Google searches for ‘men’s watches’ and ‘women’s watches’ enjoy an almighty spike around this time of year, hitting roughly double the number you’d expect during the rest of year (according to Google Trends anyway).
If you’re in the market for a watch at the moment, it’s worth spending a bit of time finding out what you should be getting for your money. You can easily spend thousands on a watch but you can also get something special for much less.
If you’re working to a budget of £100 or less you’ll be buying a ‘quartz’ watch, which is the cheaper alternative to a posh ‘automatic’ watch, which requires no batteries. Watch aficionados prefer this more traditional method of watch making but a quartz watch keeps better time and at this price I would just focus on getting something which looks nice.
At the £200 mark, you’ll see more watches with a ‘synthetic sapphire crystal’, which means they are tougher on the front and less likely to shatter. That’s a useful feature if you want the watch to last for a while. You’ll also find a lot of watches made by fashion labels at this price. Many of them are household names – and they’ll keep very accurate time – but be aware that hardcore horologists are a bit of dismissive of brands which do a bit of watch making on the side.
On a budget of £500 you’ll start to see some Swiss made watches with features such as an ‘automatic movement’ so they are powered by the wearer’s movement rather than batteries. They aren’t likely to be names most people have heard of for this price, but the build quality is generally very good and they should last a long time.
If you’re spending £1000 then you’ll be able to afford some Swiss watches by brands you’ve heard of. It’s not a big enough budget for a new Omega or a Rolex but you do find some names like Tag Heuer and Rado in this price bracket. Personally I’d be looking for an ‘automatic’ Swiss watch at this price, although there are some quartz watches and watches from other countries on the market in this bracket (Germany and Japan also make some very good watches).
If you’re feeling flushed enough to spend £5000 - £10,000 or even more on a watch, you will be able to afford watches by household names with decades of heritage.
If the watch sells itself as a ‘diving’ watch I’d be looking for a rating of 200 metres of more. Even if you don’t plan to take it diving then it’s still a sign of build quality.
I’d also want a watch with a chronometer rating, meaning it has been independently tested for accuracy in various conditions over several days.
Other things to look for in very expensive watches include straps made from gold or gemstones, which bling up the watch.
Some watches at the luxury end of the market have various ‘complications’ such as an ability to tell you the date or a chronograph. However, you’ll also find some less intricate watches which cost as much as a new car, which instead focus on high quality simplicity.
This blog originally appeared on the Best Watches Guide