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Watch-buying Guide: What you need to consider before buying your next watch!

Top 10 Watch-buying Tips

I am a devoted watch connoisseur and have been for more than half my life. The most frequent questions I am asked are “Which watch should I buy?” and “What do you think of…” (insert brand here). The person asking usually has a handful of watches he or she is considering. My answer? Well, it will always be “Buy the one that most intrigues you”. Now, I have noticed that I probably should be a bit more detailed, but honestly, it is really up to you and only you. That said, I have been more than willing to help those in need. Here my “10 commandments” of watch-buying I extend to friends and family when they are shopping for a watch:

 

 

  1. Understand your budget: Sure, you can use plastic, but why not save a bit more and buy it at the right time? I have seen two different very negative reactions to buying a watch. The first is having to sell it after a while due to financial constraints. The second is buyer’s remorse. Both of these can be avoided by either buying a watch in your true price range or waiting and saving more money to buy the one you really want.

 

  1. Don’t try to impress anyone: I’ve witnessed those who opt for gaudy disco ball watches versus more classic, but better engineered ones and regretting it. Let me be frank here. Unless you are rapper, pimp, a soldier for the Russian mob, his girlfriend, or a true fan of gold, platinum, diamonds, rubies, sapphires, etc, then don’t buy a watch that is made from any of those materials. The reason why is because they are marked up more than steel watches and you will likely end up losing much more money, even relatively, if you decide to trade it or sell it later. Watch companies’ margins on these more luxurious metals and materials are outrageous and they rarely add to the true performance of the watch- unless you count recognition factor as part of that performance.

 

  1. Know Your Style: Unless you’re a true collector, you probably only have a few watches you wear regularly. That said, try to stay true to your style and pick the design that fits your wardrobe and lifestyle. For example, if you’re an active person who mountain climbs every weekend and works at a casual office, then a Breitling Aerospace Avantage on a rubber strap would be more suitable than a TAG Heuer Monaco.

 

  1. Do Your Research: Either ask someone who’s pretty knowledgeable or research on the internet. Due diligence will pay off big in two ways. First, you will probably buy the watch at a better price. Second, you will pick the better value, and third you will have the more reliable piece.

 

  1. Don’t be afraid to go against the grain: So, you’re sipping on a Bloody Mary or glass of Pinot Noir at the rooftop of the Peninsula Hotel with friends and friends of friends and notice all the Rolex Datejusts, Cartier Roadsters, and Breitling Chronomats glimmering in the faint moonlight. When you finally reward yourself with a great wristwatch, make sure you forget that moment! Because there’s no harm in trying on other brands you don’t see your friends wearing. The Joneses do not really care about which watch your wearing, and if they do, just know that whatever it is your wearing is as fine a watch as theirs no matter what. That rare IWC chronograph may not garnish as much attention, but it sure holds its own in terms of craftsmanship, functionality, and tradition.

 

  1. Be sure you can treat it with respect: Sure, a watch is a material thing and it’s meant to be worn. I completely agree. But, as a watch fanatic, I am kindly asking you to be conscious that you are prepared to wear a piece of art on your wrist. I wear my high-end watches to the gym, pool, beach, pretty much anywhere, but I am still pretty careful with it on. It’s not as much about being overly vigilant as it is being respectful and protecting your investment.

 

  1. For God’s sake, pick a watch that actually fits you! If you are a 5’0”, 90lb, size zero female, then you shouldn’t be wearing that full size Audemars Piguet 46MM Royal Oak Rubberclad. Sorry!

 

  1. Remember that a Fad is temporary: I’m just trying to help you make the right decision, so for you artsy types who are all about the Chanel Ceramic J21s or the Louis Vuitton Tambour, please remember that those are not watches with a lot of history, and like the brands’ other product lines, they are very fickle fashion-wise. Given the prices for these watches, be careful as to what you select. After spending thousands of dollars, you should be comfortable wearing a watch after at least a few seasons.

 

  1. Don’t opt for any non-original accessories or parts: Please, please, please do not ask the salesperson if there are any diamond encrusted anythings you can add in six months or so. If you want diamonds on a watch, make sure they’re originally factory-equipped on the watch you’re buying. To me, it’s killing the art when you take a well-manufactured piece and add aftermarket parts to it. This isn’t like adding a Tubi exhaust on a Ferrari F360, OK? The only exceptions would be the watch strap.

 

  1. Don’t let anyone talk you into anything: Asking for advice is OK, but if you really, really want a particular watch, don’t let anyone stop you. This isn’t life-threatening like diabetic eating a box of Crispy Kreme’s. As stated in tip #4, do your research, but buy what YOU want or else you will definitely regret your selection.