Even in this age of all-digital-everything, nothing beats the timeless appeal of a beautiful watch. Just ask the world’s street style stars, who invariably have a statement timepiece glinting from the very wrist that’s holding up their iPhone.
And while you’re not going to be passing down your smart phone to future generations, a high quality watch is a true modern heirloom. It’s also a big investment – so you want to know exactly what you’re paying for, and why. Read on for our definitive guide to finding a watch to wear now, and treasure forever.
1/ Choose your material wisely
Stainless steel is the most common watch material, thanks largely to its affordability and go-with-everything good looks. “It’s also cost-effective over time, as it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to replace parts as time goes on,” says a spokesperson for Swiss watchmaker RADO. The only downside is its tendency to scratch with daily wear, but it can be polished to look good as new.
A luxe upgrade on traditional stainless steel is high-tech ceramic. “It’s the perfect material for a forever watch as it’s approximately five times harder than stainless steel, which makes it highly scratch-resistant,” says the spokesperson. In fact, only very few materials can scratch high-tech ceramic – diamonds being one of them.
Also be wary of gold-plated watches. “We don’t suggest gold-plated for a long-term piece as it’ll simply wear off – and you can’t polish it or the gold will come off."
2/ Find a timeless design
It pays to forget trends and tap into your true personal style when choosing any investment piece, watches included. Many watches allow you to switch up the band so you can experiment with multiple looks (for instance, chunky metal one day and buttery leather the next).
A watch face is the biggest design element to consider, with round faces being the most traditional. “Square is also increasingly common,” notes the Rado spokesperson.
The next question is, sporty or sophisticated? We love the new RADO HyperChrome Captain Cook watch, which melds the best of both. An elegant mix of pure white high-tech ceramic and stainless steel, studded with diamonds around the dial, it’s the epitome of sports luxe.
3/ Consider your watch’s movement
Broadly speaking, there are two types of movement (industry speak for what powers your watch): quartz, which basically means battery-powered, and automatic.
“Quartz watches are the most cost-effective as there’s few moving parts.". Simply replace the battery when it runs out.
Automatic watches, on the other hand, have more complex internal mechanics as kinetic energy powers the movement. They need servicing every five years, but there’s something special about owning one and many people prefer it.
4/ Prioritise comfort as well as design
You can have the most beautiful watch in the world, but if it’s a pain to wear, chances are it will be left to gather dust in a drawer.
Consider the weight of each piece you try on and ensure the fit is just right. “High-tech ceramic is lighter than stainless steel by approximately 25 per cent, so it’s not a burden on the wrist." It is also hypoallergenic and adapts to your body temperature more quickly than ice-cold metal.
5/ Ask about the watch glass
When we think watch materials, we tend to think only of the bezel and band – but the glass protecting the watch dial is just as important. Low-quality watches use plastic or standard glass, which can crack, scratch and break easily. Look for pieces with Sapphire Crystal glass faces instead – as one of the hardest materials in the world, it’s the ideal material for an investment piece.
Image credit: Worry About It Later blog
BRUNCH: Ginger & Smart Eden Wrap dress, Chelsea de Luca lounge pants, Bally shoes, Mimco bag, Sunglasses Elizabeth and James
OFF-DUTY: Manning Cartell jacket, Karen Walker T shirt, P.E. Nation Deuce panel track pants, Nine by Savannah Miller suede bag, Paul Smith trainers, Sunglasses Prada
EVENING: Alice McCall Dress, Christian Louboutin shoes, Bottega Veneta clutch, Earrings Pierre Winter from Pierre Winter Fine Jewels.
WORK: Manning Cartell coat, Paul Smith blouse and skirt Christian Louboutin shoes, Bally handbag, Sunglasses Elizabeth and James