Once you decided to buy a watch you need to weight in the balance several reasons, starting from your personal interest for a wearable item, moving to the possible wish to own a fashionable watch and ending with the watch's price and with exactly how much are you ready to invest in this particular accessory. Beside its primary useful function of a time measurement instrument, a watch has slowly but surely become an important piece in a man's wardrobe. This if you are the kind of man that owns, aggrandizes and takes care of its wardrobe.
In the end, it all comes to what a watch signifies for each individual and to the importance given to the quality/price ratio. Dependent on those factors, we can name here the capital traits of our future watch and we can therefore choose the product that it's most suitable for us. And the watches market will help us in this direction because, fortunately, it's richness provides watches that can satisfy any taste or pocket. The prices, the models, the colors, the materials or the extra services provided for the clients by expensive brands, the prices variations on different global markets, all these prove that watches industry is blooming and that the producers strive flat out to satisfy the high demand.
So, let's first take a look, at large, at some general guiding lines when buying a watch, before approaching the issue of craftsmanship.
In terms of movement type, you can choose from a mechanical or a quartz one. The quartz movement has the advantage of being accurate, durable and is also less expensive than a mechanical one. This is the reason for which you can find watches with a price range from 10$ to more expensive ones from brands like Omega, Citizen or Breitling if your budget is up to 10.000$. So, what's the difference? Well, it's all about the quality of the materials used to accommodate the movement and the guarantee that you receive when buying from an established brand. On the other hand, mechanical movements issue is a bit more complicated and I'll cover it later in this article.
The looks - in terms of aesthetics things are simple and complicated at the same time. If you'll take a look on the internet, big sell sites offer you some nice watches, from sporty looks to elegant designs, from classic shapes to futuristic ones with prices ranging between $50 and $500. On the other hand, a luxury brand watch has an entire design team behind it, one that carefully chooses each design element and makes market research in terms of fashionable colors or the correlation between a certain shape and the best chromatic to go with it. All the work of this team is, in the end, reflected on the final price of the watch. Yet again, it's a matter of personal taste.
Usefulness - yes, you can now purchase multifunctional watches that can measure your heart beat or calculate speed. Let's just stick to some classic advantages like waterproofness or shock resistance. 50$ watches won't do magic for you but they can put up with some heavy rain. 300$ ones, on the other hand, can keep themselves safe and there are some made by Casio, Seiko or Citizen, all under 300$, that are built for diving and do a great job up to 200 m depth. So, from this point of view, you don't need to buy, let's say, an Omega, and spend five times more. The catch resides in the diving capacity, because for 6000$ you can buy a 1000 m water resistant watch.
Moving now to the sinuous part of this article, perhaps the one that truly makes the difference in what quality. And the defining noun for quality in the watch industry is the craftsmanship of the mechanical movements that includes all the effort put in the fabrication of its mechanism. Swiss brands have special laboratories, invest in research, train their craftsmen, do material resistance tests, manufacture exclusively by hand and, most of them, have a rich history in fine watchmaking. With all this concern, the final product should, and in many cases is, be close to perfection. Beside the movement that can have beautiful complications and fulfill multiple functions, there are some things that also put a watch in the high-end category: the finishes of the dial, the quality of the bracelet, the clarity of the glass, the smoothness of the movement and the overall feeling of the watch at your wrist. Let's add to that the fact that high-end brands meet standards in order to have certifications like COSC, Swiss Made or the Geneva Seal. True that purchasing a watch like this can be expensive, but the guarantee that comes with it should put you in comfort. From $1000 up to millions of bucks, the choice is yours to make. But if you just need a mechanical watch with some basic functions like date/day, you can choose from a wide range and, if you are careful enough, there are some pieces that will do the job for you if you don't care much about the life expectancy. From a $20000 Vacheron Constantin to a $50 Skagen the price difference is huge indeed but, in the end, it all comes to the way in which we apprehend a watch: a reliable companion, a fashion item, a day by day necessity, a caprice. And it also comes to understanding and appreciating the qualities of an expensive watch. Because if you don't care, don't know much about watchmaking or don't see the point of complicated functions, then why spending a fortune on a luxury piece? Cause branding alone doesn't make a product great.
If you do appreciate what lies behind the high price, you did your homework and could stare for hours at a see-through case-back contemplating a mechanism, then a luxury watch seems the only satisfying solution for you.