The Choice Is Yours

Luxury watches are expensive things, there’s no way around it. But every penny is worth it. Fine watchmaking really is a case of getting what you pay for. Not only is the way a mechanical watch is manufactured extraordinarily labour-intensive, demanding a level of craftsmanship seldom found beyond the valleys of the Swiss Jura Mountains, but just a little TLC will mean your wristwatch will tick for ever, potentially accrue in value, even. But what sort of design, heritage or make-up speaks to you, and what does it say about you? Why do watch nerds get so animated when discussing quartz versus automatic, and should you care, too? And what on Earth is a tourbillon? Read on… Check these rolex replica models.

01. Consider The Movement

If you’re showing off your new watch, the first thing any watch snob will do, instead of admiring the dial, is to turn it over. To pass muster, a “proper” watch will be powered by a mechanical movement, and they’ll know because it will usually be displayed through a clear case back.

A mechanical movement is a beguiling thing to behold and listen to, ticking away at 28,800 vibrations per hour. Its hundred-odd tiny parts are all machined laboriously and precisely from steel or brass, polished to varying degrees of shimmer and shine, then hand-assembled by one of the world’s most skilled workforces in light-drenched mountain-top ateliers.

But such precise micro-engineering comes at a price. If you can’t afford it, or simply don’t care for mechanics, have no fear. There’s no shame in a battery-powered quartz movement, despite what those snobs tell you. Quartz will only lose a minute a year and will never need to be wound up (until the battery runs out).

02. Set Your Budget

How much to spend and what will that get you? Like holidays or property, that age-old adage applies to wristwatches, too. Spend as much as you can afford. Whatever that figure is, rest assured, you will always get your money’s worth.

£500-£1,500

The entry-level purchase: the watch world is not quite as elitist as you may think. Just a few hundred pounds (or the equivalent) will get you a decent piece of wristwear, with all the aftersales support you’d expect from a watch 10 times the price. What’s more, this sector is increasingly populated by the big fashion brands, which means the designs are executed with a flair that’s rare in the higher echelons. Swiss-made automatic movements are rare at this price point, but there are a couple of marvellous brands that offer them for less than £1,000 (or just over) – look to Oris and Junghans if only mechanicals will do.

£1,500-£5,000

Your first proper watch: this is the budget bracket you should be considering with your first company bonus, but this is also where it can get overwhelming. So many of Swiss watchmaking’s enduring classics fall into this category, and you’ll never go wrong purchasing one, whether it’s a Bell & Ross BR 01 or a Jaeger-LeCoultre Master Control Date Automatic.

£5,000 and above

The beginning of the collection: above £5,000, you’re venturing into “manufacture” status, meaning brands that craft most of their components in house, for movements and case designs exclusive to them, with exacting hand-polish applied to the tiniest part as icing on the cake. Think Piaget, Jaeger-LeCoultre or IWC Schaffhausen.

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