When it comes to purchasing your first watch, for the everyday, uninformed person, it could be quite confusing. There are several things to consider before committing to swiping that plastic card or handing over your hard-earned cash in exchange for a watch. With there being an overwhelming number of brands to choose from and pieces ranging from thirty bucks to over thirty thousand bucks, it can be very easy to feel at a loss. My goal is to help narrow down the search and bring up some considerations when purchasing your first watch.

Set Your Price Point

While this is likely the most boring or hated part of shopping for anything, it is the most important and usually the deciding factor of what you ultimately end up buying. I advise setting a budget before you even start looking for anything.

So, how much is too much to spend on a watch? Well, that question can only be answered by you, but there are a few things to consider to help you figure out that magic number.

As we all know, watches are no longer the number one tool for telling time accurately, so it’s not like you need it for that purpose, necessarily. Are you wanting to buy something luxurious and investment worthy? Something that could be passed down to your next generation? Or are you looking for something that would be just a great fashion accessory?

If you are looking for something luxurious and of heirloom quality, then expect to spend well into the thousands at least. Depending on what brand you buy and what model the watch is, you could be easily be looking at $10,000+ for a single timepiece.

If you are looking for something that would be a great fashion piece to add to your wardrobe, you can find an excellent quality watch for less than a $1,000 easily.

My recommendation is to think about what you want to spend and then search for pieces that fall in that price range.

Also, in my opinion, buying cheap isn’t a good idea with watches. It would be smart to buy the best that you can afford for your designated price range. If you take care of your watch, it will last for years and years, even if it is a mid-range piece.

How Do You Move?

No, I don’t mean dancing. I mean what type of watch movement are you looking for? When it comes to watch movements, there are two main groups, Quartz and Mechanical.

Quartz movements are powered by a small battery and are typically chosen by watch enthusiasts for how extremely accurate and reliable they are. They are generally lower maintenance in comparison to their mechanical counterparts due to using fewer moving parts and a battery as the main source of power; they are also very durable due to this.

Mechanical movements are powered by a “Mainspring,” and must be wound to provide energy through the rest of the movement in order to get the watch to tick and tell time. Mechanical watches aren’t as precise as quartz movements, but we’re only talking by a few seconds on the year.

The main reasons why someone would choose a mechanical watch over a quartz watch is likely due to the appreciation of the watchmaking skill needed to create such a movement and that if well cared for, it will last you a lifetime and possibly your next in line.

Size Matters

When it comes to watches, size matters. When purchasing your first watch, you want to buy something that fits well on your wrist. You don’t want something that looks to small on your wrist, but you also don’t want something that is too big either.

Your watch should complement your outfit and not take attention from the overall package. Most men should start looking for sizes within 38mm to 44mm.

Anything below 38mm could start to look too small and dainty and anything over 44mm will likely look huge on your wrist. While these numbers are not for everyone, about 90 percent of men will fall in this range.

Get Fit

Getting a watch that fits well is just as important as the overall look and style of the watch. You don’t want a great looking piece that ends up looking cheap due to a poor fit. Testing your fit is as simple as putting your watch on and then giving your wrist a few shakes. If the watch is sliding around on your wrist, you need to adjust the fit until it doesn’t.

This is easier to achieve if you are using a leather strap or NATO strap since you can adjust it yourself. If you are using a bracelet, you will need to have a jeweler remove the links until you get that perfect fit.

What About Style?

The look of your watch can really change the feel of your overall outfit. When choosing a watch, especially your first, you want to stick with something classic, but versatile. Stay away from trendy or novelty pieces.

A metal bracelet is versatile in the sense that it works great with a suit as well as with a casual look on the weekend.

Leather straps are considered to be more formal and are typically used when you want to dress up an outfit. However, if you decide to go with a leather strap, a clean, brown strap would be more versatile than a black one.

As far as the color and design of the watch goes, aim for something stainless steel or white gold with a neutral color face, like a navy blue or white. Avoid watches that look super iced out or too trendy.

Don’t Make It Too Complicated

Watch complications are basically features that are added to the watch. Complications can be found in both mechanical or quartz watches and can offer a variety of functions in addition to telling you the time. My advice to those purchasing their first watch would be to think about what complications you need or want, if any.

Some popular and useful complications would be a simple day or date displays or a chronograph complication, which is essentially a stopwatch.

One thing to keep in mind with complications however, is that the more complications that the watch features, the more expensive it will likely be and the less durable it can be over time.

Remember, if this is your first watch, you’ll likely want something that won’t have to be serviced too frequently. My suggestion would be to keep it as simple as you can at first until you expand your collection with more complicated timepieces.

Purchasing your first watch can be somewhat daunting with how many choices and looks and brands you have to choose from out there. Hopefully this guide has been helpful in getting you to narrow down on some key things to consider before buying.

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8 Comments

Cynthia · May 4, 2020 at 7:22 PM

Thank you for this article as I miss watches. They are a complement to ones wardrobe as well as a piece of jewelry. Pocket and brooch watches are a good choice for heirlooms as they are pieces of art but aren’t worn on the wrist to conflict with exercise or “smart” watches. I hope they make a comeback!

    Jerry Strickland · May 5, 2020 at 6:42 PM

    Thanks for reading! With the way all of the old fashion trends are coming back, I wouldn’t be surprised to see pocket watches come back someday!

Dustin Johnson · May 4, 2020 at 7:51 PM

This is was a great article. I have been holding off on buying a Movado watch and now I have a good idea of which way to go on the decision. Thanks for the viewpoint.

    Jerry Strickland · May 5, 2020 at 6:43 PM

    Glad this was helpful! I personally like Movado brand watches a lot and own one myself. Hopefully this article will help you make a decision on what you decide to buy.

C.N. · May 4, 2020 at 8:02 PM

I really enjoyed reading this article! My last watch just broke, and I’m in the process of buying a new watch. I am definitely going to take all of your tips into consideration when making my next purchase-I want this watch to last much longer than my last one did. Haha I always say that a more expensive watch doesn’t necessarily mean a better watch; we should think about all of the pros and cons before swiping the card (or handing over the cash). I will make sure that this next watch is a perfect fit. God bless you!

    Jerry Strickland · May 5, 2020 at 6:45 PM

    Thanks for reading! I absolutely agree that just because you buy a super expensive watch doesn’t mean it’s the best option for you or the better watch for your needs, not that there’s anything wrong with being able to buy an expensive watch!

Jason · May 5, 2020 at 10:19 AM

Great article good use of words and the way it is written in general it kept me interested throughout and wanting to read more!
Very good, 🙂

    Jerry Strickland · May 5, 2020 at 6:46 PM

    Thanks and glad you and enjoyed reading! Hopefully you found it helpful!

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