I have bought a fair few watches throughout my life, and I always seem to pick out the ones which I “most like”, mainly down to their quirky and sophisticated designs – but the problem is, that I end up not wearing them and they sit in a draw collecting dust. So I went out on a mission, to try and find a way in which I could pick out a watch which I wouldn’t stop wearing, something which meant more than just a cool design on my wrist.
These are 8 steps to picking out the perfect watch, this can be applied to all recipients and covers all aspects of purchasing – all you have to do, is follow them.
How to choose the perfect watch?
1. Who are you buying the watch for?
When purchasing a watch, there’s obviously someone in mind of whom is receiving the watch. Now is that someone in mind you brother, sister, girlfriend etc. then you need to take the steps throughout this article as if you’re in their shoes.
Steps to consider when buying a watch for yourself or others:
- How much are you willing to spend on a watch? – Budgeting
- What type of movement do you want/ need?
- What style of watch will you/ they want?
- Does the watch have history behind it?
- What are the reviews like, of the watch you’re looking to buy?
- Does the watch suit you/ them?
These are the pinnacle steps in order to complete your hunt for the perfect watch – follow each one of them with care and you should have a timepiece which will last for years to come.
2. How much are you willing to spend on a watch?
When purchasing a watch you need to set some budgeting rules. This will allow you to focus on a specific niche of watches, which fall into your budget.
Things to consider when setting a budget:
1. DON’T go too cheap – This is because the lower in price you go, the lesser quality watch you will receive – it’s relative to most other things in life, the more expensive, in most cases it’s down to it being of better quality. Not only does having a really small budget decrease the quality in watch you get, but this in turn creates a spiral of problems, and affects things such as the durability and longevity of the watch.
2. DON’T go to expensive – Similarly to not going too cheap, this tip is there for those of you who don’t have an extensive knowledge on what brands are best and what is the best watch in terms of value for money. Basically, we’re saying don’t pay for an overpriced watch, because there are some out there, which can be a waste of your time and your hard earned money.
3. Think smart – What we mean by this, is don’t set a ridiculous budget which you simply know you can’t afford – this is probably self explanatory, but a lot of the time people see something they want and almost impulse buy, without having a plan nor the time to think about the decision they’re making.
4. What to expect in the range of £100 – £500 – In this range you can expect a lot of quartz timepieces, but automatics are common too. You will also expect some high quality watches, which have various good features, such as water resistant depths. In terms of brands which do high quality affordable watches – a few examples are Seiko, Casio (G-Shocks), Tissot and Citizen. If you’re looking for some of the best affordable watches, these brands are good to start with.
5. What to expect in the range of £501+ – When climbing up into the higher prices, you can expect better quality watches, which will include better features and can also start being good investment pieces too. A few examples of good brands include Frederique Constant, Longines, Raymond Weil, TAG Heuer and Breitling – obviously there are many more, but with the right research after following these steps, it wont be hard to find the brand for you.
3. Pick what movement you want/ need in your watch?
Watches come equipped with various movements, with the main ones being Quartz, Mechanical and Automatic. There are also different additions to escapements, such as the tourbillion – invented by Breguet in 1795.
Things to consider when choosing a movement:
1. Quartz – A quartz movement is battery powered and uses a crystal oscillator which allows for a signal to be of precise frequency – having a quartz watch caters more for affordability, and you’ll hear a tick motion. The reliability of a quartz timepiece is extremely good so you don’t need to worry about precision.
If you were to choose the quartz movement, it will most likely cost you less and you’ll have a reliable means of timekeeping. This doesn’t mean the rest of the watch e.g. materials are good though, so still do your research.
2. Mechanical – If you’re looking at a mechanical watch, they’re extremely reliable and durable – it just means the watch will need to be wound every so often. They still hold large power reserve time, but unlike quartz watches they have a sweeping motion which is displayed through the second hand.
If you were to choose the mechanical movement, the cost will definitely be more than that of a quartz, and will most likely last you for many more years – so if you’re after durability, a mechanical watch is definitely a step in the right direction.
3. Automatic – An automatic watch allows for convenience when wearing it everyday – this is due to them being powered by kinetic energy. If you’re looking for a watch which you’re going to be wearing everyday, think about getting an automatic timepiece, as it will mean you wont have to wind it as much.
If you were to choose the automatic movement, it will cost around the same as the mechanical watches, they all vary. It will definitely cost more than the quartz watches, and will be convenient for everyday use. Another helpful thing about the automatic watches, is the fact you can place them on watch winders, which keep them wound when you’re not there to keep it ticking.
What have we learnt from this?
We have learnt that quartz watches are reliable within their precision accuracy, and are also amongst the cheapest. In addition to this, the automatic and mechanical watches cost more, but are going to have a much longer life span, due to their high quality movements. As well as each of them having their own benefits.
So it’s up to you as to what movement you choose, but it’s an important choice which will revolve around yourself as a character, and also will factor in the fact you have a budget – get thinking and research what will be best for you.
