SAN DIEGO (TheStreet) -- Philippe de Palma is a man who loves luxury watches.
Some days he wears his Rolex. Other days perhaps his Speake-Marin, and on yet other days, well, it's hard to say, because he has so many to choose from.
"I don't recall. I change every day depending on my mood," says de Palma, founder and CEO of The Watch Enthusiast, an app aimed at the luxury watch consumer and born out of de Palma's frustration with the lack of information and critical reviews available about luxury watches.
"Nobody needs to spend over $30 on a watch. You do that because of emotion, because you like this kind of small machine and engineering. The problem was there was no tool where you could get some education," de Palma says from his headquarters in Madrid. "Either you had these blogs with very coded language, so the newcomer doesn't understand what's being said, or you have newspaper or magazines that don't write anything critical."
His story is not unique. He's among a growing number of upstarts who have established apps to meet what their creators felt was a void in the app marketplace, many for luxury consumers who have little time to spare and lots of money to spend.
Here's a few of the hottest new apps for luxury consumers:
First, for those for whom money is truly no object, there is the LuxuryEstate app, a collection of the world's most luxurious and pricey homes for sale.
"The application targets high-net-worth individuals from around the world who are searching for high-end properties to buy, both for personal use and or investment," says Silvio Pagliani, president of London-based LuxuryEstate.com.
Launched in November, LuxuryEstate is a free app that displays more than 150,000 properties from 96 countries. The price of the average property listed on the app is more than $2.6 million. "People can search over 150,000 properties from around the world right from their phones, whenever, wherever," Pagliani says.
During the past seven months, LuxuryEstate has been downloaded more than 50,000 times by those people, getting an average 4.5 stars out of five. It is available in 11 languages and has been accessed by users in more than 90 countries.
In search of a seriously great restaurant for date night? Look no further then Taste Savant, a highly curated restaurant app launched in April to help affluent, discerning foodies identify the best places to eat.
Taste Savant curates and aggregates select reviews from restaurant critics, bloggers, well-known chefs and other food experts. It is the anti-Yelp.
"What inspired me to create this was my own experience being in charge of planning date night for myself and my husband," Taste Savant CEO Sonia Kapadia says. "I would pull out my laptop, and it would take me an hour to figure out where to eat, reading critic's reviews, going onto Yelp and getting frustrated with Yelp reviews because I felt like I couldn't relate to Yelp people ... I had an aha! moment that there should be a portal that curates all the most trustworthy reviews and content."
Reviews on the app come from such sources as The New York Times and Los Angeles magazine, as well as Taste Savant partner chefs.
While the app is designed with the busy, well-heeled professional in mind, it is not focused only on luxury or pricey restaurants.
"We feature all genre and price points, highest to lowest, because we find our users are professionals with disposable income, but they are also foodies who like to eat everywhere," Kapadia says. "Our users are typically 25- to 40-year-olds who have disposable income, are affluent, are all very much renaissance people, who work hard, play hard and they don't like Yelp. They don't have time to look through Yelp."
The free app offers reviews for New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Boston, with San Francisco, a so-far unidentified European city and more on the way.
Are you a wealthy professional who sometimes wishes you could have a hairstylist or makeup artist pop by to help you prep for the day or a big event? If you're not a celebrity with a team of on-call stylists, Beautiq may be for you.
Launched in early June, the app brings elite hair or makeup professionals to your front door, hotel or office within an hour. It's Uber for the beauty world.
"I came up with the idea when I was working at a couple of different blow-dry bars ... I realized that for some clients there was a growing concern about the time it took to get to salons and for whom getting multiple services was an all-day event, involving going to two or three different locations," says the app's 20-year-old creator, Roger Sanchez, who dropped out of Los Angeles' Woodbury University to launch Beautiq.
"We're really focused on improving the lives of on-the-go women, and what woman isn't busy? It doesn't matter if you are a stay-at-home mom or you work full time, your day is filled," Sanchez says.
While the app is free, there is a membership fee for services. For $100 per month, members get discounted hair styling ($50 for a blow-out) and 10% off hair products.
The $150 monthly membership includes the same discount for blow-outs but adds free makeup products from app partners, Sanchez says. Five makeup products are delivered to the member each month.
All Beautiq stylists are screened professionals, Sanchez says. Each must go through a three-day certificate program to be listed on the app. The stylists are certified by the app's two beauty partners, Unite and Starlooks.
The current app includes only Los Angeles stylists and makeup artists. Over the coming year Beautiq will expand to include New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas, Sanchez says.
The Watch Enthusiast
de Palma's Watch Enthusiast provides a comprehensive guide to mechanical watches that have been analyzed, rated, commented upon (pros and cons) and presented with color pictures, videos, prices and main technical data.
The cost of the app is $18.99 for the first year and $9.99 for each year after that. Users get access to information and reviews updated daily by de Palma and two staffers. The app provides critiques for more than 3,800 watches, representing about 140 different brands. Rolex, Breitling, Cartier, Chopard, Franck Muller -- they're all there. Watches on the site range in price from $800 to $3 million.
The Watch Enthusiast has developed a substantial following, with 166,000 users in 129 countries, adding about 3,000 clients each month.
"When things get complex and sophisticated, you need an independent adviser, especially with so much money at stake," de Palma says.