How To Choose The Perfect Watch For Yourself
Buying a new watch seems like it should be a fairly straightforward matter. You browse through a few, confident you’ll have the one you want in a few minutes and be on your way. And then, as time ticks by, you find yourself rejecting fine timepiece after fine timepiece without really knowing why. The most common reason guys find it difficult to select a watch that’s right for them is that they go into the process unsure of what to look for. Therefore, even when they find one that speaks to them from an aesthetic standpoint they don’t really know how to judge if it’s right from an objective standpoint. Below, we’ll provide you with 10 things to consider when buying a new watch.
There are almost as many watch styles today as there are people on the planet. Sifting through all the choices and finding the one that’s just right for you can be confusing. Here are 10 things to look for that should simplify the process for you.
Function And Type
Before you can pick the right watch you need to know what you need it for. There are 4 basic categories of watch and knowing which one to focus on will greatly narrow your search. Those 4 basic categories are:
- The Luxury Watch – Omega, Rolex and Breguet are just a few examples of luxury watch brands. You’re not going to wear these rock climbing.
- The Sports Watch – This category covers a wide range of watch types including the dive watch, the golf watch, tactical watches, field watches and more. You might wear one of these rock climbing.
- The Casual Watch – The casual watch typically occupies a middle ground between luxury and sports watches. They can be fun like a Swatch or more serious like a Townsman Chronograph.
- The Vintage Watch – Vintage watches run the gamut from 1970s era quartz jobs to 18th century pocket watches that are more investment than practical accessory. Chances are, unless you’re a collector, this isn’t what you’re looking for.
Now that you’ve narrowed down the type of watch you want it’s time to think about the style of that timepiece. Do you prefer analog or digital? That choice will eliminate a further 50% of watches for you. If it’s some sort of sports watch that you’re after you’ll want one that doesn’t look out of place on your wrist. So if you have thin wrists you should probably avoid the big bulky tactical watches. Then again, if your intent is to make some sort of professional statement you’ll want a luxury watch whose design is in keeping with the traditions of your chosen field.
So now you know the type of watch you want and have a general idea about whether it’s going to be bulky or more minimal, analog or digital and so on. Other features then come into play. If you’re looking for a sports watch do you need a stopwatch function? If you’re after a tactical watch how about GPS? If you’re after a field watch do you need a tachymeter or will day and date do?
The watch case will most likely be fashioned from either gold, silver, stainless steel, plastic, aluminum or perhaps titanium. Same with the band, although you can also throw in leather and various types of fabric like canvas as band materials. Fabric, plastic, aluminum and even stainless steel are out when it comes to true luxury watches. And with perhaps only a few rare exceptions, leather too. Any field or tactical watch should be light and tough as well as practical. So plastic and aluminum are good materials. A more formal-leaning casual watch case might be fashioned from stainless or high-grade aluminum. And, of course, for fun casual watches pretty much anything goes.
What You Intend To Wear It With
If you’re getting a luxury watch, keep in mind that gold tends to look better with earth tones like green and brown and certain shades of grey. While silver looks best against black and dark blue and to a lesser extent against darker shades of grey. Also, gold is more of a daytime material while silver looks better at night. If you’ll be wearing your new watch primarily with casual wear remember leather is going to look good with jeans. If you’re a hunter the bulkier plastic strap of some tactical watches will hold its own against camo.
Most high-quality watches today are water resistant. Meaning you can wear them in the rain and they will likely even survive if you accidentally dive in the pool wearing them. Others are totally waterproof. Heck, even some cheap casual watches are fully waterproof now. So the days of having to shield your watch from the rain are effectively over. The only reason you might need to be protective is if you have a leather or fabric band on your watch.
Some watches are so light you can forget you have them on. While others are so heavy they never let you forget that they’re along for the ride. You expect a luxury watch fashioned from gold or silver to be heavy. And tactical watches that are the size of small cars (or at least seem like they are) are also going to be heavy. But other, more refined styles of the casual watch should be comfortable, first and foremost. If the casual watch you have your eye on seems a bit heavy with its metal band see if it’s available with a leather strap.
Watches get their power from one of 4 basic sources: manual winding, automatic winding, quartz or solar. Manual watches need to be wound every day or two. Automatic watches wind themselves using the movement of your arms as a catalyst. Quartz watches use a battery in conjunction with a quartz crystal and solar-powered watches get their energy from the sun. Keep in mind if you are interested in an automatic watch you’ll need to look into watch winders to keep the watch powered during those periods you may not be wearing it.
If you are buying the watch to help you make some sort of statement, (whether business or personal), then brand considerations are going to be much higher up on your list of considerations. Even the cheapest Rolex carries more cultural heft than the most expensive Timex. It’s about the associations people make when they hear the brand name. For instance, the Seiko Astron is a beautiful watch that will set you back around $1,500. But will people be more impressed by it or by a similarly priced Tag Heuer Formula 1? Brand associations.
Finally, most analog watches have luminous hands these days that let you make out the time even when it’s pitch dark out. A less common feature is the luminous face. The illuminating face is considered below the dignity of most luxury watches. But if you’re considering a sport watch or casual watch an illuminating face might be something you’ll want to consider.