It used to be the case that the only watches you could buy online were either pocket-money prices or of the slightly dubious sorts on eBay. However, just like you can get your hands on everything from Alexander McQueen to Zimmermann at the click of a touch pad, online fashion portals are making the move into watches, with some really interesting results. Here’s three websites worth your precious browsing time.
The luxury fashion retailer, with an eye for the interesting, only started to make a name for itself as a place to get your fine watches in 2018. Despite this relative newbie status, it has made such an impression that Zenith chose to collaborate on an exclusive limited-edition all-white skeletonised version of its Defy Classic to celebrate the brand’s one-year anniversary on the platform.
In keeping with Farfetch’s independent spirit, you won’t find the usual suspects here. While there is a smattering of familiar names – TAG Heuer, Gucci and Bell & Ross – you’ve also got beautifully bonkers exclusives from Ulysse Nardin or colourful customised Cartiers from La Califorienne. It even has an amazing pre-owned section where you can pick up a really unusual Piaget Miss Protocole from 1980 courtesy of Farfetch’s hook up with fine watch retailer The Collective.
nomos glashutte tetra 27mm, £1,520
Treat yourself to a Gucci Grip. Its case is based on the grip pad of a skateboard and its retro 1970s vibe meets parking metre is unlike anything else around.
Give yourself a little love with this full-pave heart design from London-based Backes & Strauss. Wonderfully decadent.
As you would expect from this who’s-who of desirable fashion brands, Net-a-Porter’s watch brand curation reads like that of your extremely well-dressed friend whose style you envy and whose opinion you seek when you want to buy something new. Everything here could be housed under the label 'iconic'. There’s elegant Portofinos from IWC, Piaget’s curvy Limelights, Cartier’s slinky Pantheres and classic Ballon Bleus and Hermès’s WASP classic the Cape Cod. That’s not to say there’s nothing new here – it is currently debuting Vacheron Constantin’s couture-inspired Égérie and there’s also the relaunched Jaeger-LeCoultre 101 Reine – the Queen-Liz-approved watch (she wore it to her Coronation) containing the smallest calibre in the world.
And, like a more luxurious less-calorific Dominos delivery, you can have whatever you buy delivered to your door by the end of the day.
Bring a bit of New England sunshine into your life with this rather gorgeous Hermès Cape Cod. There are other strap options, but it has to be on-brand orange, doesn’t it?
Unleash your inner feline fatale with this incredible cuff from Cartier. The flowing links are supposed to mimic the movement of a panther slinking through the jungle.
If pre-owned is more your passion, then Xupes is going to be your one-stop shop. Set up in 2009 and now the first (rather unusual) word in pre-owned luxury selling art and handbags alongside watches and jewellery. That’s not to say the father-and-son team behind the site, Frank and Joseph Mackenzie, are Del-Boy style chancers, each section has a dedicated team of experts to ensure items are genuine. On the watch side, there is an in-house accredited watch service centre, with members who have even been accredited by brands such as Cartier and Omega, which means the service they offer is as good as any you’d get in Switzerland.
It is not for us to speculate how Xupes gets its hands on the watches it does, but whoever they are they certainly have taste. There’s currently a two-year-old Chanel Mademoiselle Prive in excellent condition up for grabs as well as some incredible vintage Tiffany, a bonkers Harry Winston and even a 70-year-old Patek Philippe Gondolo.
You could even move into the “bags” section and pick up a Dior saddle bag from 2004.
If you’ve always had your eye on one of the amazing stone-dial Seventies-tastic Piaget watches, but can’t quite scrap together the £50,000 needed, then this from Delaneau will satisfy those cravings for something disco-fabulous.
Less a watch and more a work of art for the wrist, this Pasha de Cartier in white gold with an enamel dial is just incredible. That it has barely been worn suggests a previous life in a safe, but don't make that mistake – timepieces like this deserve to be seen.