An expensive wrist bling is the “must-have” accessory when you’re looking for love. Women want to see a man as being successful and, along with upscale clothes and shoes, a good watch is an established symbol of success. Women want a man who can give them security and it highlights the fact you’re that type of guy.
The luxury-watch business has ticked upward in recent years. Remarkably, between November 2010 and November 2011, LGI Network, a market research company that tracks consumer retail trends in the US, recorded a 50 percent jump in sales of men’s watches priced over $10,000.The growth in the 12 months to November 2012 was more modest, at 6 percent, but the boom has got the industry buzzing.
Now that we’re emerging from the Great Recession — and financial-sector bonuses are returning — men are splurging on luxury watches, especially Swiss gold watches.
It sounds really shallow, but younger women really fall for all that stuff,” says Wall Street trader Mike, 27, the owner of a dozen high-end watches priced between $3,000 and $12,000 each. A member of the sugar-daddy-dating-service seekingarrangement.com, which matches wealthy men with women who want to be “kept,” Mike wears an $8,000 Rolex Submariner II to the office.
But his customized Bling Rolex watch is definitely more effective when he’s negotiating a deal in the dating game. “A Maserati only goes as far as the parking lot, but a watch you have with you all the time.”
Mike recalls a recent night out in Atlantic City when an admiring guest at the roulette table zeroed in on his bling: “I have a pretty small frame so, when I wear this watch, it takes up most of my arm,” says the 5-foot-7 banker. “I hit a spin, and this woman said: ‘Oh my gosh, that thing must be half your weight!’
“Then she was asking me what I did for a living, and where I was staying.”
One thing led to another. “Let’s just say it was a lucky night,” he demurs.
Meanwhile, Bill Hobbs, 33, a former financier-turned-actor and author of “The Work Book: How To Build Your Personal Brand,” is convinced that his Rolex watch collection played a part in his wife, Stephanie Wu, agreeing to marry him two years ago.
“Most guys aren’t going to tell you that they bought an expensive watch because they want to impress women,” he says. “They say it’s for their status with clients or because of their love of watches, but an overriding factor of buying anything grossly overpriced is to attract the opposite sex.”
Wu agrees. She says Hobbs’ gold GMT Master Rolex was one of the first things she noticed about him when they started dating.
“What struck me about his collection was that he was really rather passionate about it,” she says. In fact, luxury timepieces played such an important part in their romance, the couple was given $14,000 worth of matching Cartier watches by Wu’s parents before their marriage in Taiwan. Their wedding rings were made to match the pattern of the Cartier pieces, linked and flexible like watch bands.
As for Huang, he’s willing to take his chances on whether a woman is more interested in his watch than him.
“Yes, you’re always going to get gold diggers,” he shrugs, adjusting the strap on his Rolex. “But that’s the risk you take.”