How to Choose a Watch（Step-by-step Guide）
The ingenious invention form over two centuries ago that is the wristwatch proves itself practical until modern times. Although watch sales went downhill around the early 2000s, came the smart phones, watches made a comeback after almost a decade.
Why is this so? Despite there are smart phones at our disposal, there are still many reasons why people still buy it for themselves and as gifts to loved ones. They’re functional, convenient, stylish, collectible, and can serve as a status symbol and heirloom.
But if you don’t know how and where to start watch shopping, no worries, for we’ll guide you on how to choose a watch. Also, we suggest that you should first be familiarized with the basics of watches, which will also be covered here in this article.
Here is the steps:
Let’s get started.
A watch movement is the watch’s engine that allows timekeeping as well as the watch’s other complications to function. There are two types of watch movements, namely quartz and mechanical. And there are two types of mechanical movements, which are manual and automatic.
The quartz movement is powered by battery. As compared to its mechanical counterparts, it is more accurate and requires minimum maintenance, as all it needs are battery replacements every after some years. Quartz movements would either come with an analog, digital, or analog-digital dial.
Mechanical movements are often admired for the stunning display of its intricate details usually shown through a skeleton dial and exhibition case back. These movements are assembled by watchmaking experts and are composed of a complex arrangement of tiny parts that work together for the watch to operate.
Types of Mechanical Watches
- Manual – Manual movements have to be hand wound for it to store energy. Their power source is a mainspring, which once wound, will unwind and release the energy for the watch. This type of movement causes a smooth sweeping motion for the second hand.
- Automatic – Another term for automatic movement is self-winding movement. This type of movement obtains energy to power the watch through the wearer’s own wrist movements. It’s less hassle as compared to the manual type, as it doesn’t need to be constantly wound.
There are some watches designed with other functions aside from timekeeping. These are called watch complications. Examples are the calendar, alarm, moon phase display, GMT, power reserve indicator, and etc.
Then there are also watches designed with complications for specific activities. There’s the chronograph watch, which serves as a stopwatch; the sport watch that has handy features for athletic activities; the aviator watch that has useful tools to help pilots in their flights; and etc. Those are just to name a few examples.
Men’s Watch Styles
There are several types of watches for men. But basically, for stylish men’s watches, there are five go-to types to add class to your outfits. They are the dress watch, field watch, dive watch, aviator watch, and racing watch.
The dress watch has a timeless appeal with its minimalist style. It doesn’t have too many embellishments. Rather, it’s simple and sophisticated, which makes this type a classic.
It has a clean background for its dial with a plain design for its hour markers and hands. Usually, it comes with a leather strap. Although there are some that also come with a metal bracelet, the leather strap would be the more classic option.
Moreover, dress watches only have few or no complications at all. When they do have, it would include the day and/or date display and moon phase display. And this type of watch is designed thin to allow it to easily slip in and out of a dress shirt cuff. Its thinness also makes a sleek look that is good for a more dressy style.
The field watch is a tough and reliable watch originally designed for soldiers during World War II. The main purposes of this type of watch at that time were for coordination of attacks, readability in all conditions, and to endure the rigors of battle. Moreover, they also make stylish timepieces.
It has a clean; easy to read; high contrast dial, usually featuring a white on black or black on white design with luminous hands.
The field watch is a rugged timepiece that boasts a solid case either made of stainless steel or titanium usually going along with a sturdy Nato or Zulu strap made of either canvas or leather.
You can also find some with a plain canvas or leather strap but never metal, as they’re quite heavy and easily scratch.
In terms of complications, it usually has none, but some field watches include the day and/or date display. There are also some field watches that have a hacking seconds feature, which makes it possible to stop the second hand by pulling out the crown. Such feature allows the setting to a reference signal and synchronizing with ease.
The dive watch is the second to the field watch as the most commonly worn type of watch by men. This type of watch has been popularized by James Bond, as the character is seen sporting dive watches in the series of James Bond films.
Obviously, this type of watch is designed to cater to those who love to engage in water activities. A good dive watch has to have at least 200-meter water resistance.
