Unless you or your family history are in the jewelry business, it can be tough to differentiate a great watch from a cheap imitation or knockoff. Worse, there are actually respected and certified brands that do not sell good watches. After all, price is not always an indicator of quality. Simply dropping hundreds of dollars for something that sounds Swiss will not guarantee that you are taking home a great product.
Watches might seem outdated, as timepieces are on phones, walls, electronic ticker signs, televisions, and so much more. However, the classic beauty of a watch–a miracle of engineering that dates back centuries and remains a symbol of class, sophistication, and maturity–cannot be forgotten. Watches are as popular as ever, which is why it is as important as ever to be able to distinguish quality from average or poor products. While some names in watch design and manufacturing, like Tag Heuer, can always be trusted, you can at least enjoy the discerning and choosy demeanor of your shopping experience. Here are 4 clear signs of quality watches.
1. A Respectable Weight
A heavy watch is a reliable watch that is surely made with dense, high-quality materials. Essentially, a heavy watch feels good in your hands. The minute pieces and machinery of which a watch is comprised should add up to a fair amount of weight. Of course, it will never weigh you down, but it should feel solid and tough.
2. The Brand
If you are using a quality watch as an investment or a potential family heirloom, then you should know one fact that will always be true of watches, if not all pieces of fashion: a good name equals great value. While ordinary watches lose their value over time, watches with a great brand name will actually appreciate in value as they graciously age. Again, many of these brands are respected for a reason. They have earned their place on the top of the watch industry. Of course, the name of a watch is just one gear in the machine. There is more to it than just that.
3. The Sweep
If you have ever heard anyone mention the “sweep” of a watch as a sign of its quality–something like the legs in a red wine or the horsepower of a sports car–you might have wondered what this means. The sweep of a watch is its second hand’s ability to glide, rather than tick. Believe it or not, the ticking sound associated with many watches or stopwatches–imagine the theme to 60 Minutes–is actually a sign of average quality at best. A finely-constructed watch will tick several times a second so that the audible result will be a sweeping sound.
4. Its Accuracy
A watch should be right on time. If this is not obvious, nothing is. A good watch will rely on gears and springs–if not a delicate, cut crystal like quartz, hence the quality of quartz watches–to keep accurate time. The Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, an organization that rigorously tests the accuracy of watches, has found that even after several decades of use, a great watch will remain within 10 seconds of exact time. If being off by 10 seconds sounds like the mark of a bad watch, then consider just how difficult it is for a piece of machinery to stay close to exact time with many years of repetitive, precise, and complex functions. They are bound to become a few seconds off as time skips ahead. A poor-quality watch, meanwhile, can fall behind or tread ahead by several hours.
Remember the signs of great watches above and you will be an educated and prepared watch shopper. When you investigate a Tag Heuer or other watch of brilliant quality, you will find that all of the above characteristics are present. Needless to say, these great watches will stand the test of time.