To help you find your forever piece, we’ve teamed up with the horology fanatics at Watch Depot to create a guide to picking the perfect watch.
Choosing the perfect watch is certainly no easy feat. They are an item that you will more than likely wear every day, so you want to make sure that the timepiece you choose ultimately ticks all of the boxes. Whether it is a classic Seiko watch, an ultra-stylish Daniel Wellington watch or something Swiss-made, no two watches are alike and they all have different capabilities, this can make shopping for the perfect watch that much harder.
If you had to create the perfect watch for everyday wear, the three essential qualities it would likely have are style, functionality and of course durability. However, with modern technology being how it is, these traits are not exactly hard to come by, something that can make it even more challenging to narrow down your choices. This means you might have to think outside the box a little and think more broadly about some of the other characteristics you want your watch to embody such as the type of movement, the kind of features your dream timepiece should have as well as what style of watch will fit in with your lifestyle the best.
Before you even think about researching types of watches and styles, the first thing you will need to work out is your budget.
What should my watch budget be?
You should always start with your budget because while some watches can be as little as $30, others can set you back an eye-watering $100,000. So, your aim should be to find a middle ground. One way to do this is to consider how much wear you will be getting out of this prospective watch. If you intend to wear your piece every day, consider a cost-per-wear approach and how long a watch in a particular price range is going to last you with consistent wear. For a timepiece that is reserved for special events, think about a budget that is based on style and convenience rather than any fancy functions, alternatively, go the collector’s route and treat yourself to an investment piece that you will still be around in twenty years’ time.
You should also consider the brand and type of watch you wish to buy. Contemporary watch brands like Seiko, Tommy Hilfiger and G-Shock are considered mid-range with an average retail of around $300 with the occasional model reaching the $1000 mark. Swiss brands such as TAG Heuer, Longines and Omega are luxury brands with a price tag that is well over $1500. Then there are brands such as Casio, Cluse and Watch Depot’s Ellis & Co that all sit under the $200 mark. Once you figure out what kind of watch you would like, you will then be able to formulate a budget from there.
The great thing about buy now, pay later programs such as the ones that humm offer is that you are able to be a little more flexible with your purchases. This means that if you are keen to splurge on your holy grail watch, you do so in a more conservative manner and pay it off in easy-to-manage instalments over a matter of time.
What movement should my watch be?
One key feature that you should be aware of when browsing watches is movement. Sitting within the inner workings of each timepiece, the movement is the heart of your watch. Everything revolves around the watch’s movement as it is what keeps it ticking and moving in the right direction. There are currently four types of movements used in contemporary watches: mechanical, automatic, quartz and solar.
One of the oldest types of watch movements, mechanical watches consist of a series of tiny components that work together autonomously to power the timepiece. Unlike some movements that require batteries to operate, mechanical watches do not but rather require periodical hand-winding to function. Due to their intricate and eye-catching design, mechanical watches tend to come with a higher price tag but are accurate to about +/- 20 seconds a day. So, even though mechanical watches have one of the older movements out there they still come with a lot of reliability. You will commonly find a mechanical movement in Fossil watches, Cartier watches and Maserati watches.
Automatic watches have a self-winding movement that is powered by kinetic energy. Relying on the natural movement of the wearer’s wrist to function, an automatic movement stores energy in the mainspring and therefore doesn’t rely on any batteries or manual winding to function. With an accuracy of around +/- 20 seconds a day, automatic movements are a popular choice among many timepiece brands and so it is likely you will come across this type of movement in many different watches including Seiko Watches, Citizen watches and Bulova watches. Despite being relatively affordable, automatic watches are considered to be a more premium movement due to their seamless mechanism, reliability and their overall user-friendliness.
