This Guy’s Dream: Finding You the Perfect Luxury Watch for Fall

It’s his job, and he’s damn good at it

September 12, 2017 9:00 am

Welcome to Good Job, InsideHook’s deep dive into envy-inducing employment. Today, we talk with Amit Dev Handa, the Luxury Timepiece Concierge at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Las Vegas.

“This job came to me in a dream.”

So says Amit Dev Handa, Luxury Timepiece Concierge. Which is 1) a thing, and 2) a title held by someone who can definitely help you get a luxury timepiece that fits your style and budget.

So we asked Handa 10 simple questions about how to pick out the perfect watch, why he loves a watch brand inspired by WWII bombers, and his opinion on the greatest ticker ever.

How did you get started in watches?
I’ve been in the watch business since I was a teenager. I started my career with Swatch. Then I went on to luxury retail with bigger brands, like Rolex, IWC, Vacheron Constantin, A Lange & Sohne, JLC, Breitling and several other Swiss luxury watch brands. I’ve been to Switzerland and Germany and been trained by most of these watch brands. I was one of the first twelve people in 2007 to graduate from the prestigious A. Lange & Söhne Akademie in Glashutte Germany.

What are some of your perks of your job?
I’ve been interviewed by the New York Times, GQ, Men’s Health, Vegas Magazine and several other publications. And I had the esteemed privilege of working with former President Bill Clinton selling him some watches.

What exactly does a Luxury Timepiece Concierge do?
I guide, advise and assist the guests of The Mandarin Oriental, as well as my personal clients, to get the best watches at the most competitive prices. Usually I charge a $150 consultation fee to my clients for my time, which gets them an hour of my time on the phone and some emails. If they decide to purchase a watch through me within a year, I apply the $150 consultation fee towards the purchase. I have a very loyal following, so I get the best watches at the most competitive prices — all from authorized retailers. What I do is an official service of the hotel, much like any amenity the hotel has to offer.

Are there others like you?
As far as I know, I’m the only Luxury Timepiece Concierge I know of who is doing it in official capacity with a luxury hotel. This idea came to me in a dream in 2013 and I pitched it to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel. It became official in 2014.

How does one make an appointment with you?
A guest asks the concierge of the hotel where they can buy a nice timepiece. As of the last three years, the hotel directs these leads to me. Once the client makes the appointment with me, I decide what I think is best for the client and give them some options. I source the watch from my authorized dealer network and save them money and, potentially, the sales tax, depending on where they live. The retailer ships directly to the client and I arrange everything between the client and the retailer.

What’s your day-to-day schedule?
Usually I spend the day creating original content — blog posts, podcasts episodes, video content, a weekly newsletter.  This helps me keep sharp, focused and relevant. At night I network at bars, restaurants and lounges that I have strong relationships with. That said, I rarely have to sell myself because these relationships end up selling me to the client without me ever having to say what I do.

What’s the oddest request you ever had?
A client who is obsessed with her guinea pig asked if I could custom design and build her a watch where the dial was a picture of her and her pet.

What are three luxury watches you recommend, and why?
For the average guy, I’d recommend Martenero, Autodromo or NOMOS Glashuette. These brands are for someone who wants to dip their toe in luxury without breaking the bank.

Watch 2 (2 images)

For a sporty guy, I’d choose Rolex, Tudor, IWC, Panerai, Cartier and Audemars Piguet. They are all quality watches. Rolex, of course, holds its value the best.

Watch (2 images)

If money’s not an object. I would choose brands like A. Lange & Söhne, Breguet, Patek and Debethune.

Can you tell me a bit about the brand you work directly with, Kingsley 1945?
Kingsley 1945 watches are styled, designed and hand-assembled in Providence, Rhode Island by Ramon Kingsley. I’m the official distributor for the West Coast. The watches are made to order and are assembled like watches in the 5-7k range … but for under $2k. The straps are made out of vintage leather bomber jackets from the WWII era and our movements are Russian military self-winding or mechanical movements from the WWII era. For the most part, the cases and dials are inspired by altimeter gauges from B2 Bomber aircrafts, but with our own original design and execution.

What’s your favorite watch?
My favorite watch of all time has to be the original Panerai 47mm stainless steel Radiomir with a California dial from 1936. This is historic, timeless and iconic. This was made by Rolex for Panerai. It’s one of the most important and unique dials in history and without it, the Rolex Submariner would have never have been born. It’s also symmetric because it has no date and I love the steel blued hands along with the Arabic and Roman numerals. I believe the original one from 1936 has commanded as much as a couple hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction. They have reinterpreted this watch over the last 20 years and the closest watch they made to it is reference PAM 00249.

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