Brands and origin
There’s no shortage of choice when it comes to luxury watches, and for someone entering the market with no prior experience, it can be a little daunting. Should you pick Swiss, German, British? Is there a particular brand that presents the best value? The truth of the matter is that, of the 50-plus brands available from Watchfinder, there isn’t one wrong choice. Ultimately what matters is choosing the watch that most appeals to you, that fits your style. And there’s a brand for every style—discovering which speaks to you most is all part of the fun.
Watches don’t just tell the time—they tell a story, too. Whether that story is the exploration of the deep, beating a circuit lap record, or the conquest of the skies, there’s a watch to suit. Different functionality defines different styles of watch—water resistance in dive watches, for example, or a chronograph on a driver’s watch. Ranging from something smart and sporty, to a dress watch to complement a sharp suit, there are plenty of styles to choose from to facilitate your needs. Which one you pick is up to you—or maybe treat yourself to one of each?
It’s said that 39mm is the ideal size for a wristwatch, but who’s to judge? Watches come in sizes from just a few centimetres across to well over 60mm, and the only person who can decide which size is right for you, is you. How do you find out the size you like most? Try some watches on! Or, failing that, cut out a template from a piece of paper and see how it sits. If you think it looks good, that’s all that counts. Remember, the size of a watch is given as its diameter across the case (or width and height in the instance of a rectangular watch).
Materials and finishes
Do you like your watches rugged or refined? Glamorous or understated? The material you choose plays a part in the style and functionality of your watch in a big way, and is worth putting some consideration into. Stainless steel is the most common material and is available with a variety of matte and polished finishes. Precious metals like gold and platinum add solidity and appeal to a timepiece, while rarities like diamonds and mother-of-pearl further enhance a watch’s allure. For the more adventurous, exotic materials like titanium, carbon fibre, ceramics and even bronze are available.
A well-fitting watch should be so comfortable that you no longer notice you’re wearing it, and to make sure it is, it needs to be sized correctly. You can do it yourself, but it’s best to have a watchmaker do it for you to avoid damage to the watch and to ensure the perfect fit. The first thing you’ll need to do is find out what your wrist size actually is. For this, simply use any flexible tape measure—or even a piece of paper or string that you can measure afterwards. Wrap it around your wrist as loose as you want the watch to be, and that’s your measurement.
A good luxury watch won’t just last a lifetime—it will keep going for much longer than that. This opens up a whole wealth of vintage models to choose from, offering decades of heritage and evolution. For some, the appeal of owning a watch that came from a time when a mechanical watch was the height of technology has an appeal that can’t be matched by new timepieces. For others, the value proposition of buying a watch a few years old is benefit enough. Either way, buying a pre-owned watch is a great way to appease both head and heart.
A watch’s power comes from its movement, also referred to as a calibre, which is usually either mechanical or quartz. A mechanical watch is driven by a series of springs and gears, and is available in either automatic or manual guises. An automatic movement uses a freely spinning rotor-weight to wind its mainspring, whereas the more traditional manual movement requires hand winding, usually every other day. A quartz watch, on the other hand, is powered by a battery that won’t need to be changed for a number of years, adding convenience and accuracy to the mix.
The watch you choose can feature as many functions as you want it to—from simply telling the time, to more complications than you can imagine. Mechanical movements have the capability of tracking the date perfectly for centuries, or mapping the paths of distant stars—but that’s not for everyone. For many of us, a chronograph, GMT function or power reserve are the kinds of complications we can use day-to-day, offering a slice of watchmaking that’s both functional and technically impressive. See the ‘Choosing Your Spec’ guide below for more.
Life would be boring if we all liked the same thing, which is why there are as many variations of watch specification as there are watches themselves. Colours, styles, materials: you name it, chances are you can get it. Whether you’ve a penchant for Roman numerals or a hankering for dauphine hands, a desire for a leather strap or a craving for a sunburst dial, there’s something for everyone. Filter your choices with the specifications you have in mind, and you’ll be sure to find the perfect watch for you. For more, see the ‘Choosing Your Spec’ guide below.