5 minutes

How to find the perfect (first) wristwatch

By Robert-Jan Broer
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean
Omega Seamaster Planet Ocean

It might seem like an easy task to those who are not that much into watches. You go to a jeweler, get information from the sales person, make a decision and pay at the counter. However, we know better than that. You know better than that. It is a delicate question, and it might need some time to get answers. We will guide you through the process step-by-step in this series of articles on ‘How to find the perfect wristwatch’ here on Chrono24.

Before we start with our step-by-step approach to finding that perfect watch, we would like to introduce our own three Golden Rules to you:

1. Educate yourself.

Reading this article is a good first step! Try to learn as much as possible on the subject and make sure you spend that hefty chunk of change wisely. Read about your favorite brands and models and visit watch events if you can. How do you know if a watch is the perfect one for you? Especially if it is your first watch (and yes, many will probably follow if the passion for watches grows on you after you’ve made that first great purchase), you have to make the right decision, as it probably will be a significant purchase. You will wear this fine timepiece for a long time, and you want to get it right the first time.

2. Decide on your budget wisely.

Keep in mind that this is your perfect first watch, the watch that should last forever and fulfills all your horological wishes. This could mean that you (probably) spend more than you initially planned, but it is probably more than worth it. You don’t want to have regrets later on (“If only I had…”).

IWC Portuguese Chronograph 3714
IWC Portuguese Chronograph 3714Image: Auctionata

3. Buy what YOU like.

Don’t listen to what anyone else wants you to buy. They should buy it. You will most likely wear the watch on a daily basis for years to come so you should be really in love with the watch. Well, in order to help you, we have made a sort of checklist that we will introduce in this article and which we will guide you through step-by-step in the forth-coming articles here on the Chrono24 Magazine. This first article introduces you roughly to what we think are the most important aspects of buying that first fine timepiece. Later on in separate articles we will go into more detail about each of the steps below.

A. Type of Watch – Which watch fits your personal style in the best possible way?

If you are a introverted person who is suited up every day, loves to read poetry, listens to Mahler symphonies and drives a Toyota Avensis for example, then a full gold Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore with a diamond studded bezel might not be the best choice. It might be a good idea to have a good understanding of all the different watch types (diver’s watch, dress watch, pilot’s watch, military watch, etc.) and styles (gold, steel, rectangular, round, octagonal, etc.) available and to see which one fits your lifestyle.

B. Price Category – Perhaps the most important thing is your budget. How much do you want to spend?

If you are on a quest for that perfect mechanical watch, there is a certain minimum budget you will need. However, great taste and a lot of money is seldom a good combination, so do not worry; we will show you some great possibilities in each and every price category. We will show you why a good watch comes at a certain price and how you can still find a good watch for a decent amount of money. Prepare your Excel sheet!

C. Brands – Rolex. What? Rolex! No, seriously, there are more brands besides this (great) brand from Geneva.

Do a bit of research to determine which brand reflects what you are about in your daily life and will compliment the (other) finer things you appreciate in life. A watch brand needs to fit you. We will show you the most important brands out there and see how they fit into your life, what they are known for and what they stand for. We will also help you find out about smaller and less known brands you can explore for yourself. If you are into construction work, weigh over 100 kg and like to work on your classic Mustang during the weekends, that Piaget Altiplano might not be a good idea.

D. Value – Although you are not planning to sell your watch anytime soon, it still feels nice to know that it at least doesn’t depreciate at the speed of your brand new Alfa Romeo.

Although this is a bit of a difficult topic – as it might require some knowledge of watches – we will try to explain how to deal with the market value of a watch. In the end, we are Chrono24, so we know the trends in the market.

E. Movements – Perhaps this should be higher up on the list. We already know you want a mechanical watch, but what do you need to know about it and what is all this talk about ‘finish’?

The heart – or soul – of every timepiece. Some brands use third-party movements and put little effort in making it nicer than it already is, while for other brands creating a mechanical movement entirely in-house with the highest level of hand-finish is the ultimate goal. Do you care? Should you care? We will tell you.

Omega Co-Axial Movement
Omega Co-Axial MovementImage: FratelloWatches

F. Functions and complications – For non-watch people it is a bit strange to talk about complications, but trust us, there is no better word to describe some of the features and functionalities of a mechanical wrist watch.

You probably only need an hour, minute and second hand. Perhaps a date or even a day indicator. Who needs a chronograph, a minute repeater or even the entire constellation of the earth, moon and sun on their arms? This topic will touch on the most common complications and functions one can have in a wristwatch and on why they might come in handy or why it is so extremely cool to have them in your watch.

G. Accuracy – Although there is no mechanical watch as precise as a radio-controlled digital watch, a lot of effort is being put into developing and producing accurate mechanical watches.

What are the challenges a watch brand faces with regard to creating an accurate wristwatch? What kind of deviation is acceptable and according to what norms? How does this relate to the ‘movement’ part and the finish of the movement or even the complications or functionality of a movement? This final item on the checklist will give you some valuable insights into the accuracy of your perfect watch.

What do you think about this article?

About the Author

Robert-Jan Broer

Robert-Jan, founder of Fratello Magazine, has been writing about watches since 2004. However, his passion for watches dates back much further. In fact, he sold his …

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