A watch can be a great investment, but who wants to spend thousands of dollars on one when you can purchase something of equal quality for under $200.
I am going to help you out by highlighting the key features to look out for when purchasing your next Timepiece.
First off, I want to debunk the myth that a watch costing $1000+ is higher quality than its $200 equivalent.
*Of course if you are purchasing a Rolex / AP / Hublot etc, then for sure, they are going to be more expensive, (and rightly so).
This post is more directed at Brands that charge you $700 or $1000+ for a watch. The type that you see when you walk into a run of the mill jewelers.
These brands are marking up their prices to around 400% simply to create the illusion that they are higher quality.
It is something that they have got away with for a long time, but educated consumers are beginning to catch on. Now you can join the educated and never pay the ridiculous markup again.
So let us get into it. What does a high-quality watch consist of?
We can group the features into four sections; Inner Components, Case Glass and Pressure Rating.
1) Inner Components (Mechanism)
The inner components of a watch are simply the mechanism used to power the Timepiece and keep the time. They can be grouped into three types; Mechanical, Quartz, and Automatic.
A Mechanical Watch requires the wearer to manually wind the Timepiece up to generate energy and power the watch.
An Automatic Watch uses the everyday motion of your wrist to collect energy and power the piece and Quartz uses a crystal and battery to keep the time.
Mechanical and Automatic Timepieces are held in high regard due to their complex internal components, however, when it comes to accuracy of timekeeping, a Quartz timepiece trumps both.
When looking for a reliable timepiece under $200, you really can't go wrong with Miyota Movement from Japan or a Swiss Quartz movement.
Buy a timepiece with a Miyota GM20 Movement.
2 ) The Case.
The Case is often where companies will try and cheap out to save money, so it is important to ask what it is made of.
Often brands will construct a lower quality Alloy case, put a Stainless Steel back plate on the watch and then try to pass it off as ‘Stainless Steel’.
Be sure that the FULL CASE is Stainless to protect the inner components.
It is worth noting that there are also different grades of Stainless. You want to look for Grade 316L. ‘316’ Stainless steel is Surgical, Pharmaceutical and Food Grade. The ‘L’ tag on the end means Low Carbon, and I don’t need to tell you the benefits of that now, do I?
3) The Glass.
When choosing a Timepiece, the glass can often be overlooked.
The cheap option is to use a mineral glass, which is soft and scratches easily. You won't notice too much when the watch is brand new, but give it a few months and you will begin to find scratches on it.
Instead, find a watch that uses Sapphire Crystal.
Sapphire is the second hardest crystal to Diamond and is incredibly scratch resistant. Purchasing a Timepiece with Sapphire Crystal will help keep the Timepiece looking new for a long time, instead of just a few months with Mineral Glass.
Check out Sapphire Crystal Timepieces Here.
4) The Pressure Rating.
Timepieces are pressurized to ensure no dust or nasty things get into the components and mess with the timekeeping. The standard rating is 3ATM or 3 Atmospheres. This means that the pressure of the timepiece is secured to 3x that of our atmosphere. 3x sounds like a lot, but in reality, it is not hard to breach. (3ATM Timepieces are advised to be taken off before you wash your hands, as the running water may exceed the rating).
You don’t want to have to take your watch off every time you wash your hands or get near water. I recommend finding a Timepiece that is 5ATM or above, depending on what you intend to use the watch for.
5ATM is perfect for everyday use, you can fall into the water with your watch on and it remains air tight.
10ATM + is perfect for recreational activities such as diving etc, but you will struggle to find a 10ATM Timepiece under $200.
Another quick tip to look for when purchasing a watch is to make sure that is has a quality strap.
It could be leather or metal, but the same rule as above applies, Genuine Leather or High-quality Stainless (316L) to make sure it doesn't fall apart on your wrist.
I hope you have learned a few things for the next time you purchase a watch and remember that you don’t have to pay $1000 to get something of high quality.
Often the shop assistant will try and pitch you on the stones or shiny colors to take away from the fact that they are selling it way over priced.
If you are in the market for a Timepiece under $200, I have created a range that features all the above qualities, and are all below $140USD.
I wanted to show you that a quality timepiece doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg!
We offer Free International Shipping and A 24 Month Warranty on all our Timepieces.
You can Check them out HERE.
Happy Watch Buying!
Watch Lover and Founder of Virtas