Watches never go out of style. More than just a timepiece, watches make a statement about the wearer and are an investment that can last years. So whether you’re looking to treat yourself or purchase a gift for a friend or loved one, it’s important to know how to choose a watch that is the right fit.
The movement of a watch refers to the mechanism inside that moves the hands and allows it to tell time. It is the watch’s power that enables it to function.
All watch movements fall into one of two categories: Quartz or Mechanical
Quartz Movement – Quartz movements is commonly found in your standard, non-luxury brand watch. Battery powered and regulated by the oscillations of a quartz crystal, quartz movements require minimal maintenance and upkeep, besides replacing the battery. They are very accurate and are generally low cost.
You can distinguish a quartz movement by the distinct tick-tock movement of its second hand.
Mechanical Movement – Mechanical movements are typically favored in luxury brand watches due to the delicate craftsmanship and high level of quality. Unlike the quartz movement, mechanical movements are not battery powered, but are instead powered by energy from a wound spring, transferring the energy to a series of gears and spring to power the watch. Traditional mechanical movements are manually wound, while many modern mechanical movements are automated. Carefully crafted by skilled watchmakers, mechanical movements are generally beloved by collectors for their intricacy and beauty.
You can distinguish a mechanical movement by the smooth sweeping movement of its second hand.
When choosing a watch, it’s important to think about what style of watch would suit your own personal style. We’ll take a look at some of the main watch styles so you can decide which one is the right fit for you.
Dress watches – Dress watches are designed for wearing with business or formal attire, though that doesn’t mean they can’t compliment simple casual clothes too. Dress watches are all about simplicity. Sleek and elegant, these watches don’t draw attention to themselves, with no frills and a simple presentation.
Aviator watches – Aviator watches were designed for pilots to effectively navigate speed, time and distance in the days when airplanes had little computer technology. Today however, they’ve become more of a fashion statement than an aviation tool. A clear display with a large, usually black, face is the norm for these watches and they usually have multiple features, such as a chronograph and the ability to tell time in multiple time zones.
Field watches – Field watches were designed for use in the battlefield and as such, they are accurate, clear faced and easily readable, even in low-light conditions. Field watches generally have a rugged appearance, with canvas or leather straps that can be swapped out and a high-contrast black dial with white numbering.
Dive watches – As you can guess, a dive watch was designed for divers and must, therefore, boast superior water resistant. Highly accurate with superb visibility, these watches have corrosion resistant, long straps and a hardened case to resist breakage.
Sports watches – A sports watch is a combination of alarm, stopwatch, and classic wristwatch all rolled into one. Water and shock resistant, they are designed to be tough and useful. Made of rubber or plastic, sports watches have digital displays with a chronometer and buttons to control settings.
Analog Watches vs Digital Watches
The question of analog vs digital really comes down to personal preference. Modern advancements ensure that analog have the extreme accuracy of their digital counterparts so when wondering how to choose a watch, it’s simply a matter of choice. But what is the difference between these two types?
- An analog watch is a traditional watch that tells the time with hands sweeping around a dial. The position of the hands measures the time while their movements give a visual representation or an analogy of time.
- Digital watches measure time digitally as numbers on an LCD display without hands or a dial. They are generally quicker and easier to read than analog.
Traditionally, most watches were made out of gold but over the years as styles have changed, so have the materials used. Lets take a look at some of the more common materials and their traits.
Stainless Steel – Corrosion-resistant, lightweight, affordable.
Titanium – Highly durable, corrosion resistant, lightweight, non-allergenic, high strength-to-weight ratio
Ceramic – Scratch resistant, durable, lightweight, modern, available in many different hues and finishes
Rubber/Silicone – Water repellent, heat and cold resistant, durable in harsh weather condition
Gold – Yellow/White/Rose Gold variations, traditional, luxurious, valuable, high quality
Understanding How Watch Pricing Works
With the mass production of watches, there’s a huge variation in prices from inexpensive high street models to the mouth dropping price tags found on luxury brands. Here’s a few pricing factors to keep in mind when deciding how to choose a watch.
Brand – From Rolex to Bregeut to Patek Philippe, luxury brand watches are always going to be expensive. Made with extreme attention to detail and the highest quality materials, if you’re looking for a high-end luxury brand watch, expect to pay in the thousands.
Features – Certain watches like dive and aviator watches are built with key features that enable them to be worn in unfavorable conditions such as deep underwater or in high altitudes. Although there are plenty of these watches available at affordable prices, if you want the best ISO standards, be expected to pay for it.
Materials – With today’s high-gold prices, you won’t find a genuine gold watch at high-street prices. Platinum, titanium and ceramic are all in the higher price ranges, while stainless steel, rubber and silicone are much more affordable.
Quartz or Mechanical – As mechanical movements are favored in luxury-brand watches; they are much more expensive than quartz movements. In fact, often the one distinguishing giveaway in a high-quality counterfeit watch is the use of quartz movement instead of mechanical. Explain Further …..
Authenticity – It’s no secret that counterfeit watches are found in abundance on the black market. From cheap knockoffs to higher quality counterfeits with barely discernible differences to the original, there is even a pricing ladder among the fakes. If you want an authentic, genuine branded watch, you will pay a significant amount for it. If you’re happy enough with a lookalike, you can get it at a fraction of the cost, though quality varies tremendously.
A watch strap is an essential companion to the face. When wondering how to choose a watch, there are a few things to keep in mind.
• When it comes to leather straps, the cardinal rule is matching it to your shoes. Brown with brown, black with black.
• The same is the case for your metals. A gold watch with a silver belt buckle is bound to clash.
• Ensure that the strap is properly fitted to your wrist. You want comfort and a nice fit with the ability to adjust the tightness. Keep in mind, the straps on a dive watch tend to be looser to allow for bulky equipment underneath.
• Can you swap out the strap for a different one? This is a great and inexpensive way to customize your watch for different occasions without splurging on multiple watches.
A vintage watch is a collector’s dream, but there are some things to keep in mind before buying.
Condition of the watch – Properly examine any vintage watch thoroughly before buying. It may seem like a bargain at first but you could find a hidden fault that leaves it worthless in the end. Examining the case and dial for scratches or dents will tell you a lot about how it’s been handled over the years. Consider getting a watchmaker to examine the movement if you’re unsure about it yourself.
Movement of the watch – Keep in mind that vintage watches will have mechanical movements and will need more maintenance. If it’s an automatic movement, daily wear should enable it to have enough stored power to keep itself running, but if it’s a manual, you will need to rewind the watch frequently.
Size of the watch – Vintage watches tend to be smaller than their modern counterparts. You can get larger vintage models, but the cost is steeper.
Deciding how to choose a watch can seem daunting, but if you do your research and take the time to shop around, you can find a watch that’s the perfect fit for you.