If you’ve been looking to upgrade your watch collection, or simply need a good watch now that you’ve landed that office job, you’ve come to the right place. We want to help class up your jewellery collection, and if you’re a man, a good watch is a great place to start.
A wristwatch is a functional piece as much as it a fashion accessory. Whether you need to upgrade from that digital watch you got in college when you thought getting up early and running every morning was going to work out, or you just want to expand your collection so you have more options to wear at the office, we’ve got you covered.
We put these tips together so that the new watch aficionado can go into their local jeweller armed with a bit more knowledge, but even the most experienced watch connoisseur can likely find something here to interest them. Enjoy!
Tips For Buying Entry Level Watches (Under £800)
For many people, spending over £800 on a watch isn’t a justifiable purchase, and that’s perfectly alright. However, budget concerns shouldn’t hold you back from a quality watch. In truth, while you can spend more on a watch than most people spend on a car, there are perfectly serviceable models that can be had for under £800, even under £300.
We want to avoid the bargain-basement of watches because chances are you already have one or two of those hanging around your nightstand anyway. When buying new (or used) watches in this price range, here are some things to look at.
As attractive as some of the wooden-bodied watches in this price category are, they typically won’t stand up to daily wear and tear, and plastic quit simply isn’t an option for an adult looking for a serious watch. You want something that’s all metal, including the watchband. Avoid anything too pricy in the body of the watch because an expensive casing at this price point means cutting corners elsewhere. Stainless steel typically does well, particularly 316L Stainless, as it has a good mix of weight and stain and rust resistance.
There are two types of crystal typically found in modern watches in this price range, mineral crystals and synthetic sapphire crystals. Mineral crystals are preferred by some because while they may crack after a hard impact, they won’t shatter. However, sapphire is typically the better choice. Why? Sapphire will shatter under impact, but it has to be a very significant impact. if you receive an impact that severe, you probably need to go get your wrist examined anyway because something is liable to have broken. Also, sapphire is more scratch resistant than mineral crystal so you’re less likely to scuff or scratch it. While sapphire will shatter instead of cracking, this extra scratch resistance more than makes up for it.
Choose a Reputable Brand
You aren’t going to get a Rolex for less than several thousand pounds, not one that works anyway, so let that dream die now. What you can do is shop around for brands that operate primarily in this price range, and select something from one of them. Seiko, Citizen, Bulova, and Tissot all have fantastic offerings that will last for years.
Go for a Swiss or Japanese Movement.
At this price point, don’t fuss too much over getting a mechanical movement over a quartz movement. What you do want to do is select a watch with a Japanese or Swiss movement. These movements are far and away the best quartz movements you’ll find in this price range. There are other countries and other watchmakers that produce movements at this price point, but a Swiss or Japanese movement will never let you down. You can also get a number of solar-powered movements in this range from these countries so you won’t ever have to change the battery.
Shop at “Unauthorized Dealers”
At the risk of being blacklisted by the watchmaker community, we’re going to let you in on a little secret: don’t shop for watches from “authorized” dealers. Authorized dealers sell watches pretty much at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, while unauthorized dealers (all but a select few watch sellers) have much more room to discount or adjust prices than the authorized dealers do. Also, shop around online. The importance of doing a little price-matching online, whether through Amazon or another online retailer, cannot be overstated. You can often find deals on watches being sold for as much as 25-30% off the regular retail price if you look hard enough.
Don’t Fall In Love at First Sight
This one is especially difficult for first-time watch buyers. When you walk into your local jewellery store, there’s going to be a very friendly assistant behind the counter who has a commission that is dependent on what watch they get you to buy. Listen to their recommendations, be polite, and rebuff any attempt to get you to spend outside your budget constraints.
It helps dramatically to come in with an idea of what you want. Going into any jewellery store and saying things like “I want to buy some nice cufflinks” or “I need a new watch to wear to work” is much the same as jumping into shark-infested waters with a rare steak tied around your neck. You want to have a clear idea in mind, so as to not be lead astray by all the shiny things in the display case. Saying something like, “I’m looking for a watch with a Japanese movement, in Stainless steel, in the £350-£650 range” is much more likely to get you to the watch you want, and will get you much better service overall.
Finally, you also want to resist the urge to buy the first good looking watch you come across that meets your requirements. Shop around. Try on an excessive number of watches. It’ll give you a better idea of what sort of weight and size you really like in a watch, but it’s also quite good fun. Try on watches above and below your price range as well, to get a feel for the differences in workmanship. All of this will have you on your way to a great new watch in no time.
Watches to Check Out:
Sports and Outdoors Enthusiasts should check out the Seiko Solar Dive Watch. Completely solar-powered and on sale for less than £200, this watch is waterproof to 200m, making it perfect for everything from the shower to snorkeling, and the price means you aren’t going to be out a fortune and it becomes severely damaged or lost during your active lifestyle.
The Stylish Office Worker should give the Citizen 4010-50E a look, as it is one of the finest watches in this price range, with a titanium price range, kinetic battery recharge, and a grouping of advanced features like the ability to monitor five time zones and an electronic alarm. This makes it perfect if you’re constantly traveling for work, or if you just work with those who are.
The Casual Watch Enthusiast should look closely at the Frederique Constant Swiss Watch that pairs a fantastic Swiss movement with a stylish, yet casual design that will go great with just about anything in your closet.
Whatever watch you decide on, whether you look at our recommendations, or just head straight to your local jeweller, if you follow these simple guidelines you’ll end up with a great watch that will serve you well for years to come.
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