate.
The Generations Campaign has been are part of the brand’s core values since 1996. Twenty-four years of the same slogan. Yet, I cannot fault it. It perfectly encapsulates Patek’s stance in the watch world and its traditional nature. My list today takes inspiration from this ideology but applies it to watches that will literally be for the next generation. By that, I mean choosing classic timepieces designed and produced in the modern era that are destined for the eons.
A. Lange & Söhne Lange 1
A. Lange & Sohne is the epitome of Glashütte watchmaking. The man himself, F. A. Lange, was one of the pioneers in revitalizing the crumbling former mining town of Glashütte in the 1800s. From basket-weaving to high-end pocket watchmaking, Ferdinand-Adolf Lange selected Glashütte to distinguish his creations from competitors. After the reunification of Germany in 1990, Lange’s ancestors sought to revive the company spirit with a contemporary yet traditional watch.
The Lange 1 dial with its iconic offset time and outsized date display became the symbol for the return of Glashütte, and even German watchmaking in general. The round 38.5mm case comes in either pink, yellow or white gold and platinum. The manually wound movement has an impressive 72-hour power reserve and a wonderfully decorated three-quarter plate movement made from German silver. Thankfully, you can observe the broad Glashütte stripes via the sapphire display case-back. A perfect watch to hand down to your loved ones.
Laurent Ferrier Galet Classic Micro-Rotor
So much that is good about luxury objects is restraint. Especially when it comes to designing watches for the next generation. You need to ensure a high-level of interest. But not too much that it becomes overwhelming. Laurent Ferrier hits this sweet spot regularly, with models dripping with watchmaking prowess. I will make a musical comparison: think of Eric Clapton — a celebrated guitarist who fuses and blends genres. He could quite easily write a symphonic 20-minute opus with virtuoso guitar solos. But he employs restraint and records 4-minute tunes that distill his talent into something catchy.
The pebble case and onion crown are curvaceous
The Laurent Ferrier brand has a similar approach to its timepieces. The Tourbillon is subtly integrated into the movement without an open aperture on the dial. Even the Tourbillon text is faint against the pale dial. My pick is the Galet Classic with an off-center micro-rotor that rotates without even a whimper. The silence is thanks to a traditional mechanism rather than ball bearings. The pebble case and onion crown are curvaceous with a dial with fine-tipped indices and hands. A pleasing piece to behold that anyone would be happy to care for.
Moritz Grossmann Tefnut
I’d forgive anyone for not being overly familiar with Moritz Grossmann. The brand was revived just over a decade ago and has adopted a small-scale production strategy that eschews many of the modern tropes, choosing instead to focus on a select (although limited) clientele, mostly based in Asia.
Glashütte accommodates nine watch companies. The three best-known are NOMOS Glashütte, Glashütte Original, and A. Lange & Söhne. That’s also in this order that the brands are structured in average retail prices. So where does Moritz Grossmann fit in when it comes to brands that might be able to furnish us with a watch for the next generation?
The cases are not produced in-house. In fact, neither are the sapphire crystals, nor the balance spring — that is supplied by Nivarox. With such limited quantities (500-700 pieces per year), the investment of in-house milling machines is too high. But it does not detract from the Moritz Grossmann DNA with which each watch is laced. The movements are manufacture calibers designed and hand-finished in the brand’s very-modern Glashütte premises. My choice for the next-gen is the Tefnut with lovely hand-engraved decoration on the plates and wheels.
H. Moser & Cie Streamliner Centre Seconds
H. Moser & Cie has shown that it has cojones when it comes to breaking tradition in watch design and marketing. Many of its Swiss compatriots were okay with Moser poking fun at the American-made Apple Watch with the Swiss Alp series. But the same brands took umbrage at “iconic” and “timeless” Swiss handiwork bearing the brunt of the joke with the Moser Swiss Icons. An ensuing 24-hour media storm in 2018 meant the watch eventually got the Thanos finger-snap treatment.
We are possibly looking at the next future classic
Not one to mope about with dampened spirits for long, Moser is still on track at doing what it does best. The new Matrix Green fumé Streamliner Centre Seconds exemplifies this rebellious attitude. This watch has caused quite a stir amongst the Fratello team — for very good reasons. We are possibly looking at the next future classic akin to the Bvlgari Octo Finissimo. Your kid or close family would surely take pleasure in receiving the first generation of this icon in the making.
L.U.C. Chopard XPS Twist QF Fairmined
It is understandable to assume your high-end watch comprises the finest materials, sourced from exotic locations, and assembled by artisans. This may be the vision marketers like to project when you pull the trigger and spend serious doubloons on a gold timepiece. In most cases, the above is valid from a surface level but not so when you dig a little deeper into the origins of said elements. Chopard aims to source gold responsibly from ethically mined sites with a Fairmined initiative in association with the Alliance for Responsible Mining (ARM).
Gold is not just for watches and jewelry. Small quantities are used in the processors currently running your smartphone, tablet, or laptop as you read this — putting the element in high demand. In developed countries, gold is mined industrially by machines with many protocols keeping workers safe and secure. However, in developing locales where gold is mined manually — known as artisanal mining — rural communities are subject to less protection. Safety, security, and humane treatment may take a back seat to healthy profit margins.
The Fairmined initiative aims to fund mining sites to improve the standard of living for the miners and their families. Fairmined maintains the standards of facilities, wages, equipment, and equal opportunities via annual audits. With Fairmined’s certification, Chopard selects the gold for its production models from sites that meet the criteria. As a result, miners and their families are working and living in safe, clean, and prosperous conditions. And the gold is mined sustainably with minimal impact on the surrounding environments.
The Earth’s climate is on certainly on high alert. Consumers, now more than ever, are questioning brands on providing sustainable products. Therefore, your next of kin would likely appreciate the ethical attitude you had and wear the watch with pride. My choice is the L.U.C. Chopard XPS Twist QF Fairmined that uses this ethically sourced gold — forged in a 40mm ultra-thin case. Powering the watch is the automatic time-only L.U.C. Calibre 96.09-L, boasting a 65-hour power reserve from twin barrels. The “Twist” comes from the off-centered running seconds sub-dial traditionally placed at 6 o’clock but instead located at 7 o’clock. As such, the crown of the “twisted” movement is at 4 o’clock instead of 3 o’clock, similar to many Seiko dive watches. Let us know your favorite of these heirloom pieces below. And don’t forget to pitch in with your suggestions too!