It’s typically designed with corrosion-resistant metals, such as stainless steel or titanium. There are also those that are made with a rubber and silicone strap, but they’re not so classy as metal. Some dive watches have dive extensions attached to their bands to expand in length so that it can fit on a diver’s wrist when wearing a wet suit.
An additional protection for going underwater is its strong crystal made of either sapphire crystal or hardened mineral crystal.
Its dial is characterized by large and luminous hands and hour markers for readability underwater. It also usually has a luminous pip on the 60-minute position of the unidirectional rotating bezel attached to its case. The unidirectional rotating bezel rotates only counter-clockwise for the purpose to let a diver know how much time he’s spent underwater.
The day and/or date display is usually its only complication or none at all.
As it’s designed with pilots in mind, the aviator watch is mainly designed for easy readability, especially in the dark cockpit. They’re quite large and usually featuring a black dial with white, luminous, and legible hour markers as well as luminous hands.
Aviator watches commonly have a leather strap. And the length of its strap is longer than the typical watch’s, as it’s worn over the pilot’s jacket.
Complications usually included in an aviator watch are the day and/or date display, chronograph, and GMT.
Other features for aiding pilots in their flights are also added in this type of watch. They are as listed below:
- Flyback Chronograph – helps record multiple elapsed times consecutively with ease.
- Red Marker on the Fluted Rotating Bezel – serves as a count-up or count-down bezel.
- Rotating Bezel and Algorithmic Scale – allow inflight calculations, such as fuel consumption; speed; distance; flight time; and unit conversions.
- Onion Crown – a substantial crown, which makes for easy operation of the watch, while wearing gloves.
- Hour Angle – a rare function that helps determine the pilot’s geographic position.
To add to that, they are also rather stylish timepieces that are as good-looking as they are good for flying. But they could also be perfect for casual wear.
An excellent example of racing watches would be those from TAG Heuer that boasts the chronograph and tachymeter features, which race car drivers wear for measuring speed and distance. One of their watches, the Monaco 1133 was even sported by Steve McQueen in the 1971 film about racing, Le Mans.
Racing watches are designed with large dials, giving space for the chronograph and has clear Arabic numerals. Oftentimes, it comes with bright, contrasting colors.
For the case, the materials commonly used for racing watches are either stainless steel or titanium for withstanding the rigors of auto racing. As for the band, it is made of either metal or leather that sometimes is perforated, which makes for a comfortable, breathable wear.
The chronograph is a necessary complication in racing watches. Sometimes the day and/or date display are also included.
Women’s Watch Styles
Women, too, can wear the aforementioned watch styles for men. Only, women’s watches are designed smaller in proportion to their wrist. But there are also other classy, gorgeous styles with a more feminine appeal like the bracelet watch, wrap watch, boyfriend watch, and fashion watch.
A bangle watch is a stunning timepiece that also makes a very elegant piece of jewelry. It is designed with a bangle-style bracelet and would often be embellished with crystals or diamonds either on its case, dial, or bracelet. Typically, it is made of stainless steel.
It’s beautiful on its own but can also be good for mixing and matching with other pieces of jewelry. This type of watch would sometimes include the day and/or date complication.
The wraparound watch is a fashionable timepiece designed with a very long strap that wrap around the wrist, which creates a layered style. Its strap is usually made of leather. The date complication is sometimes present in this type of watch.
As compared to the usual women’s watch, the boyfriend watch is typically large in size as well as in wrist presence. This type of watch comes with a bold yet classy design. The name, itself, suggests that this type of watch adapted from the men’s style of watches.
Sometimes, this watch would include complications, such as the chronograph and day and/or date display.
Some of the most fashion-forward timepieces are, of course, the fashion watches. Basically, fashion watches are watches that are crafted with more focus on the design and have only generic movement. These watches usually have the most striking designs including crystals or diamonds embellished on them, prints, patterns, bold colors, and etc.
Some fashion watches would include the chronograph and day and/or date complication.
At this point in this article, you have now learned some background on watches. You can now use this knowledge to make your choice. To help you make your choice, here are some guidelines on how to choose a watch that suits you whether you’re a man or woman or how to choose a watch to give as a gift for someone.
