The Dude Society

An Online Magazine for Guys.

Dude’s Guide To Buying A Watch

Many men do not know where or how to start when it comes to purchasing a watch. A watch is a type of jewelry; I do not wear bracelets or dog tags or necklaces or rings, but I do wear a watch all the time. Which watch is right for you can be a very big decision, especially when investing a sizable sum of money. The five most important things when it comes to picking a watch are type, cost, function, size, and brand.

Type & Material:

Your first step is determining what type of watch you want and what material it should be. Watches can be made of stainless steel, gold or other precious metals, enamel, or rubber. Material aside, watches come in many varieties: digital, quartz, automatic, and manual movement.

It is best to do some online research to get a general idea of the type that best suits you. There is definitely something for everyone no matter what type you’re looking for. In general, once you get your first watch, the subsequent watches after that tend to branch out into other types. This is beginning of a collection.

I personally have four well-thought out watches in my collection. Two are Breitlings, one is a Panerai, and the fourth is a Casio G-Shock G100. The last being a great-looking and great value starting at only $99. They are all very different styles, but I like them all for different reasons.

Cost:

There is a watch for every budget, you can buy a watch for $30 or you can spend a million or more. If this is your first major watch purchase beyond the Casio calculator watch you might have had when you were younger, you need to set a budget and stick to it. When I shop for watches I look for quality and value for money.

In my opinion the perfect combination of this is the Breitling Super Avenger (pictured). It is a large, well built, die-hard watch. It makes a statement and will last forever. It lists for $4,550 (MSRP). Luckily, any authorized jeweler that carries Breitling, or your brand of choice, generally will discount up to 25%.

When a lot of men go to buy their first quality timepiece they get all wrapped up in the sticker shock and forget what they’re actually getting for the money. They rarely look at the value they get for that cost. If you want to step up to a higher-end timepiece you are going to have to break the $1500-2000 dollar mark to get a very well made entry-level watch.

Function:

Function is also a hard decision. Do you want a dressy watch? Do you want a casual, more sporty, watch? Do you go diving and need a watch specifically for that? No matter what you are looking for, there is a watch to suit you. Typically, a watch with a leather or crocodile strap is more of a dress watch; on the flip side of that a watch with a stainless band or a rubber strap is more towards the sportier side.

Many watches that feature a metal casing can be used with multiple types of bands, be they leather, metal or rubber. This can make a single watch very versatile and can offer an added value. All of the watches in my collection, with the exception of my Casio, work with multiple types of bands. Taking your time, and deciding what type of watch you want to invest in, will allow you to get the most use out of it.

Traditionally, when dressed formally, a smaller watch with a slimmer leather strap is more appropriate and customary. When you are dressed less formally to casually, you have much more flexibility in terms of what watch to wear. These are factors that should contribute to your decision about what style of watch to purchase.

Size:

Recently, over the past few years we have seen men’s and women’s watches getting larger and larger. I personally like a larger watch. A typical men’s watch in the mid-size category will range from 40-44 mm diameter. That is the measure from the side of the watch to the tip of the crown which is usually on the right hand side of the watch. Larger sized watches can range up to 60mm, or more, depending on the brand.

My Breitling Super Avenger is 47.4mm and is a very large watch. At the same time, it’s a good-looking, classy watch, not like some of the Jacob & Co watches that are covered in a skull and crossbones and made out of pink and red diamonds.

The best way to know what size watch is best for you is as simple as going to try some on. From there you can decide which size you feel most comfortable with.

Brand:

Watch brands can vary greatly in quality, style, and price. You can purchase a relatively inexpensive designer watch from a jewelry store in your local mall, or you can go to a fine timepiece store and purchase a Patek Philippe. It is up to you to do the important research and understand what you’re buying.

There are countless websites that rate watch brands in terms of quality, reliability, and the movement (meaning the guts of the watch). Any good automatic Swiss movement is a good place to start. If you want a great entry level, quality watch; I suggest you look at any of the Breitling Aeromarine collection, ranging in price from $2,000-$5,000 MSRP. They are a great value for the money.

My next planned purchase is a few steps up from Breitling, to the Audimers Piguet. The Breitling is like a nice BMW 750li, but the Audimers Piguet is the Rolls Royce of watches. While it does not look particularly remarkable in some ways, it is one of the best watches out there today in the market in its price range. Due to its high quality materials inside and out, along with its precise movement, it is a highly desirable piece.

Conclusion

The best way to get started is to get online and see what you like. That should start you in a general direction, from there find your closest retailer of the brand you like and go try them on. Do not talk price until you are ready to buy; it is a waste of your and the sales associate’s time. Buying a high-end watch is similar to buying a car, so you should think of the deal as such. Remember, watch collecting is a fun and life-long hobby; you do not need it all at once. I try and get a new watch every few years when I see something that really piques my interest.

Happy collecting!

7 responses to “Dude’s Guide To Buying A Watch”

  1. Gaurav says:

    I like quality watches and own a Breitling, but I have to say that is the most pointless article I’ve seen on buying a quality watch. You could’ve at least described the major categories when buying a watch i.e sports, dress, fashion or collectible and what type is appropriate for what purpose. I get your love for Breitlings, but they are useless to someone wanting a nice watch to wear to a formal occassion, a crappy but nonetheless fashionable Movado would do better for that case.

  2. Mike says:

    All good ideas, and definitely not a pointless article. But if I may, there are a number of quality automatic watches that are a great starting point for a collection that are under $1,000. For example, Zeno and Archimede are great starter watches. Or if you have a slightly higher budget, an Omega can make for a fantastic starter watch. Everything that was said above is true in that you need to go out and try several on to know what you like. And to that end, while Audimers makes fantastic watches, I personally prefer Hublot's styling for the price point. Also, don't forget you can get a beautiful Corum or a Bell & Ross in the $2,500 – $6,000 range. Panerai make great watches as well, but due to their recent popularity, they are beginning to get notably more expensive. Please also consider a few other mid-to-high end brands if you're in that market: IWC, Zenith, Ulysse Nardin to name a few. Also, the iGucci is a great watch for under $1,500 if you're looking for a sporty look. Just my $0.02.

  3. Yeah I have been on the search for a nice watch. Earlier this year I purchased a Fossil for about $109 and it was nice but it was a bit bulky as I was wearing it with my suits and what not. Now I'm on the search for a more professional and sporty watch to wear with both my jeans and vnecks and my suites.

  4. John says:

    Dude, first of all check your spelling its Audermars not Audimer. FYI the Super Avenger is average at best. There are soooo many brands out there. Your comparisons are way off. Do more research besides Breitling. You do know about watch brands like Zenith that produce in house movements or Hublot, IWC at the same price point. Anyone reading this guy's info please do not follow its way off

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