A Buyer’s Guide To Watches

Rolex watch modelFinding the perfect timepiece

With so many brands on the market buying the right watch can be a bit of a minefield. Our guide will help you focus your search and find the perfect timepiece.

Buying a quality watch is a rite of passage for many men. As well as acting as a stylish fashion accessory, the right watch can also bestow a sense of status on the wearer, and can even be passed down as a family heirloom. However, to the uninitiated, the world of luxury watches can seem intimidating and confusing. Our guide will help you to navigate this market, focus your search and find the perfect timepiece.

Know your budget

Watches can vary hugely in price, with pieces available for as little as £500 and for as much as £5 million, so before you start looking for a watch it’s important to know your budget. Broadly speaking, watches come in three categories – entry level, mid-range and high end.

Entry level watches

Watches with a value between £1,000 and £5,000 are categorised as entry level watches. Some people may turn their noses up at this category, but there are some fantastic watches to be found within this price range. From Bond favourite Omega, through to sportier models such as Tudor and Grand Seiko, and even Cartier, there is a huge range of brands and models to choose from, so you’re sure to find something that takes your fancy.

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Mid-range watches

If you’re looking to spend a bit more money, then you might want to look at mid-range watches, which range from £5,000 to £20,000. Watches in this range tend to come in two categories – ‘sports and military’ and ‘dress’ – and encompass a large number of iconic brands, including Bulgari, Montblanc, Audemars Piguet and Rolex. This band of watches also includes the largest number of ‘Haute-Horlogerie’ pieces, which roughly translates as ‘the high art of watchmaking’, so you certainly won’t be skimping on quality.

High end watches

Patek PhilippeHigh end watches, such as the Patek Philippe pictured left, are categorised as those that are valued at £20,000 or more. This may sound like an extortionate amount of money but the price is indicative of the work, time and expertise that has gone into each piece. The use of precious metals on the dial, and the addition of complications, such as perpetual calendars and minute repeaters, are all factors which push up an item’s value. Many watches in this range also feature a tourbillon, which works to reduce the effect of gravity on a watch’s accuracy. So much skill goes into these watches that they can almost be considered as works of art, or at least feats of engineering.

Consider second hand

If you think a luxury watch is out of your price range, why not consider buying second-hand? Previously-owned timepieces, such as used Rolex watches, are a great option for people who want a fantastic watch for a slightly smaller price tag. As well as specialist dealers, pre-owned watches can also be found online. Forgeries are a growing problem so always buy from a reliable source and make sure the box, paperwork and service history are all present and correct.

Beware of pitfalls

When it comes to shopping for a watch there are a few common pitfalls to look out for. The first of these is what is known as ‘buyer’s remorse’. There are so many great watches out there that it’s not unusual to buy a watch and then a few days later see another one that you like even better – this is especially painful if you have spent a significant amount of money on your timepiece. To avoid this situation make sure you do plenty of research before you commit to a purchase.

It’s also important to ensure that you get what you pay for. To be sure that you choose a watch of good quality, look out for the Poinçon de Geneve. This official seal of the watchmaking school of Geneva can usually be found on the watch’s rotor and, as well as being an indicator of quality, also acts as a legal guarantee. And, as with second hand watches, make sure that any new watch you purchase comes with the appropriate paperwork.

As you can see, there are plenty of practical things to take into account when it comes to purchasing a luxury watch. Perhaps most importantly you need tensure that you love whatever watch you decide to buy. If you enjoy wearing your timepiece you can be sure that it will be a wise investment that will bring you many years of pleasure.

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