Something going above $20,000 is definitely not a matter of joke and certainly doesn’t fit the bill of regular purchases, but here, you must know, precisely, what you are getting from your new acquisition. And unless you have an appreciation for those must-havenovelties, chances are you will treat them as nothing but mere eye candies that will, definitely, show your wealth to the world but not your taste. An emotional purchase, after all, doesn’t earn appreciation among the haute horology admirers circuit.

So here we will see what goes in that make the luxury purchases cross the $20,000 mark and retain their stellar (if not astronomical) value; no parti pris is entertained in this domain. An understanding of the desirable traits shall help you decide if you are at all going to spend that amount and that starts with the precious metal constructions.

It is tough deciding between – say – 18k gold and titanium, unless it’s one of them you have a fascination for. But when it comes to the long-term ROI, it can’t be decided that easily. This is when quantity also makes a point.

That’s to say, the total amount of gold, platinum or titanium and precious stones (if any) present in the watch and includes even the markers, the hands and the crown, apart from the case and the bracelet (the buckle, in case it’s a strap). Then come the colors (yellow gold vs. rose, red, pink and white), but this is more of a personal choice here.

However, regarding the jewels (no, not those inside the movement but those set externally to bring on the esthetics), you must confirm their origin. There are natural stones and there are the lab-synthesized – but there also exists a third variety called recycled stones, which are taken out from older/unsold items. Both quality and quantity are determining factors here, but the point is: Precious stones are not an important part of high-end luxury watches, so it’s up to the buyer if they are at all to be considered. Concentrate on the movement, instead.

These can be in-house or stock movements. A fine example of the latter is the ETA from Swatch Group, which is often modified before it is fitted into. These are better described as modules and have rooms for further uniqueness and complexities. However, the crème of the lot always design and construct their own movements and here we are talking about Patek Philippe, JLC, Audemars Piguet or say, A. Lange & Sohne. Sometimes, they also make exclusive movements that reflect high esthetics or ultra-complications or both; however, owning one of these just because it is so only gives you the right to be a snob. To brag, you must truly understand and appreciate its construction and functioning, more so, if it is made from exotic materials like silicium and even ceramics, though the latter finds usage more on the outside.

And finally, the Seal of Geneva, certifying quality and origin as per the Swiss law of watchmaking, of which, hand-construction and assembling are a vital part (on a broader sense). That also makes Limited Production an essential determinant, but that’s something we keep for some other time.

As for now, this is enough to decide on your investment-grade acquisition.