4. What style of watch do you want?
When it comes to the style of your watch there’s a few things to think about. There are thousands upon thousands of unique designs and different elements in which watches have, to differentiate themselves from one another – this comes in the form of different materials, colours, designs and the features they all have.
Some things to consider when choosing what style to have:
1. The strap/ Bracelet – The strap or bracelet of a watch is incredibly important as it sets the tone for the rest of the elements involved. Each strap also comes with it’s own traits and benefits which might or might not suit you, so read below and see which one would suit you best.
With a leather strap it creates the dress watch, especially if it has a polished rose gold case or polished stainless steel case – this means it would be perfect for formal events etc. In addition to this, leather straps can be more comfortable than stainless steel in certain situations for example – long use of the watch over many hours.
A stainless steel watch allows for a smoother and seamless blend of all the elements involved, and can be used in formal meetings, work etc. as well as adventurous journeys and different explorations you might be interested in. The robustness and durability is a strong factor as to why stainless steel is most commonly seen.
Last but not least, a rubber strap is one of the best comforting materials and is highly adaptable to situations – perfect for the person always on the go and enjoys exploring the different environments.
2. The colours – When it comes down to the colours, we don’t really need to give a lot of guidance on this point, as it’s very subjective and entirely up to you. If you’re bold, maybe go for more bold colours like a vibrant yellow – some great Hublot and Richard Mille watches cater for bold timepieces, although they’re extremely expensive… so maybe not.
In contrast to this, dark shades of green, black and brown creates a sense of luxury and would suit the modest and almost laid back person. The simplistic timepieces always carry a lot of character on the centre piece dial, and it really stands out due to the dark colours surrounding it.
3. Character – The character of the watch comes down to the overall design and what you like – it’s subjective but there are some things to think about. first of all, if you’re a laid back person or like the simplistic things in life, then think about a simplistic watch, one with an uncrowded dial, but just a sleek design of pure luxury.
Whereas if you’re a bold, outgoing person, then think about bold colours, or having more sub-dials, just little things like that add up in the bigger picture.
4. What is the watch designed for? – There are many watches out there which are simply there to be stunning and display a true excellence in the form of Horology, but a lot of timepieces are designed for a specific niche, and are targeted towards honouring, carrying history, as well as for an intended audience.
What we mean by this is that there are many watches which are designed for diving, flying, exploration, sports such as racing and so many more – and it’s up to you as to what you want to carry on your wrist.
Do you like diving? Then focus on a watch that has an impressive water resistant depth. Are you planning on hiking a mountain? Then focus on a watch that is robust (stainless steel or rubber) and has features that can help you navigate. Always link the watch back to you, and what use you will get out of it, there’s no point in buying a diving watch if you don’t already nor are planning to go diving – you get the gist of it.
5. Does the watch you want to buy have history behind it?
Why does the history matter? Is a question I’m sure some of you might be wondering – the history behind a watch is very important to the overall decision of purchasing, this is down to it having a crucial role on whether or not it suits you, as well as it being a factor as to why it might be a good investment piece.
Take an OMEGA Speedmaster for instance, this timepiece was the first watch to ever be worn on the moon, and will go down in the history books forever – which also allows for it to be a good investment piece which will go up in value in the years to come.
Not only would a watch like that be a good investment decision, but having a history like that is something which a lot of people would love to carry forward on their wrist, or pass down to their grandkids. It’s about keeping the story going and allowing it to live on.
Things to consider when researching the history of a watch:
1. Does the story relate to you? e.g. racing, sports etc.
2. Do you think it could help with the investment side of it (do you think it will increase in value)?
3. Would you feel proud an honoured to carry it forward on your wrist?
6. Check the reviews of the watch
The last thing you want to do is find the perfect watch, buy it, let it arrive and for it to break within a couple of months. This just shouldn’t be happening, obviously this will vary on the price, but before you buy any watch, look at the reviews and what people say about it – this can help massively when it comes down to making a decision, a decision which could have been a bad one.
Things to consider when checking the reviews of a watch:
1. The overall star rating – When it comes to reviews, the first thing you will look at, is the amount of stars it has been given – anything below 4 means it’s a good idea to stay away. This can be a lot harder to find when looking for more affordable watches, so anywhere below 3.5 stars for a watch £500 and under, stay away from.
2. What people have said – Reviews are all personal experiences and are very useful as to telling how good or bad something is. So read the reviews and actually understand what the issue is. If it’s a common issue which keeps popping up, think about your decision to buy that watch.
3. How well it keeps time – If people are writing reviews about how it loses seconds, this is always going to occur when owning an automatic and mechanical watch, so don’t be too worried if it’s just saying it’s losing a few seconds, as you wont be able to realise anyway.
7. Does the watch you have chosen suit you?
Last but not least, after all of the stages you methodically went through, does the watch you have picked suit you? If yes, then that’s wonderful, you can use this when buying for yourself again, or buying for others it doesn’t change for who the recipient is. We must say, this is all subjective and you can choose whatever watch you would like, but we hope these tips helped, and we wish you use them for when you purchase any timepiece, now, or in the near future.