Popularised by the Seiko Corporation, quartz watches have been around since the early 1970s. Quartz watches rely on an electrical current that is powered by a battery placed within the movement in order to function. By far the most popular and the most affordable type of watch movement on the market, quartz watches require a battery change every 2-3 years in order to function. With an accuracy of around +/- 15 seconds a month, quartz watches are super reliable and a more popular choice among watch fans than mechanical watches. You will likely come across quartz watches in the collections of many timepiece brands, however, they are synonymous with Seiko watches, G-Shock watches and Casio watches.
One of the newest additions to the watch world, solar watches are a more sustainable approach to timepiece movements. With society becoming more and more conscious about the products we consume and their impact on the environment, more industries are turning to solar energy and that naturally includes the watch world as well. With the ability to convert light sources into energy that is powerful enough to keep a watch ticking, solar watches are proving to be an effective and sustainable approach to timekeeping. Accurate to about +/- 15 seconds a month and not requiring any batteries, solar watches are incredibly reliable and utilise quartz crystal timekeeping that helps to regulate movement while also allowing the watch to maintain a precise frequency standard. Solar watches are available in all different kinds of styles and price ranges with the most popular watches being Citizen Eco-Drive watches, G-Shock watches and Seiko Coutura watches.
What type of watch functionality is ideal for me?
Another aspect that is going to impact your choice of watch is the type of features that your desired timepiece should have. All watches have varying degrees of functionality with some having a more traditionalist approach while others are equipped with all kinds of functions that we have become accustomed to in the modern world. So, from classic analogue watches to daring hybrid watches these are all the different watches you can get your hands on based on their functionality.
Arguably the most iconic type of watch is the analogue watch. Characterised by its simplistic dial consisting of an hour, minute and seconds hand, analogue watches have been the go-to timepiece for centuries. Their pared-back design not only provides analogue timepieces with a great deal of versatility but also a level of timelessness. Great for all kinds of occasions, analogue watches are the kind of timepiece that gets handed down for future generations to cherish.
Gaining momentum during the early 1980s, digital watches evolved from LED watches and became a symbol of the early digital age. Displaying the time in numerical digits and an electronic display much like a computer, digital watches are often equipped with a handful of other features including a GPS, fitness trackers, smartphone connectivity, a pedometer and more. Due to their laid-back design, digital watches tend to be worn as workwear or in the gym as a fitness buddy.
Identifiable by their multiple miniature dials on the face that are known as subdials, chronograph watches are often equipped with more features and functions including stopwatches, timers as well as a tachymeter which is a scale sitting on the rim of the watch that is used to measure speed over a known distance. Due to their myriad of functions, chronograph watches are ideal for everyday wear as well as formal occasions due to their somewhat statement dial.
Hybrid watches are a healthy mix of both analogue and digital. Combining modern digital features with traditional watch mechanics, hybrid watches perform in a similar manner to modern-day smartwatches. Often featuring stopwatches and other fitness functions including a heart rate monitor, hybrid watches are popular among those with a desire for a timepiece that offers all the modern-day functions while also embodying the design characteristics of a traditional analogue watch. Hybrid watches are a signature of many watch brands including G-Shock, Baby-G and Fossil.
What is my watch style?
Watches are made to fit the needs of all different kinds of lifestyles and personalities, from the fitness junkies all the way up to the aviation enthusiasts. Watches made with a particular lifestyle in mind will have functions that aid in particular activities such as diving or workouts and have a design flair that complements the style of the wearer. There are countless watch styles out there with most of them identifiable by their appearance.
Some of the most popular watch styles include the dress watch which often features a classic pared-back design that complements everything from a casual pair of jeans to a dapper suit and smartwatches that come with an array of handy functions such as the ability to take and receive calls, track your fitness, send messages and much more. There are fashion watches that bring a little flair to your everyday style thanks to their eye-catching design motifs and adornments as well as luxury watches that not only have great resale value but also come with a lot of heritage and prestige. Many brands even produce watches that are made to benefit people working in a particular field such as nursing, defence or aviation, as well as those that have taken up a niche hobby including diving, racing, or a high-impact sport such as athletics.