What to look for when shopping for a luxury watch

There comes a time in a man’s life when he decides to invest in a luxury timepiece as a celebration of his accomplishments. This rite of passage is often a memorable occasion and necessitates some smart shopping and critical thinking to choose the timepiece that’s right for his lifestyle and fashion sense.

While some brand names stand out when typing luxury watches, men's luxury watches, luxury watches for men into a search bar, there’s more to it than shopping by name. Here’s what to look for when buying a luxury watch.


High-quality movements are what set luxury watches apart from the competition. The movement is the inner working of the watch, the core components that allow it to keep time. Most luxury watches use mechanical movements rather than the commonly used (and more affordable) quartz style watches. This is why you’ll often see luxury watches with visible inner workings.

The best luxury watches have movements that are crafted by hand, in-house rather than outsourced. This is why Rolex owns Tudor brand luxury watches as well: the process of creating movements in-house was so arduous that Rolex couldn’t keep up with demand. Rather than sacrificing a piece of their market share, they acquired Tudor watches to expand their reach in the luxury watch market without sacrificing the Rolex process.

While there are exceptions, the best movements are Swiss Made, meaning they’re crafted, inspected, and put together within Swiss borders. Other brands, such as Seiko, follow the same craftsmanship protocols as the Swiss experts, but do so in a separate location. If budget is an issue, consider a watch without the Swiss Made stamp.

The Crystal Used

The crystal of a watch is the window through which you observe the time. In essence, it’s the hard, glass-like part of the face of your watch. What many new watch buyers aren’t aware of, is that different materials are often used for this enclosure. In cheap watches, you generally find glass or plexiglass, which can get scuffed up or break over time. Mineral glass is of higher quality but still doesn’t reach the durability and clarity of sapphire crystal.

Many brands of luxury watches use sapphire crystal in their timepieces. If the sapphire crystal is used, you can expect to see a corresponding jump in price. Even so, there are numerous variations in the sapphire crystal that can impact the value of the watch further. Is the crystal natural or synthetic? What’s the thickness? Is it flat or rounded? Does it have any special features? These are important considerations when purchasing a luxury timepiece.

Warranty and Care

Taking care of your watch will improve its lifespan. However, despite your best efforts, things can happen that impact the effectiveness of your watch. That’s why it’s important to keep all of your paperwork, take steps to care for your watch and take a look at what your warranty covers. Your luxury timepiece is, after all, a machine, and sometimes a machine needs to be fixed by the experts.

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Most luxury watchmakers are confident enough in their creation to offer a respectable guarantee for your money. If you buy the piece second-hand or through a questionable sales channel, you may find that this is not the case. Make sure you are purchasing your watch from a reliable retailer or supplier.

Materials Used

Different watches use different materials, and what works for you may not work for others. For example, Hublot watches use rubber straps rather than metal. This is because their luxury watches are meant for those who are athletic and adventurous, and want comfort alongside quality with their timepiece. As these watches are often used in sporting events-- Hublot was an official sponsor at the last FIFA World Cup -- the varied material makes sense.

Many men will purchase a luxury watch with the idea of what looks best in mind. They have an image of an entirely metal piece, with a metal band and enclosure. The Tudor watch, with its fabric straps, doesn’t appeal. For others, comfort is as important as the name brand, especially considering so much money is being invested in this timepiece. This is ultimately a personal choice, with none being better than the other.

There are other considerations when it comes to materials used as well. For example, do you want a gold watch or a platinum one? Are you content with titanium? Are there any exotic materials or precious stones incorporated into the piece? The materials use directly correlate with the price of your watch, so pay attention.

Budget and Brand Name

As with anything, you may end up paying more for a brand name than for the watch itself. This is an important consideration when setting your budget. There are also significant variances in price within the brands themselves. If you’re getting a limited edition Cartier, you can expect to pay thousands of dollars more than you would for a more readily available watch of the same name.

Do your research before investing in a luxury timepiece, and remember to care for your watch according to the standards set out in the user manual from the manufacturer. There’s a style of watch for everyone. What will yours be?