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06/19/2024
 4 minutes

Partners for life: Which watch brand would you choose?

By Kristian Haagen
One-Brand-Laurent-Ferrier-2-1

One aspect that makes the world of luxury watches and watch collecting so beautiful is the variety of models and watch brands – there’s truly something for every style, budget, and preference. But what if you had to choose just one watch brand for the rest of your life? We set our authors to work getting to the bottom of this. The rules were as followed:

  1. You have to choose one watch brand to wear for the rest of your life
  2. Money is no object
  3. Fun twist: You get one “wild card” watch, i.e., you can swap one watch of your chosen brand for a watch from another brand. Which one would it be?

Let’s get this thought experiment started. First up: Kristian Haagen.

 

Till death do us part: Which watch brand do you choose?

My collection is admittedly full of Rolex sports watches from the 1960s and 70s. That’s because Rolex was the first watch brand I was introduced to as a kid, flipping through National Geographic. Sure, I’ve been attracted to and collect other brands besides Rolex. But is Rolex the “one and only” brand that I can imagine wearing on my wrist for the rest of my life?

If I had to wear only one watch brand for the rest of my life, my choice would be Laurent Ferrier.

Laurent Ferrier is what we call an “indie” watch brand, i.e., an independent watchmaker. No group owns the brand – unlike Omega, Breguet, and Blancpain, all part of the Swatch Group; Piaget, Cartier, and Vacheron Constantin, which are part of Richemont; Bvlgari and Zenith belong to LVMH; and Frédérique Constant, Arnold & Son, and Bulova, which are all in the hands of the Citizen group.

Laurent Ferrier entered my watch collecting universe many moons ago when my friend Benjamin Clymer acquired a Laurent Ferrier timepiece. I was naturally curious and asked him why he chose this brand. His answer was brief and compelling: “Think Patek Philippe. But better.”

Those words had a profound impact on me. As someone who owned five Patek Philippe watches at the time, I was taken aback to hear a close friend and longtime Patek Philippe enthusiast praise another brand so highly.

Since then, I have Jacques Cousteau-ed deeper into Laurent Ferrier’s world, discovering a brand that exemplifies the pinnacle of horological craftsmanship, blending traditional technology with modern innovation.

Admittedly, each Laurent Ferrier watch I encountered following Benjamin’s praise displayed an exquisite level of detail and sophistication that resonated with my appreciation of fine watchmaking. I also started questioning my love for the Nautilus collection, especially when I first handled the 44-mm Laurent Ferrier Grand Sport Tourbillon in titanium at Dubai Watch Week in 2019. It was love at first sight, and I was ready for a hot affair with a brand other than Patek Philippe.

The model you’d choose for the rest of your life?

As a seasoned collector, the question is very hard to answer. Why call yourself a collector if you’re content with a single timepiece? That said, it’s a very interesting thought. Getting back to my answer: Laurent Ferrier would be my manufacturer of choice, with the Sport Auto being the model I’d go with.

This watch appeals to me for many reasons. I’m a long-time fan of titanium, an excellent material that is both lightweight and incredibly strong, offering superior resistance to scratches and corrosion compared to stainless steel. But it’s only one of the reasons why I’d choose the Sport Auto as my forever watch.

The 41.5-mm Sport Auto features an exquisite blue dial, a visual delight that is both striking and elegant. Its date aperture is a unique design element, reminiscent of the hood of the Porsche 935 Turbo that Ferrier drove to a third-place finish in the 1979 Le Mans race, co-piloted by his longtime friend François Sérvanin, who is also co-founder of the esteemed watch manufacturer.

A glance at the back of the Sport Auto reveals a jaw-droppingly gorgeous automatic caliber LF270.01 with a microrotor and Swiss lever escapement. So, if the front of the Sport Auto doesn’t win you over, the view from the back will undoubtedly convince you to choose this watch for the rest of your life. It certainly made me a believer.

The Wild Card Watch

Choosing a titanium watch that goes for over 50 grand as the only watch to wear until I’m six feet under seems like a stretch, at least economically. So the Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675, which was in production from 1959 to 1980, is most likely going to be the watch on my wrist when my time comes. It’s always been a favorite of mine, occupying no less than three slots in my box of micromechanical watch treasures.

Rolex GMT-Master 1675
Rolex GMT-Master 1675

Now, I’m fully aware that a vintage Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675 isn’t exactly cheap. But this article isn’t about prices, it’s about that one brand and one watch that we, the die-hard collectors, are always afraid to be prodded about. So here it is… Dream watch: Laurent Ferrier Sport Auto; most likely watch: Rolex GMT-Master ref. 1675.

This was the first but certainly not the last article in this series – so make sure to stay tuned. What would be your brand and model of choice? Let us know in the comments below!


About the Author

Kristian Haagen

I've been collecting watches since I was about 20 years old. I like vintage watches most; they often come with a fascinating history or a cool provenance. Provenance makes a watch far more interesting than any brand-new watch.

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