My first watch: A self-winding chronograph with a black dial and no brand name, but I loved it. Actually, I still
Why wearing a great watch still matters: A watch remains a strong social marker. Mastering time is what makes mankind rise.
Advice for first-time buyers: Price is hardly the only thing. Find a specialist, a trusted dealer or an auction house. Knowledge takes time.
Best watch to gift: The watch has to represent the person. To my wife, I offered a very rare Cartier Tonneau Jumbo [$68,500]: timeless and elegant.
Best watch to start a collection: A Rolex Air-King, GMT [GMT-Master II, top left, $39,900] or Explorer I. They are safe values, both classic and elegant — the companion of a lifetime. I would also recommend a Cartier Tank. It represents perfectly the “chic à la française.”
Celeb watch icon: The Rolex GMT of Che Guevara, which is a milestone not only in the history of watchmaking, but also in the human adventure. And the Breguet Type XX of Serge Gainsbourg, the French singer.
Favorite watch book: “Wristwatches” by Gisbert Brunner and Christian Pfeiffer-Belli.
Senior Online Retail Associate, Christie’s
My first watch: A Casio G-Shock given by my parents when I was 10.
Why wearing a great watch still matters: A watch is like an extension of yourself. If you wear a vintage piece, it has a story behind it, which opens opportunities to connect with people.
Advice for first-time buyers: Don’t pay high premiums for hyped models on social media. Buy what truly fascinates you and speaks to your personal aesthetics and needs.
Best watch to gift: If budget allows, a vintage Patek Philippe Ref. 2526 for dad.
Watch I’m coveting: A stainless Audemars Piguet Royal Oak with blue dial, manual winding, 37 mm. Super chic and classic, meets my everyday-wear need.
Best cameo in a movie: The Rolex Paul Newman Daytona with a panda dial in “Crazy Rich Asians.” It’s definitely a show stopper.
Celeb watch icon: Musician Eric Clapton, known for his Rolexes and Patek Philippes. We sold his exceptionally rare and important platinum Patek Philippe Ref. 2499 in 2012 for roughly $3.7 million.
Favorite watch book: “My Time” by Sandro Fratini describes the author’s collection of the most prestigious watches in the world.
The New Yorker moved to Hong Kong for her job in watch sales, chronicling her longtime faves and new finds for some 7,800 Insta followers.
Personal style: Simple, chic with a little bit of sexy.
First watch: A vintage LeCoultre chronograph in stainless steel from the ’50s. I spotted it on Instagram and DMed the seller immediately.
Watch count: 10-plus. My recent favorite additions are a Patek Philippe Aquanaut, an Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and a fun new Rolex Oyster Perpetual with the turquoise blue “Stella”-looking dial.
Favorite complication: Perpetual calendars are the most beautiful complications visually and conceptually.
Watch icon: John Mayer. Honestly, I’d just like to marry him to be able to wear his watches. But also, he has definitely brought the cool factor to watch collecting for younger generations.
Top watch city: Hong Kong, no question. Watches are a part of the culture — you can see some of the most insanely rare and complicated stuff being worn on the street. Plus, you really have access to buy anything you’re hunting for. It feels like every watch in the world finds its way in and out of HK at some point.
The Bologna-born expert documents his horological habit for 41,000+ Insta fans using the nom-de-watch John Goldberger.
Personal style: I like to wear handmade suits from Italian tailors, Brooks Brothers shirts and vintage denim or military wear.
First watch: A Rolex chronograph, manufactured in 1938. I bought it at an antiques shop in Bologna when I was just 19.
Watch count: A lot! My latest acquisition was a unique rectangular white-gold world-time watch manufactured in 1940 for Golay Fils & Stahl, Geneva, with a Louis Cottier mechanism.
Top watch city: Tokyo. There is a great culture for watches, and you can find many shops with vintage or secondhand wristwatches.
Favorite travel piece: A simple Rolex Submariner with gilt dial. The Submariner is the only watch that you can wear with denim or with a tuxedo.
Watch icon: John Pierpont Morgan [of banking fame], who accumulated — in a very short time — the best timepieces from around the world and published a great book on his own collection. Henry Graves Jr. also had the most discerning eye, and a desire for complex timepieces; Patek Philippe’s Graves watch was the most complicated watch in the world in the ’30s.
More than 13,000 timepiece obsessives follow this Hong Kong-based pro, a former watch specialist with auction company Bonhams.
Personal style: Between elegant and smart casual. I wear suits almost daily but sometimes dress down.
First watch: A kit that helps you learn to assemble the movement and build your own timepiece. It’s how I started to develop a deep interest in watch collecting.
Watch count: Around 100.
Next watch: The latest Cartier Privé Tank Asymétrique, inspired by the 1936 original. Most people think only complicated watches are collectible, but this is an excellent example of a simple but desirable one.
Watch icon: James Ward Packard, famous for founding the car company with his name on it, and a watch collector, too. He pursued pieces with the most complicated functions, leading to today’s race among brands to create the most complicated watches.
Favorite watch book: “The Mastery of Time” by historian Dominique Fléchon. It’s a comprehensive record of watchmaking history, completely factual, unbiased and absolutely non-commercial.”
Top watch city: Geneva. Every corner, every billboard is watch themed. This is probably the only city where you’ll find a luxury watch display inside a 5-star hotel restroom.