Affordable Luxury Watches
Believe it or not there is no definition to the term “luxury watch” as the concept is really something which is subjective. To some people the idea of spending a few hundred pounds puts any timepiece purchase in the luxury segment. To other people that number goes up to a few thousand pounds or even into the tens of thousands. There are very few ceilings when it comes to what you may like to spend on a personal luxury. Still, there are realities when it comes to what most consumers can spend on a timepiece, so I felt it was a good idea to offer some advice about buying affordable luxury watches.
It is difficult to put a starting price point on a “nice watch” but I am going to say that luxury watches tend to start in the £700 and up range. For a fancier mechanical Swiss watch you’ll often need to spend a bit more. Interesting in hand craftsmanship and decoration? Well depending on the brand the number goes up from there. Further, and while this statement is open to debate, I am going to suggest that the vast majority of luxury watches contain mechanical versus quartz movements. Though this rule currently applies more to men’s watches than it goes women’s watches.
That isn’t to say that there aren’t a great many very high quality watches that contain Swiss quartz movements. There are of course, but when wanting to experience the more pure feeling of a luxury timepiece you really need something that is powered by a spring and not a battery.
Watch cases are produced by machines but the best ones are carefully finished and don’t have an “industrial” feel to them. The very best are polished by hand and given a lot of human TLC before going on to the wrist of a buyer. Consumers looking at entry level watches should carefully inspect the case finishing to ensure that the brushed or polished surfaces meet their expectations. At lower prices the best quality cases comes from brands who have the production volume to achieve an economy of scale for more expensive parts. Also, it is good to gravitate toward brands that primarily make watches versus brands who are primarily in the fashion world. At these prices you want to avoid paying a premium for a mere brand name label.
Dials are where most inexpensive watches screw up. Less expensive materials or more efficient processes can result in cheap looking watch faces and hands that are difficult to read and obnoxious to look at. Overly reflective surfaces and colors that blend into each other are common things to avoid. Any watch you buy should be a pleasure to look at and very easy to read at a glance. While not everyone has the ability to judge the minor details of a watch like myself, take the time to ask yourself the question of how easy the watch is to read. If you aren’t sure based on pictures on line make sure to test the watch yourself in person. Don’t get a watch just because you like the case, the secret wearing any watch frequently is in how it feels on the wrist and how easy it is to read.
A major element in a well-fitting watch is the bracelet or strap. The best entry-level luxury watches have smooth bracelets that feel pleasant when you run your fingers over them and don’t catch hair while on your wrist. Straps should be pliable and not overly still. Textures and stitching should also be attractive. Note that while most metal bracelets can last many years, straps worn regularly will need to be changed often depending on where you live and your body chemistry.
When looking at entry-level luxury watch brands there are an appealing amount of choices. Brands from the Swatch Group such as Longines are always a very good option because they offer many high value proposition choices with Swiss ETA mechanical movements. There are other brands to also look at such as Raymond Weil, Maurice Lacroix, Frederique Constant, Alpina, and Baume & Mercier.