London jewellers Trilogy specialises in rare, new or pre-owned watches, providing trusted advice for those investing in heirlooms of the future
A great watch tells more than just the time; it tells a story of individual taste, distinction and success. Frankie Mardell’s Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch also tells a story. A beautiful piece imbued with personal significance, it sparked a lifelong fascination with watches that led to the creation of Trilogy, a specialist dealer in luxury timepieces, of which Frankie is Managing Director.
The watch in question was originally a gift for Frankie’s father, bought by his father for his 43rd birthday, which was just days before his sudden death. Frankie inherited the watch when he was nine but was only allowed to wear it on special occasions, when he would stare transfixed by its beauty, precision and meaning. “That’s the power of jewellery,” says Frankie. “We hear this all the time from people who buy a watch for their children to inherit. There’s a saying – you don’t own a watch or any piece of luxury jewellery, you look after it for the next generation.”
Frankie founded Trilogy in 2018, eventually moving into retail premises in Hatton Garden, London’s famous jewellery district. The company has swiftly established a reputation for its ability to source rare luxury watches, specialising in half a dozen brands – Rolex, Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Cartier, Richard Mille and Omega – but able to find other brands or models through a reliable network of suppliers. Prices are competitive, service is impeccable, and every watch is verified by experts and serviced before sale, with a 12-month warranty. Trilogy has since expanded into jewellery – particularly diamonds – and Frankie is eyeing a move to Mayfair or St James’s to be closer to its core clientele.
Although he brings his expertise and passion to Trilogy, the third factor in the company’s success is Frankie’s belief in the importance of integrity. “The big thing for me, and the ethos for my life really, is that your word is everything,” he says. “There are dealers who will seek to make a little bit more money by breaking an agreement or commitment, but that will shatter a relationship and diminish trust. I have an excellent reputation with dealers, customers and suppliers. My word – that personal trust – is invaluable. It also means I can be very selective about who I deal with. I will only deal with people I am comfortable with.”
Frankie’s deep love of watches also means he understands how much they mean to customers. He relishes the chance to open a bottle of champagne to celebrate the acquisition of a new timepiece with a customer. “It’s a major investment and it’s also a status symbol, not so much for other people but to oneself, perhaps after you have reached an anniversary or financial milestone,” says Frankie. “People come to us saying they have been saving for ten years to buy a watch. We make it a nice experience for them, as for some it’s a lifelong dream to enter the world of horology. Watches are unique – they are a functioning piece of jewellery with an incredible beauty and craftsmanship. I have a watch with a perpetual calendar, which is one of the best and most intricate complications. If this watch was set today, it would not have to be reset again until the year 2100. The time, date, month and year, including leap years, will change automatically.”
Timepieces are like scientific instruments, continues Frankie. They are amazing pieces of equipment and people rightly value this. “There’s a level of appreciation for these high-end mechanical timepieces made by historic bands that a smart watch simply can’t match.”