CAR PHOTOS COURTESY OF ZAYA GROUP; FASHION PHOTOS COURTESY OF DECADES; WATCH PHOTO COURTESY OF BEVERLY HILLS WATCH COMPANY; FURNITURE PHOTO BY MARIO DE LOPEZ
WEALTH MANAGEMENT MEANS SO MUCH MORE THAN MERELY MANAGING THE MARKET THESE DAYS. FROM WELL-INFORMED— AND WELL-CONNECTED—DEALERS TO CURATORS FOR YOUR COLLECTIONS, HERE ARE THE PROS YOU NEED TO KNOW NOW.
Rolex Daytona models from the '90s are fetching $30K-$40K depending on condition. PHOTO COURTESY OF BEVERLY HILLS WATCH COMPANY
In business since 1979, Beverly Hills Watch Company (beverlyhillswatch.com) specializes in the sale of luxury watches and crafting fine jewelry. Owner Armen Eskijian—a fine timepiece aficionado and collector himself who those in-the-know consider to be L.A.'s go-to watch guy—runs the business with his family, and through the years has worked with generations of clients. "Clients I started with in my early 20s now have children who are getting married. We get to be a part of their special moments."
Originally designed in the 1970s, the Patek Philippe Nautilus is one of the most iconic watches for enthusiasts around the world PHOTO COURTESY OF BEVERLY HILLS WATCH COMPANY
"Watches have become the baseball cards of today," says Eskijian. "It's interesting. I have clients who are doctors, attorneys, who go home after work and spend all night online trading and in chat rooms. That's not what I do." Eskijian has heard too many horror stories. "I'd rather deal with a local store that has a good reputation. Once I sell a watch to someone, I really have to like that person, because once I make that sale, I'm married to that client," he adds. "If something goes wrong, I'm going to take care of you, so it's very important that we have chemistry and an understanding."
ONCE I SELL a WATCH TO SOMEONE, I REALLY HAVE TO LIKE THAT PERSON, BECAUSE ONCE I MAKE THAT SALE, I'M MARRIED TO THAT CLIENT. IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG, I'M GOING TO TAKE CARE OF YOU, SO IT'S IMPORTANT THAT WE HAVE CHEMISTRY AND AN UNDERSTANDING.” –ARMEN ESKIJIAN
This 1970s-era Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch was designed by Gerald Genta, who went on to design watches for many other brands including Cartier and BVLGARI. He was considered the prodigy of his era. PHOTO COURTESY OF BEVERLY HILLS WATCH COMPANY
While some of Eskijian's clients have huge collections, he recommends a more focused set of five or six different styles. "If you're starting your collection, go for a Rolex," he says, noting that the Submariner is a versatile choice for both men and women. Other brands to keep in mind include Breitling, Omega, Cartier and Richard Mille. He also advises clients to avoid anything too trendy, and to always keep sentimental items. "Bottom line is you have to be attracted to what you buy and consider what makes you happy," he says. "And never make a quick decision."
PHOTO COURTESY OF BEVERLY HILLS WATCH COMPANY
Known by many as the King of Vintage, Cameron Silver (cameronsilver.com) has literally written the book on the subject (Decades, A Century of Fashion, Bloomsbury USA). The founder of long-standing Melrose Avenue boutique Decades (decadesinc.com) is also a fashion historian, who is currently busy bringing stylish pop-ups to luxury hotels across the country. "It's really fun for me, because Decades is not a traditional store where I get to do a buy and have a size run," he shares. "In addition to having the vintage and pre-loved pieces from Decades, I also get to invite independent modern designers who have an environmentally conscious way of producing their clothes."
"BUY WHATEVER BRINGS YOU PLEASURE THAT DOESN'T PUT YOU IN THE POOR HOUSE."–CAMERON SILVER
PHOTO COURTESY OF DECADES
There are plenty of beautiful new bags being made, but Silver believes that buyers turn to vintage and pre-loved pieces for something unique. "Certainly the icons are still very desirable, but I think as a reaction to the overstimulation of accessories in the luxury market, some people are looking for things that are less obvious." He believes that fashion brands have become more like accessory houses because they don't sell clothes the way they used to. "Consequently, the more sophisticated client almost gets turned away by the accessibility and ubiquitous quality of a lot of accessories, so they then come to us at Decades to find something rare and unique that tells a story."
Urs Fischer, "Nocturnal" (2019, aluminum composite panel, aluminum honeycomb, two-compartment adhesive, primer, gesso, solvent-based screen printing ink), 96 inches by 144 inches by 7/8 inch PHOTO COURTESY OF COLECCION JUMEX
While Silver advises clients to always buy what they love ("Buy whatever brings you pleasure that doesn't put you in the poor house," he says), there are certain bags that usually retain value, like the original Dior monogram, or anything from Chanel or Hermès—especially limited-edition styles. And for resale purposes, go bold with color. "In the long run, I think a bag that's a real fashion color, or one that's more limited, will be more desirable than a classic shade."
