Hailing from Dubai, Marya Ali has swiftly emerged as a highly regarded watch specialist in London, catering to both men’s and women’s watches. Notably, her clientele includes the likes of global icon Floyd Mayweather, establishing her presence on a global scale.
Her fascination with watches sparked during family discussions about the latest timepieces back in the UAE fostered a curiosity that she has seamlessly transformed into a flourishing career.
In the fast-paced world of horology, Marya Ali, London’s distinguished horologist, shares her profound wisdom on navigating the landscape of premium watch brands.
Uncover the essence of timeless elegance as Marya guides us through her expert choices, seamlessly blending sophistication and masterful craftsmanship.
Elevate not only your style but also your investment portfolio with Marya’s discerning recommendations.
26 is pretty young to be one of the most respected watch specialists in London, tell us a little bit about your career and how you became a dealer.
I’ve always loved watches for as long as I can remember. They were always a talking point amongst the men in my family, growing up in the UAE, whenever we had family gatherings the men would discuss their latest purchases and trade information on the latest launches and what they had their eye on next, it always fascinated me.
My first job when I moved to London a few years ago was with a very respected watch dealer. I was handling the world’s most exclusive, sought-after timepieces on a daily basis.
I was working with watches that could be worth anything up to a million pounds. It was there I really learnt my trade, working with the most knowledgeable experts in the business.
You have clients all around the world, including the rich and famous, how do you build up these relationships?
I work from the Love Luxury store in Knightsbridge every day, the store has become synonymous with Rolex and Patek Phillipe so we get a lot of customers who travel to either sell or buy something they’ve seen on the site.
I also have a WhatsApp broadcast of more than 200 collectors all over the world, it’s here I let everyone know the watch I have as soon as it comes in, and they get in touch with me privately if they have something to sell or would like me to source something.
The Horologist network is global but also very small, I’ll have clients referred to me from all over the world and people tend to come back to me time and again whenever they’re looking to buy or sell, so they become quite trusted, long-term relationships.
What are the most collectable watch brands to invest in right now?
Rolex is the easiest brand to invest in, especially for those starting their watch collection.
The brand is more accessible than most as prices start lower than a lot of other collectable brands and because they are becoming more exclusive with who they sell directly to it means selling on the pre-loved market can give you a bigger return.
Patek Phillipe and Audemars Piguet will always be collectable brands but choose wisely, the right model can be one of the best investments you can make but I’ve also known people to lose thousands.
Avoiding trends is the simplest bit of advice I can give as in a few seasons’ time you’re not going to be able to find a buyer. A Patek Philippe Nautilus are a safe bet to hold their value.
How do you shop, and how do you predict what’s going to be hot?
I’m in various groups, mainly on WhatsApp, that connect dealers from all around the world.
The market is always changing, there are new launches all the time, it’s important for me to analyse the market every day, it’s easy for me to see the rise in demand for certain models and the fall out of fashion in others as I’m constantly in communication with other dealers.
New models are launched every year which generally have a huge demand when they first land on the market which pushes up prices but then when they become more widely available they drop in value, anything is an investment at the right price.
Investing in watches is a gamble a lot of the time, big collectors know this, they understand they need to make the losses to also make the big wins.
They say a collector is only as good as his/her dealer, how do you stay on top of your game?
I’m quite honestly obsessed with watches, from Monday – Saturday I’m constantly in conversation either in person or online about multiple deals.
Communicating with watch dealers all over the world also means I always have my finger on the pulse, it’s all about networks and connections.
Who’s your biggest collector? How many watches do they own?
I do work with a very successful sportsperson who is a watch obsessive. His collection is like nothing I’ve ever seen before, he has a dedicated room in his home where he keeps more than 500 pieces, ranging from classics to exclusive editions worth anything from £20k to £15million!
When I last saw him he was wearing a Richard Mille which had personally been customised by the brand specifically for him, making it a complete one-of-a-kind, something that could fetch an astronomical amount on the pre-loved market.
With a move towards a more discreet stealth wealth have you seen a shift in consumer behaviour?
I haven’t noticed any major change, but I do think a lot of high-end models people would only know if they had an interest in watches anyway. There will always be a market for big flashy Rolex’s.
What’s the rarest piece you have sourced for a client?
I sourced a Richard Mille 055 the minute it was released. It went for three times I paid for it, which was well over the million mark.
What’s the most exciting thing about your job?
I’m really privileged to work in an industry I’m in love with. It’s so fast-paced; no day is ever the same.
The people I meet in the store are fascinating, I have collectors coming from as far as China and The US, and it’s not unusual for them to come directly to see me from the airport, pick up their watch and get straight back on a 10-hour flight!
Every watch has a story and no two deals are every the same.
What watch are you wearing?
It might sound hard to believe but I don’t actually wear a watch! To me watches are to be bought and sold, they’re for trading to me, not to be worn.
I think it’s important to keep that distance between work and pleasure, it would be very dangerous if I started to fall in love with my stock!
My favourite watch of all time is a Patek Phillipe 5711, steel with a blue dial.
To find out more and visit Marya’s Love Luxury store head over to the website here: