Bankers upgrade from Apple Watch to Audemars Piguet as their careers take off

(Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Apple may have overtaken Rolex to become the world’s biggest watchmaker, but the Swiss industry need not despair because the tech giant may have inadvertently created a gateway drug to more expensive wristwear fixes.

eFinancialCareers, a specialist recruitment firm for the investment and banking community, says that executives on the lower rungs of the Wall Street career ladder are increasingly wearing fitness trackers, Apple Watches and other connected timepieces, but they soon upgrade to prestige mechanical watches once the big bucks start rolling in.

eFinancialCareers editor Editor Dan Butcher says that there is no single brand or price point that works for everybody in the financial world, and notes that success brings people into different circles, and this requires them to invest in costlier models to avoid embarrassment.

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“Wall Street professionals can be a bit snobby, and at the very least, they are highly attuned to class and status, whether consciously or not. Even if you’re in the midst of achieving an incredible rags-to-riches story, how you’re perceived matters. And how you’re perceived can be helped by a watch,” Mr Butcher notes.

In a guide that watch retailers should study for tips on how to match timepieces to prospective customers, Mr Butcher and his financial market friends describe the career trajectory of bankers and the purchases that accompany them on their journey.

“Once you get to the vice-president level and up, luxury watches tend to become more common,” says  an analyst working in New York at a Canadian investment bank. “Rolex is by far the most popular brand, with the DateJust and Submariner appearing most frequently. Rolex’s stainless-steel GMT models are also quite popular, and occasionally you will see a Rolex Daytona, but these are definitely rarer than other Rolex models.”

Other than Rolex, veeps might choose IWC, Rolex or TAG Heuer.

The most senior work their way up towards Patek Philippe, Audemars Piguet, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Vacheron Constantine and A. Lange & Söhne.

“These are by far the rarest choices, largely because of the astronomical cost, as well as the relative obscurity of some of these brands for those who aren’t watch-aficionados,” the analyst says.

Click here for a full a full rundown of what watches sell to the financial community throughout their careers.

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