Get to Know About the Wearer
It’s easier to choose if it’s for you because you can decide for yourself what it is you exactly want.
Pick what style you want to go for. We’ve discussed this earlier in this article.
If you’re a man, will it be the more formal-looking dress watch that would also be good to wear anywhere, the sleek and multi-functional dive watch, the rugged field watch, or whatever? Choose what is best for you.
If you’re a woman, you can go for the feminine options, or if you want something more rugged and functional, you may also choose from the aforementioned styles for men in the women’s version.
If it’s a gift for someone, think carefully what is the best style for him/her. Make sure to choose something he/she will most probably like. Base it in their personal style and personality.
Some other factors that will have to be considered are:
- Will it be for work? Does the work tend to get rough? If it does, then a tough timepiece will be needed.
- Will it be for particular activities like water activities, hiking, racing, and etc? Then you will have to find a watch that has the necessary features for such activities.
- And for women, age is also a factor. This can help determine the style and color.
For a lady, an elegant timepiece with a small face together with a leather or metal strap would be suitable. And silver, gold, or rose gold tones would be perfect.
For a younger girl, the best kind of watch would be a fashionable one embellished with gemstones and comes with a bracelet-style strap. A girl will definitely appreciate a watch in her favorite color.
Choose the Movement
For a no-fuss option with long battery life, quartz is the way to go. They’re also more affordable than a mechanical movement. Plus, there are also digital quartz watches or analog-digital watches that can provide the most bang for your buck with their plethora of nifty features.
Mechanical is what the real watch enthusiasts go for because of its skillful craftsmanship. Automatic is the less hassle type of mechanical watch as compared to its manual counterpart that needs to be wound.
Choose the Material
Stainless steel is the most popular among materials, as it’s elegant and good for casual wear and sometimes also formal wear. Moreover, it complements the wearer’s skin tone. The most preferred tones for stainless steel are rose gold and silver, as they can perfectly match a wearer’s complexion.
For a sporty style, there are watches made with resin; rubber; and silicone. Those materials are sturdy, comfortable, and won’t get soaked. If you’re going for a classy look, get one in black. It will also go well with any sportswear.
The cover of the watch’s dial, called crystal, can be made of either three materials: sapphire, mineral, or acrylic.
Acrylic is an inexpensive material used in lower-range watches. It can get scratched, but shallow scratches can be buffed out of it.
Mineral and sapphire are durable materials that can resist scratches. These materials are used in higher-priced watches. Mineral is second to sapphire when it comes to durability. Sapphire is the hardest and most expensive.
Choose a Brand
There are various brands to choose from. Each brand has something unique to offer in the market that can cater to the needs and suit the preferences of different consumers. Whatever kind of watch you wish to get, you can find a watch brand that can provide exactly what you need.
To find the right watch, you have to look in the right place. Below, you will see where to find watches whether for individuals, watch retailers, or watch wholesalers.
- Amazon – Amazon has a large online marketplace providing all sorts of goods, and you can find there, a wide range of watches to choose from. Just type in the search bar the specifics of what you want in a watch, e.g., watch brand; watch style; color; and etc.
- Online Stores – You can check out online stores like Jomashop, WatchShop, and World of Watches. If you’re looking for luxury watches, then you can go to Ashford and AuthenticWatches.
An advantage you can get from buying from online marketplaces like Amazon and online stores is that items would be sold for much cheaper. So you can find there, the best affordable women’s watches and men’s watches.
For Watch Retailers
If you’re a retailer on the look for a source of watches to sell, you can search for a wholesaler that can provide you the watches for your business or a watch factory and order watches from them in bulk. You can go on online directories like Alibaba, SaleHoo, Toptenwholesale, Worldwide Brands, and etc. to search for wholesalers. For watch manufacturers, you can search on Global Sourcing Specialists (GSS), Alibaba, and MFG.com. You can also search on Google.
For Watch Wholesalers
If you’re a watch wholesaler, it can be a great idea to contact a custom watch manufacturer to have them design and produce watches for you under your own brand. You can then offer your watches to retailers so that your business can expand and your brand can be made available to and be recognized by many consumers.