A Timeless Investment feat. Van Cleef & Arpels

October 8th, 2012

There comes a time in a stylish man’s life when he wants to make a long-term investment in a timepiece. After all, few material possesions represent and define a man’s life like his wrist watch.

Women have jewelry and precious stones, but men, we have our trusted watch. The watch that we saved for, the watch that kept us on time, the watch that lived life via our wrist, and the watch that we will pass down to carry on our legend long after we pass.

Guys often ask our advice on purchasing a timepiece as a long-term investment. Here’s my two cents: do your research. There’s a market full of options, and you want to make sure you make the right choice. Similar to choosing a spouse, a house or a car, it’s an important decision that should last the test of time and develop a relationship that grows stronger with age.

Don’t choose a brand or design simply because it’s popular, your boss owns it, or it’s commonly regarded as “expensive”. The trick to luxury is subtlety and a personal connection that accurately represents who you are – your style, your tone, your aspirations, etc.

With the help of the Articles of Style team I put together this editorial featuring the Pierre Arpels watch to show how an investment at this level should identify with the wearer and ultimately last the test of time, even as styles change through generations.

I hope you find it insightful and inspirational.


For over a century Van Cleef & Arpels has been hand-crafting some of the world’s finest jewelry and timepieces. The Parisian boutique is known all over the world for their unparalleled craftsmanship, technical prowess, and creative innovation.

The house design aesthetic is summarized as “understated elegance, refinement, grace and a taste for innovation”. All things that I aspire to, and I hope represent the aesthetic of Articles of Style as well.

For a watch that will never go out of style look for something simple in design that is neutral in color and easy to read. It should be pleasing to the eye without being distracting or attention-grabbing.

The size should be in proportion to your wrist. Not too large or thick that it looks clunky with a formal look, and not to small or thin that it looks overly dressy with casual wear.

I typically wear a 42mm. Any smaller begins to feel dainty and feminine on my wrist. Find the size that is the best fit for your wrist and you’ll be wearing it every day no matter what you have planned.


Your watch should represent who you are, as well as hint at who you aspire to be.

I love tailored clothing and typically dress with an aspect of formality. For me, the watch has to be slim, elegant and refined.

According to it’s originator Pierre Arpels, this model was originally designed to symbolize harmony and elegance.

“Rigorously simple. A reflection of the man for whom beauty is what remains once the superfluous has been striped away.”

The inner white lacquer dial has a honeycomb motif that is meant to symbolize the texture of a man’s tuxedo shirt – a subtle nod to man at his most elegant.


Get to know what your investing in. What is it made of?

The Pierre Arpels is pink gold (also comes in white gold) and white lacquer with one subtly inset diamond on the crown. The band is genuine alligator.

Don’t forget to check under the hood too. Where was it made? And how does it work?

Make sure the movement is one you can trust and it’s craftsmanship is guaranteed by the manufacturer. Is it a movement that will still be in production, and thus can potentially be adjusted, 50 years from now?

Also, find out it’s recommended maintenance schedule and resale potential. How do I care for it? Will it appreciate or depreciate over time?


Part of the reason I’m drawn to this timepiece is the spirit of its creator and what it represents.

Described as a “bon vivant” and “playboy”, Pierre Arpels was a passionate innovator, businessman, seasoned traveler and a sportsman at heart.

He set the world record for parasailing in 1963 and spent his time yachting between Monaco and Cannes to manage the Maison’s boutiques and high-end clientele.

The watch was designed to represent his lifestyle.

Now that’s something that I can aspire to.



Thanks, as always, for reading.

Yours in style,

Dan Trepanier


Photography by Alex Crawford.

  • Thom

    I hate to inform your ignorance that the style of monograph you are using on this site dictates that the middle letter is your surname NOT your middle name.

    • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

      I assume you mean monogram not monograph. In which case, of course Thom.

      Our logo is only inspired by a monogram. It wouldn’t make much sense for representing our brand if the letters were reversed.

      Thanks for reading, I like the attention to detail.

  • GvE

    None of your readers can afford Van Cleef.

    • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

      Last week I fit one of our readers in three bespoke suits. He was wearing a timepiece that retails for twice the price of the Pierre Arpels piece featured.

      When we published the article we received dozens of emails from people who collect VCA jewelry and were happy to see the feature.

      Keep in mind we have hundreds of thousands of readers from all around the world, from all walks of life.

      Thx for reading,

  • Mark

    Beautiful watch…
    However to put it into perspective, the price of that watch could give close to 1k people fresh water for the rest of their lives

  • deacon0228

    Lovely watch. However the article had an off pitting vibe to me. “Im dan, and im awesome because my watch cost 20 grand and I can relate to its companys founder

    • http://thestyleblogger.com Dan Trepanier

      Hmmm. Sorry you took it this way, but thanks for reading.

      • Deacon0228

        Dont be. You always have great content. Just keep doing what you guys do best.

  • George Watkins

    As I’m sure you will agree classics should be kept classics. Tuxedos should not be worn with a watch and I don’t think the matt tassel loafers really work in the first look. Nice tux though.

    • http://thestyleblogger.com Dan Trepanier

      I disagree. I think classics are always being updated, subtly and gradually.

      Also, the loafers are velvet, not a matte fabric.

      Thanks for reading,

      • George Watkins

        My mistake on the loafers. I still hold it would have looked more impressive with a classic shiny oxford and without the watch.
        Thanks for your reply.

      • GvE

        No matter what you do it’s all been done in the past, 100 – 200- 300- 400 years ago.

        • http://tsbmen.com Dan Trepanier

          I’m replying to this comment from my iphone using wifi on a high speed train, does that count?

          The nature of fashion is cyclical to some extent…but this is a very sad philosophy to live your life by…

  • Andy

    Fantastic fotos!

