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Ask the Expert; Brian Duffy, CEO of the Watches of Switzerland Group

By Amanda Evans | 3 minute read

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The term ‘luxury’ can be very flippantly referenced in different scenarios dependent upon the purpose for which it is being used. A luxury holiday or luxury décor can be interpreted very differently according to how they are perceived by the individual. Services, items, and experiences can be sensitive to an individual’s wealth or their emotions and often represent the object of one’s desires. But in the world of horology the term ‘luxury’ really does have substance behind it.

In the second of our series of Ask The Experts, we invited our CEO Brian Duffy to share his expertise on ‘What Defines Luxury’ within the world of horology.

Brian was appointed as our CEO of the Watches of Switzerland Group in 2014. We partner with the most prestigious luxury watch and jewellery brands within Watches of Switzerland (UK and US), Mappin & Webb, Goldsmiths and Mayors (US).

Prior to the Watches of Switzerland Group, Brian was Group President of Polo Ralph Lauren Europe and the Middle East for 9 years based in Geneva Switzerland. Brian’s experience in the luxury market began here and he has since harnessed a wealth of expertise working with luxury global watch brands.

Brian’s experience with luxury watch brands, including Rolex and Patek Philippe, and the successful and continuous growth of the Watches of Switzerland Group as the destination to buy a luxury watch, puts him in the perfect position to add clarity to the term ‘luxury’ amongst timepieces.

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Let’s understand what defines a luxury watch, with Brian Duffy…

Firstly, many thanks for joining us today Brian to talk watches and their association with the term luxury. There is a plethora of brands worldwide that design and manufacture timepieces but what really defines a ‘luxury’ timepiece?

Technically we classify any watch priced at £1,000 or over as luxury, however, it is really about the individual choice and circumstances.

Some people refer to timepieces as a good investment, is this something that you would agree with and why?

More than most product categories, luxury watches hold their value. Many watches appreciate in price.

Across the landscape of luxury timepieces, which would you consider to be the greatest in terms of holding their value?

Clearly where demand exceeds supply, value and price will appreciate, and today that is true particularly for Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemars Piguet.

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Both luxury watches and fashion watches have their place. What key features attract someone to buy into either genre?

Luxury and fashion watches both appeal on aesthetics, functionality, and brand image. With luxury, precious materials, mechanical craftsmanship, exclusivity, and rarity all result in justifiable high prices.

We all have desires and aspirations and we’re sure that you must do too. So, the million-dollar question is, what luxury watch do you aspire to and why?

I am in a fortunate position when it comes to watches and I have a nice collection of icons and special pieces. There are many watches on my future shopping list but along with the rest of the world, a Patek Nautilus in steel is on the top of my wish list.

Discover a luxury watch to suit you here at Goldsmiths.

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