Investing in a watch is no casual affair. There’s craftsmanship, complications and design elements to consider, a mix of technical prowess, aesthetics and “I need this” intuition that are all at play. And then, after years and years of constant use, a once-loved watch can lose its proverbial luster. There’s no need to let that investment piece collect dust in the back of your dresser drawer, though, when you can easily find an alternative daily desk-to-drinks companion.
But how? Those seeking something new can opt to trade in and trade up. While you can simply consign your fine watch, our watch trade-in program allows you the satisfaction of receiving on-the-spot payment for an instant upgrade. To help you find a luxe replacement, our resident Horologist, Karin Dickinson, advises on the top timepieces you need in your arsenal now.
The Horologist’s Pick
Omega Seamaster Watch; Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean 600 M Co-Axial Watch
If you’re married to your Omega Seamaster, consider going for the modern marvel that is the Seamaster Planet Ocean 600 M Co-Axial Watch. “The Seamaster, with its quartz movement, is a standard entry-level watch, and the Seamaster Planet Ocean is a natural upgrade,” notes Dickinson. “It features an automatic movement and is prized for the co-axial escapement, created by master watchmaker George Daniels in the 1970s.” Daniels sold it to Omega in the ‘90s for mass production.
Anyone looking to impress fellow horology buffs with their knowledge on the ins and outs of Omega’s co-axial escapement need only look at their wrist. “Almost all other modern watches use the Swiss lever escapement, so the co-axial is unique to Omega and extremely notable as far as collectability goes,” says Dickinson. “Up until the invention of the co-axial escapement, the Swiss lever was the best the watch world had to offer, hence why its wide use. But the co-axial eliminates even more potential friction, one of the enemies of good timekeeping. In essence, the co-axial leads to more accurate timekeeping and, theoretically, longer intervals between servicing.”
The Executive Watch
Panerai Luminor Marina Watch; Panerai Radiomir 8 Days Watch
The businessman looking for something less basic than a sporty Panerai Luminor Marina will be impressed with the sleek Panerai Radiomir 8 Days Watch. “Both of these are manual wind movements, but the Radiomir’s 18K yellow gold case adds unparalleled class and is a natural transition for Panerai buffs,” says Dickinson. “The Radiomir’s ‘8 Days’ title refers to its eight day power reserve. It’s a huge step up from the Luminor Marina’s 48-hour reserve, and is accomplished by Panerai’s inclusion of 1-2 extra barrel completes.”
A barrel complete consists of a barrel drum, a mainspring, a barrel arbor and a barrel cover. “Panerais tend to be gigantic watches, so they have the extra room for additional barrels, and it was a brilliantly logical next step for them,” notes Dickinson. “From a mechanical standpoint, the addition of the extra barrel is pretty genius. The power reserve of a mechanical watch is determined by the overall length of the mainspring — the longer the spring, the longer it runs. Because there’s only so much room in a barrel for the mainspring to coil up, the addition of multiple barrel completes is a good way to compensate for the limited spring size.”
The takeaway: the Radiomir’s 18K accent and smart alligator strap mean you can waltz into the boardroom with confidence and still easily complete a three-piece suit with it on more formal occasions.
The Collector Find
Rolex Oyster Perpetual Watch; Rolex Milgauss Watch
Collectors, take note — Rolex’s Milgauss is a timepiece to definitely keep in mind when trading up. “Diehard Rolex fans go crazy for the Milgauss because of its green sapphire crystal,” says Dickinson. “Rolex produced the green crystal as a limited production anniversary edition in 2007 as an ode to the official 1956 model.”
The original was devised as an antimagnetic watch for scientists and others who worked in power plants, labs and medical facilities, because certain electromagnetic fields would disrupt the watch’s timing. It was tested by the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), and they determined it could resist magnetic fields up to 1,000 gauss. “The history behind it makes it all the more coveted,” notes Dickinson.
