Brand: Watch companies intend to produce styles that build recognition in the industry. Their goal is to build brand loyalty and retain customers. So the make and model of a given timepiece is often only as good as the name behind it. Watches are made to be showcased, to stand out. That’s how they catch you. Even brands that offer affordable pieces want you to wear them with pride. Provenance matters a lot, because you’re not just buying a simple accessory, but the history, lore, and reputation that a nickname instantly bestows.
Design: Wristwatches today come in all shapes and sizes. There are digital models with square cases, dress watches with sunray dials, tool watches designed for things like diving and flying, and rugged tactical watches prepared to fight Predators. All are worthy, but it’s important to pick the ones that match your personality and lifestyle.
Movement: The mechanism that powers a watch should not be taken lightly. In fact, the best companies focus heavily on improving the movement of their timepieces, innovating and continually improving the engine, the function that makes a watch a look. Today, there are two standard types: mechanical and quartz. The latter is battery powered and is the most common and affordable option. Above that is the mechanical watch, which is less precise but revered for its history, the expertise associated with it, and the sheer human innovation that keeps getting better every year. You can choose a hand-wound mechanical watch, which recharges by winding the crown every couple of days, or an automatic watch, which uses the movements of your body to power the movement. As long as you wear it, you don’t need to wind it up. If you take it off, most have a 40-80 hour power reserve. After that, you’ll need to get moving to get it going again.
Sustainability: You want your watch to be able to withstand whatever obstacles come your way. The best options will feature high water resistance (up to 100 meters is fine, but 200 or more is silver), and crystal as close to scratching as possible, sapphire crystal being the strongest. Also look for styles in durable leather, canvas and metals. Gold is beautiful, but stainless steel – the highest grade is designated “316L” – is much tougher. You can also opt for metals like titanium (lighter and stronger, but more scratch-prone) or ceramic (tough as nails and essentially scratch-proof, but expensive), if the standard options don’t make it for you.