You may be wondering what you’re paying for if you buy a luxury watch for thousands of pounds, rather than a £30 watch in Argos.
To an extent you are paying for a brand name and reputation, but there are also several signs of quality and workmanship which most luxury watches display.
It’s worth saying that the best luxury watches won’t necessarily have all 10 of these features, and I’m sure there are others that I’ve missed, but I’ve attempted to summarise the general opinions from lots of watch buying guides:
An automatic movement rather than quartz
There are three main types of watch ‘movement’ (the mechanism that makes it work). The traditional – and most expensive option – is a mechanical watch which doesn’t use batteries.
Most mechanical watches in the luxury watch market are ‘automatic’ which means they don’t need winding up thanks to a clever spring (as opposed to a ‘manual’ mechanical watch which needs winding up regularly).
The cheaper alternative is a quartz watch, which uses batteries and electrical wizardry to keep time. You will still find quartz movements in some good quality luxury watches, but the general rule is that the most expensive watches are mechanical. Quartz is very accurate, it’s just not just not as classy. Quartz watches ‘tick’ from second to second, whereas mechanical watches move smoothly.
Some of the best watch brands make their own movements ‘in-house’ which is seen as a badge of honour and offer and an extra level of exclusivity. A bit like when Kelloggs say ‘we don’t make cereal for anyone else…’.