Buying a watch can be a big financial decision. After all, ”luxury” and ”affordable” are two words that you seldom find in the same sentence. With this in mind, if you are looking to buy a luxury watch, there are some things you want to consider to ensure you are satisfied with your decision.
The more money you spend on a luxury watch, the more research and more certain you want to be in this purchase. So what is it that you should know? That’s what we’ll go into detail about in this article.
Decide on your budget
Buying a luxury watch starts with the obvious. These are no cheap objects, so you need to set aside the amount you are willing to spend. Clearly defining your budget beforehand is also of great help when you are looking for watches as your budget will be able to restrict the number of available choices that you have.
This brings us to the next point.
Decide on the style, brand, and type
Naturally, your budget will affect what brands of watches you can afford, and perhaps also the type. For example, if you have a budget of €2000, your budget will not be enough for a Patek Philippe. This is why it will help you tremendously by starting with the type of brand that you want, and then look at whether your budget is enough for watches from that brand.
When people buy their first luxury watch, most people tend to opt for the most iconic and famous brands most closely associated with Swiss luxury watchmaking, which includes brands like Rolex, Omega, Breitling, or even Audemars Piguet, or Patek Philippe (and many more), depending on the budget.
All of these brands, and many more, of course, are synonymous with fine watchmaking. These are watches that are known around the world and really do not need any introduction. If you want to proudly wear your watch and want everyone to see it, you can opt for the most iconic and recognized models. But if you want something a little more discreet, it’s worth exploring luxury watches from lesser-known brands.
Choosing a watch according to functions can also be done. For example, you may specifically want a chronograph, or you may specifically want a perpetual calendar. Defining this will narrow down your choices substantially and help you find the perfect watch for you. So where should you start?
Well, begin by thinking about how you plan on wearing the watch, with what attire, and on which occasions. Will you:
Wear it with a suit on formal occasions?
Wear it with jeans and a t-shirt for everyday wear?
What functions do I need?
There are watches for different occasions. A dress watch may not be suitable as a sports watch, but a sports watch may work as a dress watch. There really isn’t a fixed rule here but the most important part is that your watch goes well together with your outfit and look. For example, if you wear a suit, a watch that is so big that it can’t slide under your cuff will just look awkward and misplaced. A watch can actually have a great impact on how your overall look is perceived, so you want to make sure it helps you, not hurts you.
But at the same time, a watch is not solely about style. It is also a tool. This is why you shouldn’t neglect the functions that a watch can offer. Many people only think of watches solely as a way of displaying the time, but they can actually be so much more than just that.
If you frequently go scuba diving, a dive watch can be greatly convenient for measuring elapsed time underwater as well as telling you the time. In the same way, a watch with a GMT function may be crucial for you if you are a frequent traveler and want to be able to keep track of multiple timezones simultaneously.
Think about the movement
The movement of the watch you are going to buy is important to consider, especially when you are buying a luxury watch.
The fact of the matter is that most luxury watch brands today use automatic movements due to their practicality, but each movement of course has its own sets of benefits.
However, one of the primary things that separate luxury brands from affordable brands is their movements. Or more specifically, the quality, finish, and attention to detail of their movements.
Luxury watch brands tend to pay great attention to this because they are proud of their craftsmanship, and this is one of the aspects that make their price higher than affordable watch brands.
So think about, do you want a quartz movement, an automatic movement, or a manual movement? If you’re after the craftsmanship and fine watchmaking, then you may also want to opt for a watch with a see-through case back that allows you to see the fine details and mechanical craftsmanship inside.
Here are some things you want to know about movements:
Quartz - powered by batteries. They offer great accuracy since they are not mechanical and require less service and maintenance than mechanical movements.
Automatic - These are mechanical movements equipped with a rotor that generates energy to the movement when you move your wrist. This eliminates the need for having to manually wind it. Because it contains hundreds of parts, it does require occasional maintenance and service.
Manual - the more traditional movement which works in a similar way as an automatic movement, but has to be manually wound using the crown in order to generate energy to it since it does not have a rotor.
Whilst quartz is the most accurate when it comes to luxury watches, it’s not really about whether one watch is 1 second more accurate than the other. For most people, it is about the craftsmanship, decoration, and impressive fine watchmaking that has gone into making it.
The material - gold or steel
We have dedicated a complete article to this specific subject which you can read here. But what you need to know is that both gold and steel watches have their place in a watch collection. In general, gold watches are more elegant, dressy, and formal than those made in stainless steel. Whilst you can wear steel watches on formal occasions, gold takes your look to a different level of elegance.
Furthermore, gold is much more delicate than stainless steel, so if you have a gold watch, it’s not advised to wear it when sporting or doing other demanding and challenging actives.
Naturally, the price of gold watches is substantially higher than that of stainless steel, so this also depends on your budget.
Do your research on the model and brand
It’s important that you are certain in your decision before finally making the purchase. To ensure you are just that, you want to do proper research and learn more about the watch.
By reading reviews, watching videos, and reading about the specifications, you have a full understanding of what it is you are buying, which greatly increases your chances that you’ll be perfectly happy and not regret your purchase since you know what to expect and what the watch has to offer.
This ties together with the design of the watch, but each watch brand has its own signature styles and designs. For example, Panerai watches are known to be large and bulky, Rolex watches are known for being sporty yet classic, and Patek Philippe watches are known for being dress and elegant. This is a good starting point when you know exactly what you are looking for.
Pre-owned or authorized retailer
When you have decided on a watch, you have probably compared prices and started looking around online. The question is, therefore, should you buy pre-owned or from an authorized retailer.
The answer is that it depends, and both have their own sets of benefits. Buying pre-owned often (but not always) means that you’ll be able to get watches at a lower price than the recommended retail price that official retailers need to follow. Furthermore, some models may be out of production, and in these cases, the only option may be to turn to the secondhand market. This is particularly true if you are interested in vintage watches.
Buying from an official retailer, however, gives you a brand new watch for which you are the first owner, and some people prefer that rather than saving some money. Just make sure that if you buy pre-owned, buy from trusted and reputable sellers. There are plenty of good pre-owned watch dealers out there specialized in both new and vintage timepieces. And always make sure to compare prices and factor in things like reviews and the condition of the watch (if you buy pre-owned) into the equation.