Younger consumers in Britain are increasingly looking for luxury watches and jewellery that hold sentimental value and tell a unique story, a survey conducted on behalf of Beaverbrooks has discovered.
The finding counters the perceived wisdom that millennials are behind a growing throwaway fashion culture in the UK.
A survey of 2,000 people earlier this year found that under-25s are the most likely to own a cherished item that marks a special milestone or memory for them, with women particularly keen to acquire treasured keepsakes with long term value.
The poll found that women (44%) say they are almost twice as likely as men (28%) to own a keepsake that is dear to them.
Overall, 39% of youngsters have a luxury watch or piece of jewellery that has a unique story behind it, whether it was given to them brand new to mark an important milestone or as a family heirloom that has been passed between generations.
These new findings come at a time when demand for disposable fashion by the young has been put under the spotlight.
The Government recently unveiled a 25-year environmental plan amid growing concerns that Britain is quickly becoming a “throwaway society”, while leading style icons such as Stella McCartney have also highlighted issues surrounding disposable fashion.
However, there’s also a long-held view that although fashion moves in cycles, style is eternal, and this is reflected in the Beaverbrooks-commissioned survey results.
Two-thirds of respondents from the survey say the primary reason for wearing a watch is to simply keep track of the time, while one in five people say they place more store in the style and sentimental connection that their timepiece offers.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the under-25s are the most likely to wear a watch for fashion purposes; however, the story behind the piece is also important.
Overall, one in four people under the age of 34 cite a combination of eye-catching design and nostalgia as the main reason for wearing their watch, whereas older respondents are more interested in the practical aspects and inner workings of their timepiece.
Bruce Andrews, head of luxury brands at Beaverbrooks, says: “It’s easy to think of family heirlooms and keepsakes as being somewhat passé in 2018, but it’s really encouraging to see such a strong appetite for quality, unique pieces that hold special meaning among the younger generations. With mobile phones – in particular smartphones – being so prevalent, people don’t necessarily need a watch to keep track of the time anymore. However, these timepieces do so much more than that. This is certainly reflected in our findings.
“Classic Swiss-made watches, in particular, make wonderful heirlooms and we want to highlight the rich history that is attached to these pieces. The amount of time, expertise and intricate detailing that goes into every watch is incredible and we’re seeing more and more people taking a keen interest in the inner workings and intriguing backstory linked to the watch on their wrist.”
To help customers learn more about the heritage, history and horology of prestige timepieces, Beaverbrooks has produced an Ultimate Guide to Swiss Watches to help people choose a piece that can be cherished for generations to come.