Time Is Money, How To Buy A Watch

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So you’ve decided to upgrade your Timex Ironman that you had since grade ten, but aren’t sure how to select a watch that is more grown up. This article is going to teach you everything you need to know in order to get that perfect timepiece.

The first step in purchasing a decent watch is to acquaint yourself with some of the terminology that is used in the business.

This term refers to anything that your watch is capable of doing above and  beyond the simple task of time keeping. Examples are a chronograph feature, stopwatch, calendar, laser beam (yes those do exist).


The little tiny gears and cogs that make your watch tick. Swiss movements are the best, followed by Japanese in second place.


Quartz is a type of crystal, and some watches keep time by measuring the oscillations of the quartz crystal inside the watch.


Also known as kinetic or automatic, this refers to a type of mechanical watch that is powered by the normal movements of the wearer’s wrist.


Pretty self explanatory, but please do not confuse this to mean that your watch is “water proof” so it is advisable to remove your watch when taking a shower or swimming, unless your watch is rated 5Bar or water resistant to one hundred meters.

Collectible watches are those that were made between 1935 and 1985, anything older than that is a vintage. A few years back a vintage watch sold for $11 million dollars. If you are one of the fortunate few who are able to get their hands on a true vintage watch make sure to ask for original documentation to back up the dealer’s claims about the authenticity of the timepiece. This paperwork will have a serial number that has to match with what is imprinted on the body of the watch. It doesn’t matter if you are purchasing a $100 watch by Fossil, or a $65000 masterpiece by Patek Philippe your watch is a valuable instrument and that is why it is important to make this investment at a reputable seller that can provide certificates of authenticity. Spending money on a counterfeit can prove to be a costly affair if the knock off is unable to accurately track time. And a true watch connoisseur will easily be able to expose your fake.

The strap on the watch can be made of various materials such as rubber, leather, or metal. The order of value for the metal from highest to lowest is as follows:


White gold

Pink gold

Yellow gold

Steel (however this is more valuable than platinum if the watch was made during the steel shortages of World War Two).

Metal straps are considered bold, and leather more elegant. A gentleman invited to a tuxedo mandatory party will always wear a watch with a black leather strap. A watch with a metal strap pairs well with jeans, however, if it is a sleek and strong design it can go well with a suit for the office. Watches with rubber straps are ideally suited for athletic activities as they have the ability to sustain the trauma that can be unintentionally thrown at them.

In terms of value a watch that is fully mechanical is of more value than one that has a quartz movement, and that is why these watches also command a higher price. So if purchasing a time piece that is to become a family heirloom select one that is mechanical. You may also choose to opt for a watch that has a chronograph function (stop watch and distance measuring features), and these watches are typically large and will get much attention from people because of its muscular stance on the wearer’s wrist. However if you purchase a fine time piece it is imperative to maintain your complex piece of machinery by having it oiled and cleaned every three to five years because the internal oils will have started to break down by this time. Find a reputable watch repair centre to perform this type of work, and usually you can find qualified professionals that are trained to work on your particular model if you carefully read the service manual that came with your watch. Depending on the quality of your watch the average repair can cost anywhere from $400 to half a million dollars. If you own a Swiss watch it can take up to a period of four months to overhaul your watch and re-lubricate the internal components because the entire watch is carefully taken apart, and then lovingly put back together.

So what exactly is the difference between a $100 and a $30000 watch? Well as a rule of thumb any watch that is above $2500 is entirely hand-made and is not mass produced. Each year the company will produce say 500 units of that particular model for the entire world. It is like owning a little piece of coveted art on your wrist. A cheap “Made in China” watch will keep track of the time no doubt, however, a genuine Swiss watch is skilfully crafted by the hands of a man in a tiny workshop in Geneva, and his family would have been making watches for generations. This man’s bloodline has been lovingly making watches for Kings, Queens and heads of State for centuries. You are buying into a piece of history, a piece of tradition, and that is why you are paying the premium. Just to give you an idea of the value of Swiss watches, "Chopard" a company based in Switzerland recently released the world's most valuable watch, costing a cool $25 million dollars.

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