Mid Range Watch Buying Guide ($1,000 to $15,000)
So I guess you read our Part I of how to choose a watch, and you’re past that. You really want to be serious about horology and the intricacies involved.
You scoff at the sight of quartz movements, and want to go into the automatic movements, mechanical wind-ups, and are salivating for more features like chronograph, timers, open heart movements, etc.
Well, the GW crew is proud to hear that you’re going to the next level in your collection. So let us help you see what you need to look for, as quality is key in this mid-range segment. It’s not a cheap cookie, so you need to get the best for your hard-earned money.
The majority of watches over $1,000 have what’s known as mechanical movement. This is an important feature as watches with mechanical movement have been the standard of watch making for years.
There are of course luxury watches which have quartz movement, and although it can be reliable, it is much harder to find quality quartz movement. If you do look for one with quartz movement, make sure it is some type like Superquartz or another equally good brand.
The difference between mechanical movement and quartz movement is twofold. Mechanical movement needs to be wound up, instead of using a battery and mechanical doesn’t make any sound like quartz watches can, like with a ticking.
A quality watch will have little to no glare.
Typically, the less a watch costs the more glare you will have. Quality watches have an anti-glare surfactant applied, sometimes to the top of the crystal, sometimes to the bottom, and sometimes to both sides. The more that is applied the better, so look for one that has it on both sides of the crystal.
There is a type of crystal that has a slight curve to it, and it is a necessity this type of crystal has anti-glare on both sides of it. In this case, you want to make sure the crystal is labeled double AR coating.
Metal bracelets connected by links which fit together. To get the links connected, there are two methods of connecting them. Watchmakers can either use small metal pins or screws.
The metal pins are used in many lesser quality watches, but screws are usually used in more expensive ones. The preferred link is the screw bar – instead of just being tapped or pounded in, they need to be individually screwed in and screwed out.
This makes them more likely to stay as they should and in turn they are more dependable and also last much longer than the pins.
While you may not be able to notice the difference unless you look closely, the screws will look better when you do take the time to see them side by side.
One part of a watch that can be certified is the chronometer.
While this isn’t always done, if you choose a watch that has been certified it means the chronometer has been tested and passed to be within an accuracy range of -4 to +6 seconds in a 24 hour period.
This range is only for mechanical watches although quartz watches can be certified, but different criteria is used. While this isn’t done on many watches, if you find your watch comes with COSC testing data you will know that this is what this means.
This reliability can translate into added value.
Anyone who has seen an inexpensive, well-worn watch knows what it looks like when it’s been worn for a long time and the finish has started to come off.
Under the polished metal it looks brown and no longer shiny. When you purchase a quality watch, the polish is much better and should last for a very long time.
This is because of the higher quality of metal that is used to begin with. When you are looking at a specific time piece, make sure to look at the edges of the links and the actual watch itself. You can often tell what kind of job has been done on the polish.
Most quality luminants have a ‘brand name’ to distinguish them from cheaper makers. A quality luminant should still glow long after you remove it from a light source, and quality makers of luminants are proud to put their name on their product.
One good maker is LumiNova and there are other similar sounding names which are quality as well.
There are many watch makers out there and if you aren’t up on them, it can be daunting to find a good one. Many companies that are well known for making other quality products produce watches as well, although their watches don’t compare to their other goods.
Just because you recognize the name doesn’t mean it is a quality watch, although it can be priced like it is. A good example of this is companies that make quality purses and hand bags.
Decoration and Design
Many upscale watches have a unique design or special type of decoration to establish it isn’t your everyday random watch. What’s most important though is that you love the watch and what it looks like.
If you’re unsure whether or not the watch is unique, you may want to get the opinion of someone who knows more than you do, or a qualified watch dealer.
Know the Value of Your Watch
There are certain brands of watches which retain their value over time.
If this is an important factor for you, make sure to check with someone, if not several people, to make sure you’re getting one that will retain its value. If you’re purchasing a watch to pass down for generations, this may not be as important to you. The key point is to purchase a watch you know you will love for years to come, and that will make the money you spend worth your purchase.