A Guide to Buying the Right Luxury Watch for Him
Rolex is undoubtedly one of the most popular luxury watch brands. If this is your first venture into watch collecting then it is the right place to start. Rolex is known the world over for its performance and reliability. Being a part of this exclusive club however does not have to be restrictive. There are some entry-level models that provide the same quality craftsmanship and precision that is also present in higher priced Rolex timepieces.
You might be surprised to know that a luxury watch does not cost USD 500. In fact, the lowest priced timepiece in the bracket could easily amount to ten times that. There is a good chance that you can find a good entry-level model for USD 5,000. Note that it does not always have to be brand new. You can buy a good second hand luxury watch with a good backstory. Before jumping in however, you must consider other factors aside from price. This will help you narrow down that specific watch for your man.
This is essentially where you can gain a better appreciation on why certain timepieces cost more than others. It is true that the brand is a factor. The movement or calibre however, literally plays a central role in selecting a watch. It is the mechanism that powers it and there are three main types. The first uses crystal quartz to send electrical signals coming from a battery. It is very accurate, low maintenance and inexpensive.
The second (mechanical) and third (automatic) types are similar when it comes to complication. It takes a lot more man hours to complete them due to the complexity of their movements. Mechanical movements however need to be manually winded up in order to function. To be clear, it is a ritual that some enthusiasts actually find desirable in a watch. Automatic types on the other hand uses the wearer’s wrist movements to harness kinetic energy to power it. The installation of a rotor transfers energy to a mainspring which dispenses with the need to wind the mechanism.
There are many purists who will choose mechanical or automatic types over a quartz mechanism despite the latter being the most accurate. This is because of the culture surrounding its appeal and the extreme effort that goes into mechanical and automatic types before they are put on sale. Aside from the manufacture and assembly time, there is a rigorous testing process that goes into each and every piece. Quartz movements because of its reliability, ironically do not need the same attention to detail. It is this meticulousness however that watch collectors value.
This is something to take note of when finally deciding on a purchase for your man. Despite a quartz watch being more accurate and cheaper to maintain, it is probably the lack of drama that makes it less appealing. The mechanism is what ultimately separates a watch from a timepiece. A quartz movement ticks, while mechanical and automatic movements smoothly sweeps as the seconds go by. This seemingly trivial aspect interestingly differentiates what is to be considered elegant from the common.
Finding the right watch type
Now that we have established an appreciation for movements, it is time to talk about the five main genres of watches. What you will purchase must be aligned with your man’s style and use preferences. Digital running watches, tactical designs and other similarly situated pieces are of course excluded from this list. The discussion on luxury watches normally rules out anything electronic though quartz movements make the grade based on the brands that carry them. It is difficult to justify their asking price outside of that.
The first type is the dress watch. It is usually understated, with the use of Roman numerals on its dial and having a slim thickness. Dress watches should be made from a precious metal such as gold or platinum. It will likely have a leather bracelet though metal ones are also possible. There would be less functions that come with it aside from telling the time.
Next is the aviation watch. This was introduced way before electronic instruments were available. It usually comes with a wide array of functions to help with navigation. The face will be luminous, similar to its function to help a pilot see in the dark back in the day. It is more casual looking, with a longer watch straps to secure it around the cuff of a flight jacket.
The third type is the dive watch, now popularized by James Bond. It will have a functional uni-directional bezel that rotates counter-clockwise to help indicate the time spent underwater. The case will be made of non-corrosive material such as titanium or stainless steel. Its bracelet will likely be of the same metal as well, with an easy to read face. Dive watches should be water resistant at a minimum depth of 100 meters. Seiko dive watches are one of the best. There are timepieces however that easily go way beyond 1,000 meters.
Fourth is the driving watch, which also has celebrity links through Paul Newman and Steve McQueen. The face is wide in order to accommodate a chronograph. Its bracelet can come in either metal or leather. There will also be a tachymeter on the bezel and will likely have extra buttons on its side. These are bolder in appearance and can be suitable during formal or casual occasions.
Finally there is the fifth type, the minimalist watch. It usually incorporates Bauhaus design aspects and has a tendency to be powered by quartz movements. There are however other mechanical and automatic models that are available. This is the type of watch to get your man if he likes modernist looking timepieces.