Why wrist watches are dialling up bling factor
Few things say more about a man than his watch. Its character, style and price tag can speak volumes.
But in today's time-poor society, when the need to keep tabs on those seconds is more essential than ever, it seems the concept of a wrist watch has become that of a status symbol rather than a practical chronometer.
The clock is ticking for the watch, according to a survey that suggests one in seven people in the UK has no need for one, apart from as a fashion accessory.
According to market analyst Mintel, the growth of portable time telling gadgets such as iPods, laptops and mobile phones, represents a threat to the watch industry.
It was discovered that although 86 per cent of people still own a watch, more than nine in 10 own a mobile.
And those aged 25 or younger were twice as likely as those in their 40s or 50s to have stopped wearing a watch, with 28 per cent not having one.
But if watches no longer have a function telling the time, they still can say a lot about the wearer.
Even in the age of iPhones, people spend huge amounts of money on a quality time piece, with high-end brands such as Rolex and Tagheuer adorning blinged up wrists of rappers, bankers and fashionistas alike.
A specialist retailer of fine designer jewellery and luxury watches, the existence of David M Robinson is testimony to the idea that buying a Rolex isn't about knowing the time.
Sandy Madhvani, showroom manager at the brand's Jubilee Place branch, said: "Everyone would wear a Swatch if they just wanted to tell the time.
"The reason people wear expensive watches is because they want to feel special. People work hard and they want to show off what they have earned.
"It's not about telling the time, its a projection of your personality.
"A watch is part of your uniform and says a lot about you.
"We wouldn't be taking on new brands if we thought watch sales were declining. It could be at the lower end of the market that sales are decreasing, but people are still spending a lot of money on our watches. Just like a fine wine, people see buying an expensive watch like a Rolex as an investment. It's a reassurance that should you ever want to cash it in, that a watch like this will hold its value or even be more valuable in the future."
Hublot, the luxury Swiss watchmaker recently arrived at David M Robinson to join their portfolio of luxury watch brands.
Mr Madhvani has been a watchmaker for 30 years and is adamant that high quality wrist watches will stand the test of time.
He said: "There is always something new developing in the watch industry.
"Some brands - for example Patek Philippe - we can't get enough stock in as production is limited and very exclusive.
"The brand is all about being able to pass on your watch to the next generation.
"The watch I wear every day is my son's. I will leave it to him so he can then pass it on to his children.
"We won't be round in 100 years time but a good watch will be."
"Customers put their names on waiting lists for three years for this type of watch.
"When you touch and feel a watch that a watchmaker has given a year of his life to creating - treating it like a loving child - you know it's something special.
"The Patek Philippe watches are all handmade and when you buy one you belong to an exclusive club."
On future trends, he said: "Women are starting to spend as much as men on their watches - they have become interested in the mechanisms and manufacturing process, so the market is not so male dominated any more."