    But allow me a question…

    I was always told to match the strap of my wristwatch with my shoes and belt.
    Is this rule outdated like “no brown in town /after 6pm”?

    @Chad M
    Google for Orient Watches!
    Orient is a sub-brand of Seiko.
    The Orient Bambino is a real bargain!
    Look a this reviews:
    And a Swiss/German review:


  • Ben

    I don’t understand why anyone would spend as much on a watch as some people would spend on a car. This seems completely unnecessary and way out of the grasp of 99.9% of readers for this site. I understand wanting quality goods, but I just can’t see you could recommend, or even justify, this kind of purchase. Sure, it looks nice, but I’m sure many watches that cost much, much less than this do. I appreciate most of the posts on this site, even if I can’t go out an buy 10 bespoke suits (most of what is featured here), but this is beyond comprehension to me.

    • Clark

      Some people, I mean some, have spent their money on cars and still have plenty for the next generations.

      Perhaps, that’s why. Just my thoughts, though.

      Another thing, it’s because of how the watch was made, cut into pieces and put them all together, BY HAND, fatto a mano.

      That’s not just quality, it’s one of a kind.

      No offense, man. Just my thoughts….

  • Mark

    That pinstripe three-piece in the 80s shot is absolutely off-the-hook. You should have posted at least one shot with the full suit on so we could see the cut and craftsmanship. It really captures the era, and I am a quiet voice that thinks the Late 70s/ Early 80s were a time of great suit style.

  • mathieu Lavoie

    Wow, sure looks good, but I would so not go to the beach or near water with a 18000$ mechanical watch…especially if you are thinking long time investment

    • http://thestyleblogger.com Dan Trepanier

      Gotta live a little. Pierre Arpels wore his for decades, traveling the world and even parasailing with it on :)

      Thanks for reading.

      • Lothar

        Yes, but that’s a bit like saying Michael Andrews plays basketball in one his tuxedos; he can ALWAYS get another one for free.

  • Joe

    Hope you got a watch (or steep discount) out of this. The mention of proportion of thickness and diameter to your wrist was helpful. But I was hoping to hear more about what makes a timepiece expensive (and what’s worth the expense, and what’s not). What about it gives the buyer assurance that it will keep time for his kids and grandkids, and keep time well? How are they put together, and who puts it together and what does that mean about how (and how long) it keeps time? I would have loved to hear more about that in between the endorsement.

    • Ryan

      If you want the honesty, when you are looking for accurate time and can’t handle a loss of a few seconds a day, a non-digital wristwatch isn’t for you. The plain truth is that a $20 Seiko will keep better and more accurate time than a $20,000 Rolex.

      Watches become expensive for about four reasons: (1) the materials used in their manufacture; (2) the intricacies of their movement; (3) their design; and (4) the name on their label, and the inherent exclusivity that goes along with it.

      The first is obvious. As for the second, the base-line for a “nice” watch is whether the movement is mechanical or quartz. Mechanical watches essentially utilize a spring wound one way or another (kinetic movement or a traditional winding mechanism). Some watches have more intricate movements, and are thus more expensive. The third reason and the Fourth can be obvious too, but, suffice to say, there is more than a comment on a blog post would allow to say about how these can effect the value of a watch.

      • Joe

        Interesting. Thanks!

    • http://thestyleblogger.com Dan Trepanier

      Hey Joe. Good comment. We try not to get into long form here on TSB. We’re more about style and inspiration, less about technicalities of watch making. While I can speak to what makes a timepiece “well made”, there are certainly experts better suited for this type of information. I would check out blogs dedicated to watches if you’re looking for specific technical information from true connoisseurs.


      • Joe

        Thanks Dan, I see your point. I suppose it is a bit unreasonable to expect the depth here that you have given before to investing in bespoke pieces (which you obviously are well versed in). I think those postings were very informative about why two things that may appear alike in a moments glance can have very different price tags. You did a great job of informing us why bespoke clothes cost what they did and the amazing level of craftsmanship that went into in. MAB served very well in those posts as an illustrative example of investment pieces in a man’s wardrobe. I’ve always wondered what makes great watches great and cost what they do (other than very well done branding and/or jeweled accents).

        I enjoy your blog and am digging the new format. Y’all look like y’all are having a blast in each pic. The “shop-this-look” column is a great idea (though here it mirrors the “featured” column more than in your past postings).

  • pmaw

    Great article but it’s “its”not “it’s” when referring to ownership (top of page 4). Sorry for for appearing pedantic but these things are important. Keep up the good work. Matt

    • http://thestyleblogger.com Dan Trepanier

      Fixed. Thanks for the heads up, and for reading.

    • http://thestyleblogger.com Dan Trepanier

      Good catch. Thanks Matt.

  • http://TheGentlemanReview Ludwig Pierre

    Beautiful Dior Vintage Sunglasses & Remarkable Timepieces.
    Fantastic Post.

    • http://thestyleblogger.com Dan Trepanier

      Thx brother.

  • http://www.fifthandmelrose.com/ Robert

    The vintage frames. Tortoise shell adds something to every fit and i don’t know how; it just does. Clutch. Sans belt. This is my favorite look.


  • Adyna

    Congrats for the new web site..it.s exactly like you said it will be..no, no jewelry or stones…women also have their trusted watch ;) Good post!

  • Guy

    Are you retiring the Montblanc?

  • Jack

    Speaking of timeless desiderata that look great around your wrist, who’s that girl?

  • Anonymous


  • Marcus Forlan

    The babe with the hot legs is a great accessory to this look.

  • Chad M

    Any cheaper alternatives to those with a tighter budget ($200 and less?)

    Great Job as always.

  • Anonymous

    like the vest look best