Whether it’s the first in your collection or your fiftieth, buying a watch is a big decision. We’ve spoken with Vikki Bryant from pre-owned jeweller and watch specialist Est.1897 where she shares her tips for getting it right.
A decent watch is the ultimate gentleman’s accessory. It can dress up a standard jeans and t-shirt outfit or add an understated touch of luxury to a formal suit.
Many timepieces also have functions other than telling the time, which can make them a nifty bit of engineering. Whatever style of watch you prefer, they are undoubtedly a statement and when it comes to buying one, it’s important you know how to find the perfect watch for you.
Below, Vikki shares what you need to consider when purchasing a watch and how to pick the right model to suit your needs.
Consider the occasion
Some styles are more formal than others and matching your watch the occasion is a great way to show attention to detail, which can have a massive impact on your overall look.
Dress watches are best for formal occasions, as they have been designed to look good with a suit. They’re usually clean and simple, but obviously luxurious — made from precious metals and leather without unnecessary bells or whistles.
Other watches have all sorts of extra functions, which means they have extra buttons, dials and an overall more technical look. This usually means they’re considered sporty, so they’re better suited to casual or social events.
Get the right fit
Most watches will be one size fits all with adjustable straps, which can be made from metal, leather, fabric, or even plastic, so you can personalise your fit. Make sure your chosen watch is comfortable to wear so you can carry it with confidence.
Although they don’t come in small, medium or large, some faces will be bigger in diameter than others. So, if you have a particularly thick or thin wrist then it might be worth paying attention to the listed face diameter and shopping around to find a size that suits your wrist best.
Choose a watch to suit your lifestyle
Every watch is a statement, but some have certain features that can complement your lifestyle. For example, diving watches are designed to be used in the ocean, so they’re fully waterproof, glow in the dark, and can withstand immense pressure.
Driving watches usually have some sort of stopwatch included and many have tachymeter to measure speed, while aviator watches can have all sorts of navigational features, like slide rules and dials for different time zones.
Smartwatches can perform all sorts of digital functions — often around fitness tracking — but there are apps for entertainment and communication, too. Depending on what your hobbies are, you can find a watch with the features you need to make your life easier.
Quartz vs automatic watches
The type of watch you choose depends on your personal preference, but if you want a watch to impress your peers then you should stick to models with automatic movement.
Quartz watches are powered by a battery and they are more precise when it comes to telling the time, but they’re cheaper to make than automatic watches so they carry much less prestige. Collectors prefer the technical aspect of an automatic watch over the accuracy of a quartz watch, and you probably will too.
Shopping for a watch
Precious metals, technical features, and brands that never go out of fashion — good watches don’t come cheap.
It’s better to invest in a good quality timepiece rather than purchase something off the high street, as they’re likely to last longer and will probably have greater resale value. Plus, cheap watches are unlikely to have any of those additional technical features.
You can save a lot of money on big brands names like Rolex, Omega and Cartier by shopping vintage and preowned collections. That way, you can get a higher quality watch than you would in the high street, but at a lower price than buying new.
The tips in this guide can help you decide which watch is best for you. Consider your lifestyle, where you’ll be wearing your watch, and which brands are the most collectable. Most importantly, though, find a watch that’s comfortable to wear so you can carry it with confidence.