Tips For Choosing Your First Watch

    Watches are so much more than just a means of telling time.

    A watch can tell a lot about the person wearing it. It’s a personal statement as much as it is a functional device. Buying your first watch can be an exhilarating yet often overwhelming experience.

    There are so many factors to account for, so much information you need to sift through. Because of that, we’ve put together this short but sweet guide on how to choose your first watch.

    Set Your Budget

    It’s a common misconception that you have to drop the big bucks to get a good watch. There are great timepieces in every budget. That being said, you really should set a budget. That way you can narrow down your search and start looking at specific models.

    Different budget ranges open up different brands. For example, if you’re willing to drop anywhere from $4,000 to $5,000 on a watch, you can find awesome Omega Seamaster and Speedmasters. Bump that figure a bit higher, and you’re in Grand Seiko or maybe even Rolex Submariner territory.

    Why Are Some Watches so Expensive?

    There are many factors that will dictate the price of a watch. And naturally, you should look into all of those thoroughly before making any decision. Horologists from argue that things such as materials, types of movement, number and type of complications, and other factors all affect the price tag. Naturally, branding is going to be a massive factor as well.


    There are generally two common types of movements out there — Quartz and Automatic. In addition to these, you’ll also see mechanical (also known as manual) movements that require the user to manually wind them up periodically. The pure convenience of quartz and automatic movements has made mechanical watches a niche category.


    Quartz movements are a fairly recent development. Your average quartz movement is battery powered and extremely accurate. These movements use crystal quartz, which is powered by the electrical energy stored in the battery. With a fixed frequency, quartz offers precise time telling as long as there is power in the battery.  Watches that utilize quartz technology are accurate, easy to maintain, and affordable. If you’re looking for something that looks good, is accurate, and affordable, look into quartz watches.

    Automatic Movements

    Automatics are the older, but more popular choice as far as movements go. An automatic movement is very similar to a mechanical movement in the sense that the movement itself is complex and spring powered. However, unlike mechanical timepieces that you have to wind manually, automatic movements use an inertial mechanism to keep the watch wound at all times.

    This type of watch is the go-to choice for timepiece aficionados who appreciate the art of watchmaking and are intrigued by the precision of engineering that goes into such watches. While there are affordable automatic watches, this category extends into moderately expensive and expensive territory.

    Different Designs

    Watches come in a whole bunch of shapes and sizes. Even so, we recognize several distinct designs that have persisted throughout the decades.

    Dress Watch

    Dress watches are functional timepieces, but they heavily favor aesthetics. A dress watch often features a clean watch face, a refined leather strap, and an overall thin appearance. It’s a piece of jewelry first and foremost — an accessory that is designed to complement your attire more than anything else.

    The Diver

    Diving watches are the default choice for many aficionados out there. They are robust, functional, and give off a sense of purpose. Diving watches feature a diving bezel that rotates one way only and is meant to tell the diver how much air they have left in their tanks. Rolex Submariner we’ve mentioned earlier is often credited with starting this entire niche of watches.

    Don’t Get Stuck on Branding

    If you’re buying your first watch, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the expensive brands and models. Try to keep your eyes on the ball. Even if your budget is around $200-$300, you’ll be able to find awesome options that will look and feel the part.

    Don’t get drawn into an expensive watch you can’t afford just because of branding. That’s a good way of becoming resentful towards horology as a whole.

    Explore Different Watches

    When you first start looking at watches, it’s common to immerse yourself into Swiss movements and watches, completely disregarding everything else that’s on the market. As it turns out, there’s a whole world of watchmaking awaiting just beyond those mighty Alps.

    Japanese watches offer some of the best movements out there, while there are also a number of rather affordable Russian watchmakers that will make your jaw drop with their designs and quality. Don’t limit yourself, explore different flavors of horology.

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      Tips For Choosing Yo…

      by Brett Smith Time to read this article: 11 min