The history, plus Rolex’s expert strategy of supply and demand. “It’s one of those hard-to-get models from authorized retailers, in that you’d have to have bought three or four other Rolexes from them before they’d consider putting you on the waiting list for one,” explains Dickinson. “It’s sort of like the Princess Diana Beanie Baby craze of the ‘90s. Rolex creates scarcity in order to drive up desire and value. Whenever we receive these Milgauss models, they sell within a day.”
The standard Rolex Oyster Perpetual is a classic, so if you’re looking for something rare but not too far off from the Oyster, a storied, elegant Milgauss is the perfect trophy piece to snag.
The Complicated Timepiece
Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse Watch; Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Watch
Any watch aficionado should be familiar with legendary 180-year-old Genevan watch brand Patek Philippe. If you’ve secured your own but want to take your watch game to the next level, consider going for a model that’s equally elegant and incredibly more modern.
“While the Patek Philippe’s Golden Ellipse Watch is a beautiful and classic watch, it’s a bit high-maintenance since it’s a manual wind movement,” notes Dickinson. “Trading up to an automatic model means your watch maintains the same level of craftsmanship with a bit less hassle. My pick would be a Patek Philippe Annual Calendar Watch.”
It’s a complicated trade up — but not in the standard sense. “A complication is any additional watch function above simply telling the time, such as date, moonphase, power reserve or chronograph,” says Dickinson. “With this upgrade, you jump in both case size and complications. And here, the alligator strap adds an extra-luxe touch.”
The Classic Diver
Rolex Datejust Watch; Rolex Submariner Date Watch
Reliable and streamlined, the Rolex Datejust is renowned for being one of the brand’s most iconic timepieces. The only watch that could perhaps surpass it in both mechanical mastery and iconic design? The Rolex Submariner.
“Rolex was the first company to create a completely waterproof diver’s watch, using extra gaskets, seals and an overall better case design than most other brands, which is what made the Submariner so revolutionary,” explains Dickinson. “Rolex has been an horological pioneer through and through, so if you’re looking for something a little more casual and inventive, the Submariner is a terrific upgrade.”
It’s also more durable. The Datejust’s acrylic crystal has a tendency to wear more easily than the Submariner’s scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. The former’s links are also hollow and easily stretched, while the Submariner’s solid bracelet links can withstand daily use much better than its Datejust predecessor.
If your Datejust is on the older side, like the ‘70s-era model pictured here, going with a more recent model like an ‘06 Submariner is beneficial in myriad ways. “Both models here would have been COSC-certified when they were first created,” explains Dickinson, “though the Submariner will have modern metal alloys used in the movement, making it less susceptible to changes in temperature, magnetism, et cetera. These would all be factors that adversely affect timing. It’s not that an older Datejust isn’t good because of this, but, as with any watch company, Rolex is constantly improving its designs and materials, and that does mean newer is better in this case.”
The Car Enthusiast’s Choice
Cartier Pasha de Cartier Watch; Cartier Roadster Watch
Watches and automobiles are not so dissimilar, especially for gearheads fascinated with the multifaceted inner workings that require years of study and incomparable attention to detail. Perhaps that’s why Cartier chose to immortalize sports cars of the ‘50s and ‘60s with the Roadster Watch.
“The overall design of the Cartier Roadster was inspired by the Porsche 356 Speedster,” explains Dickinson. “The magnification lens above the date mimics a windshield, the crown looks like a wheel and the lugs seem to be headlights. Essentially, it’s supposed to look like a tiny car on your wrist.”
If you’ve held onto a watch like the Cartier Pasha de Cartier but seek a more distinctive design that’s long-lasting, consider the Roadster. “All watches require a complete service every 4 to 6 years, but the Pasha de Cartier — a quartz watch — needs a battery replacement every couple of years, on top of the occasional complete service. With the automatic Roadster, you’ll be trading up for a watch that will typically last you longer based on the movement alone. It’s hard to say that one of these watches is actually better than the other, of course, since they’re both stainless steel, both have sapphire crystals and Cartier is so easily accessible for periodic services for either movement type. But the Roadster is a refined timepiece that you’ll appreciate for years to come.”
It’s time for an upgrade. Learn more about our watch trade-in program now.