Since the wealthy can’t exactly carry their luxury homes and cars on them at all times, what better way to showcase their riches than with a time piece that does the bragging for them and according to a study of the super rich by New World Health, African men choose to don a Patek Philippe watch on their wrists.
Over the last 12 months, the research company has been collecting data from wealthy individuals from Angola, Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, Nigeria and Zambia with the criteria for ratings being exclusivity, quality and reputation.
“Notably, over the past ten years, the global men’s super-luxury watch industry has grown by more than five times in terms of revenue, whilst in Africa it has grown by even more,” said Andrew Amoils of NWH.
He adds: “As one local retailer put it: ‘watches have become to men what diamonds are to women’.”
The study revealed that Rolex, Omega and Tag are no longer the exclusive luxury watches they were a few years ago and that a true show of “super” wealth is by owning an original handmade watch.
Made by specialist watchmakers at a starting price of 10 000 US dollars per time piece. These specialists usually have a heavy background in watchmaking, sometimes dating as far back as the 1700s.
“Their value comes not so much from the materials used to make them, but rather in the precision, expertise and time taken to individually construct each watch. Amazingly, one watch can take a specialist watch maker over a year to make,” Amoils’ research shows.
Brands are still the easiest precursor of riches and according the study, Patek Philippe ranks as the top selling “super-luxury” watch by African revenue, followed by Franck Muller and Audemars Piguet.
The study bounces over a few possibilities for the rapid growth in the timekeeping business over the past few years, for instance for men, they show status and are the most recognised form of jewellery for men.
And unlike cars, yachts or property, watches can be bought cash without arousing suspicion, nor have tax implications.
Aside from portability, top-end watches are also an investment like an art piece, as they retain value over time.