Watches Buying Guide

Sick of telling people that the time is half-past a freckle? Get a watch! You can get a classic wristwatch, put one in your pocket, or even hang one around your neck. You can cloak yourself in diamonds, plate your wrist in gold, wear your hipness on your sleeve, or be the ultimate in functionality. Women's watches are generally demure and sleek while men's are usually bigger. Unless you're a particularly dainty man or robust woman, these labels will apply.

Now, what is your watch for? Hopefully it'll tell time reliably. Will it be many things? A stopwatch? A calculator? A fashion statement? A piece of history? An aid for the blind?  Read on to find exactly what you are looking for!

What to Consider

* '''Price''':  Your watch purchase can run from $10 to more than $10,000.
* '''Quality''':  The reliability of its time-keeping and its durability determine how well it can perform its primary function. Does it correctly tell you what time it is? Read on to learn about the difference between battery-powered quartz watches and mechanical watches.
* '''Fashion''':  Does it go with your personal style? Consult our Clothing and Accessories pages for additional help in looking your best.
* '''Function:  '''If you want to swim with it, make sure it goes under water. If you want to run with it, make sure it can time your laps.

Watch Types

* '''Battery Powered Quartz''':  A battery-powered quartz watch is very common these days. It offers the convenience of a battery-operated system, meaning no winding, plus accuracy and stability. Unlike a mechanical watch that can lose up to several minutes a month, a battery-powered quartz watch will only lose a few seconds. Do remember, though, that you will need to change the battery every few years.

* '''Mechanical Watches''':  Mechanical watches are the most traditional style and require winding. Because the main spring needs to be wound to move the gears, and because it is slower than a quartz watch, it can cause you to "lose" time over a month or so. Plus, if you are a little forgetful sometimes, or if you don't wear the watch everyday, you will not only have to wind it, but you will also have to reset it often.
** '''Automatic Mechanical Watch: '''An automatic mechanical watch, also known as self-winding watch, is perfect for anyone who wears a watch every day. Your movements will help keep the watch going, so you won't have to think about winding it. Some even feature a transparent face plate that allows you to see the gears underneath.
** '''Manual Mechanical Watch''': The manual mechanical watches need winding every day. These are perfect for when you only want to wear the watch once in awhile.

* '''Binary Watches''':  Binary watches are a relatively new style and are becoming increasingly popular. They use LED lights to display the time in binary form. Some of the "older" watches have 10 LED lights, but many of the newer watches have 72+ LED lights! In the simpler models, the lights are used to represent the numbers of the binary sequence (1, 2, 4, 8, 16, 32). There is usually a row or column for hours and a row or column for minutes (although some of the more complex binary watches may even have a row or column for seconds). To find out what hour it is, one would add up the values of the lights illuminated. The minutes would be calculated in the same fashion; add up all the numerical values of the illuminated lights according to the binary sequence.

Watch Styles

The Wristband

The next important step is determining what type of material you want for the watch band. While this consideration has a lot to do with style and personal taste, it also contributes to the durability of the watch. Remember that most bands are interchangeable, so if you buy a watch with a band you don't like, you can always swap it out for another one. Check out these major styles.

The Casing

'''Scratch Resistance'''
* Acrylic gives little resistance.
* Mineral crystal has average protection.
* Sapphire crystal will protect your watch better than any other casing.

'''Water Resistance'''
* Any watch that claims to be water resistant up to 30 meters means that it is really only weather-resistant. It should not be worn in the shower or pool, and definitely not for diving.
* Water-tested watches offer a bit more waterproofing technology. Something measured up to 50 meters is fine to get wet in the shower, but it shouldn't be used for extended periods of time in the water. Up to 100 meters can be used for snorkeling and swimming. Water-tested up to 200 meters is the highest rating.
* Diver's watches either up to 150 or 200 meters are fine for Scuba diving at any depth.

Search by Price and Make

There are many watches available in all price ranges by a large number of manufacturers. Below you will find some of the major brands as well as some predefined price searches. Remember, some typically big name watches that you would expect to be very pricey sometimes come in less expensive models. Likewise, typically less expensive brands also come in dressier, more expensive versions as well

Related Guides

Take a look at some of our other buying guides for even more inspiration.
* Cleaning Your Jewelry
* Gift Guides for All Occasions
* How to Buy Jewelry Online
* Men's Jewelry
* Women's Jewelry

International Resources

For this resource in your home country, please see:
! FR: Montres et Horlogerie

DE: Uhren

UK: Watches

AU: Watches

ES: Relojes de pulsera

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