"I ADVISE FIRST NOT TO BUY. LOOK AND CULTIVATE YOUR EYE, READ AND GET INFORMED. GO SEE A LOT OF GALLERIES, MUSEUMS AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS UNTIL YOU DEFINE YOUR TASTE.” –ESTHELLA PROVAS
After starting from the bottom at Hanson Galleries in the '80s, when art collecting became a trend for the well-to-do, Esthella Provas (esthellaprovas.com) worked her way up to become the top salesperson within the entire muti-city company—in her first six months on the job. Since then, she's worked as an art adviser, helping build the collections of her clients—designers, prominent collectors and other high net worth individuals—focusing mainly on works by classic contemporary artists.
Although Provas did spend a prior portion of her career supporting up-and-coming artists, she now prefers abstract or semi-abstract figurative art. "I prefer classic contemporary art, which tends to be more expensive because they are well-established artists," she says, naming Ed Ruscha, Urs Fischer and Richard Prince as examples of artists whose work typically increases in value over time. "For those just starting to build their collection, Provas believes using an adviser is essential. "We read a lot, we are informed, and we have connections," she says. "A client may want a piece from one gallery, but I may know about something similar at another gallery or a private collection at a better price."
"I advise first not to buy," Provas explains. "Look and cultivate your eye, read and get informed. Go see a lot of galleries, museums and private collections until you define your taste. That way, you won't make mistakes and will purchase what you love and want to live with. When you do this, the investment creates itself because you are well informed and making the best choices. Most great collectors buy what they love, not what they hear they should buy."
"WHEN YOU'RE DEALING WITH SUPER-HIGH-END CARS, YOU CAN'T JUST WALK IN AND GET THEM. THAT MEANS YOU NEED TO EXPLORE THE SECONDARY MARKET, AND YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT YOU'RE GONG TO GET. SO YOU NEED A TRUSTED PERSON WHO KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING."–FADI ZAYA
PHOTO COURTESY OF BRAND
Celebrating 10 years as L.A.'s preeminent luxury car dealer, Fadi Zaya of Zaya Group (zayagroup.com) is the man to contact for the coveted cars no one else can get. In the market for an ultra-rare Super Ferrari or the new electric Rolls-Royce Spectre in customized colors? Zaya's your guy. Have freight slowdowns translated to long wait times for your ride? Zaya can arrange to have cars flown over via jet. Clients—including Million Dollar Listing stars, top athletes, celebs, billionaires and more—have him on speed dial.
"Most of the people I know love cars but hate dealerships," Zaya explains. "With me, they have somebody who's very knowledgeable negotiating the deal. I make it easy, saving all info in our system and providing white-glove service." Zaya can also procure vehicles that are seemingly impossible to track down. "When you're dealing with the super-high-end cars, you can't just walk in and get them," he explains. "That means you need to explore the secondary market, and you never know what you're going to get. So you need a trusted person who knows what he's doing."
"The car market is volatile, just like art," says Zaya. "I tell clients to buy what they love and if it goes up in value, great." That being said, he believes in having a varied collection, including the all-electric Rolls-Royce Spectre, "for anything high-end"; a Mercedes for everyday—he loves the G Wagon— and a Porsche for something sporty.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF ZAYA GROUP
"BEFORE BUyING, TRY TO SEE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE—PICK UP THESE PIECES, FEEL THEM AND REALLY LOOK INTO THE WAY THEY ARE ASSEMBLED. THERE IS A LOT TO LEARN AND A LOT TO BE APPRECIATED.” –CECILIA TANURE
Specializing in Brazilian midcentury modern furniture, Ulysses de Santi is an L.A.-based design gallery run by de Santi and business partner Cecilia Tanure. The gallery had its first show in 2016 and is flexible, meaning that it pops up in different parts of the world several times a year. (There's currently a show at Sean Kelly, Los Angeles through mid-February.) The duo, both hailing from Brazil originally, are making it their mission to bring authentic vintage pieces by masters such as Sergio Rodrigues, Jorge Zalszupin and more into the design conversation.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF ZAYA GROUP
"For a long time now, the whole midcentury aesthetic has been dominating all aspects of design—the Scandinavian and French markets especially," says Tanure. After World War II, many European designers went to Brazil and were wowed by what they saw: While familiar midcentury designs were mass-produced, Brazilian designs were handmade. "Creating pieces on an industrial scale in Brazil was never possible because it didn't have the right machinery." From there, appreciation of Brazil's handcrafted midcentury pieces—made from natural materials like rosewood, braided wicker and more—began to make an impact.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ZAYA GROUP
Investing in authentic midcentury Brazilian furniture requires a skilled eye and lots of knowledge—something a trusted gallery like Ulysses di Santi can provide. "Before buying, try to see as much as possible—pick up these pieces, feel them and really look into the way they are assembled," Tanure advises. "There's a lot to learn and a lot to be appreciated."