Designer Luxury – contradiction in terms?!

Thinking about purchasing a new watch?

Thinking about purchasing a designer watch?

Thinking about purchasing a luxury watch?

What is the difference and are the two terms mutually exclusive?

Luxury Watch – status symbol

Luxury watch is a term used to describe timepieces at the top end of the market. We’re talking Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, IWC, Rolex, Omega, Breitling, etc., you get the picture!

Finely crafted, Swiss-movement, costing more than yor average family car, and more!

These are the watches that serious collectors and mere lovers of watches, such as myself, drool over. Or watches that the rich and famous buy just because they can!

Designer Watch – Style over substance?

Then we have the designer watch, for want of a better term.

These are timepieces perceived by the uninitiated as luxury watches. But, are they? In a word, no, but that does not necessarily meant that they do not serve a purpose in the grand scheme of things.

Designer watches are labelled with designer names, such as Emporio Armani, Calvin Klein, DKNY, Karl Lagerfeld, Hugo Boss, etc., household names in the fashion sector and perceived to represent high-quality, high-cost items.

However, did you know that many of these brands are actually manufactured by the same Company? For instance:

  • Swatch Group – this Swiss Company don’t just make Swatch watches. They also manufacture watches for:
    • Balmain
    • Calvin Klein
    • Certina
    • Hamilton
    • Mido
    • Tissot
  • Fossil Group – as well as Fossil watches, they also make watches for:
    • Armani Exchange
    • Burberry
    • Diesel
    • DKNY
    • Emporio Armani
    • Karl Lagerfeld
    • Kate Spade
    • Marc Jacobs
    • Michael Kors
    • Relic
    • Skagen
    • Zodiac

So you see, what you see is not always what you get!

The fact is that you are actually paying a premium for the brand name to be included. People would pay more for a watch branded as Emporio Armani than they would if it was just branded as Fossil, even if it actually looked the same!


Having said all that, these two, and other similar, companies do actually make good, reliable watches and, so long as you know what you are getting, there is really no harm done.

In fact, given that the designers themselves do have a say in the design, you can pick up a very stylish and nice looking watch that actually looks more expensive than it really is! I myself have purchased a couple, because I liked the look of them.

So, don’t dismiss the designer watch, there is definitely a place for them in this world – and my collection!

This article has 4 Comments

  1. I never realised that there was a difference between luxury and designer watches. I always thought that designer watches were luxury. Funny how you pay more for the name and we perceive it as more valuable and luxurious than it actually is – though I suppose this happens everywhere these days and particularly in fashion.

  2. Hi David

    Very well explained. I always thought designer and luxury watches were the same thing. I have to say that I would prefer the Emporio Armani because I just love the simple and elegant design.


    1. Thank you for the comments, Helen. I agree with your opinion of the Emporio Armani – I have one of these myself and am very pleased with how it looks and it is also very reliable.

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