When it came to buying and collecting luxury watches, you were typically left with two choices after the sale: leave the watch as is or customize it with gems, different finishes, and straps using after-market options to make it your own. Purists would never dream of doing the latter, while those who like to stand out refuse to wear the same watch as everyone else. Thankfully, a handful of watch manufacturers are jumping on the personalization bandwagon and offering a way for clients to customize their luxury timepieces right from the source.
An indisputable icon in the luxury watch space since 1904, the Santos’ claim to fame is that it was the first pilot’s watch ever made. In true Cartier form, the Santos retained much of its design language for over a century and the new versions are still instantly recognizable as a Santos watch. However, Cartier has fitted the new 2018 Santos watches with a clever QuickSwitch interchangeable strap system to make band switching a breeze. What’s more, the metal bracelets include SmartLinks, which means easy bracelet sizing without the need for a screwdriver. Each Santos comes with a choice of a matching metal bracelet plus a leather strap or two leather straps, ensuring that you can change up the look of your Cartier as often as you’d like.
IWC Ingenieur Chronograph
IWC takes the luxury watch personalization process to a whole new level with their custom Ingenieur Chronograph builder. You start with a 42.3 mm Ingenieur Chronograph case, an IWC-manufactured automatic chronograph movement, and a dial layout that includes a trio of registers at 6/9/12 and a date window at 3 o’clock. From there, you get to choose the case material (stainless steel or 18k red gold), dial and hand colors, band materials and colors, and caseback engravings. The result is your very own designed Ingenieur Chronograph like no other (unless someone else picked the exact same design specs as you did.)
Jaeger-LeCoultre Atelier Reverso
Thanks to their Atelier Reverso program—accessible either via an app or by visiting one of their boutiques—Jaeger-LeCoultre offers you a way to put your own spin on their famous swivel watch. With a range of models, case sizes, watch functions, band colors and lengths, engraving options, and in some cases, dial materials and colors for the second dial, there are literally thousands of ways to make your own Reverso watch. Famed shoe designer Christian Louboutin even created some special dials and straps a couple of years back to celebrate the Reverso’s 85th anniversary.
Vacheron Constantin Quai de l’Ile
Even a member of the so-called Holy Trinity of watches, Vacheron Constantin, is comfortable partially handing over the design reins to their customers. If haute horology is more your speed, you can customize your very own Vacheron Constantin Quai de l’Ile watch. Start by choosing between the Quai de l’Ile Day-Date and Power Reserve, Quai de l’Ile Retrograde Annual Calendar, or Quai de l’Ile Date Self-Winding. From there, you can play around with an assortment of options from the case, bezel, flanks, and crown materials to the strap and dial colors to finally, some engraving options. You can also mix materials to create a two-tone look if that’s what you fancy. What remains constant, of course, is the sapphire exhibition caseback for a view of the Vacheron Constantin movement within.