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The Ultimate Guide To Luxury Watches | The Watch Hut

Published: 12-05-2017

A man looking at a watch on his wrist

Choosing to buy a luxury watch is a big step, and often a significant financial investment. Depending on the brand and type of luxury watch, you can buy something ranging from hundreds of pounds to hundreds of thousands of pounds. So, it's important to know what you're buying.

Watch movements: Explained

Pocket Watch

The movement mechanics are literally what make the watch tick, and the level of expertise and craftsmanship that goes into their manufacturing can vary with the price point.

Of course, with the rise of smart watches, some modern watches are electronic and forego classical movements, but many luxury watches still use these methods:

  • Quartz movement
    The most common form of movement across all watch types, as it's the most reliable form of movement at the lowest cost of manufacturing. Quartz materials are used throughout the mechanism, and are usually powered by a watch battery.
  • Mechanical movement
    Popular for many hundreds of years, mechanical movement uses the energy of a wound spring to power the watch, which means that it will work uninterrupted for years or decades.

    Alternatively, the automatic movement is powered by you, usually through winding the watch manually, which then keeps the watch in motion for a set period of time before the mechanism must be powered again.
  • Chronograph movement
    Popular among all types of watches, from budget to luxury, chronograph watches showcase more than just the time on its face. Most commonly, you may find a breakdown of hours and minutes, alongside a calendar, stopwatch or even a moon phase. You might even consider them the early forerunners for smart watches!

Exploring watch styles

Collection of clock faces

Style is one of the most important parts of buying a luxury watch. Due to the high cost of these timepieces, buyers usually want a timeless design that reflects their personal style.

Classic luxury watches were traditionally intended as pieces for men, so many of the classical styles tend to be masculine in design, but these days women and well catered for too.

  • Divers' watches

    Men's Alpina Extreme Diver

    These specialised watches are made to withstand water pressure without leaking, so they can be worn submerged in deep water. Despite being so specialised, the style is popular among watch lovers because of its bulky, eye-catching design, plus it's easy to read (because it's not always simple to see underwater) and can withstand wear and tear. A favourite luxury diver watch is the Alpina Extreme Diver.
  • Pilot watches

    Pilot watches are one of the most common designs, despite their niche history. In theory, a pilot watch should be used as a flying aide, and include specific features, but the style of these watches is has become more important to the average wearer over the years.

    As a minimum, a pilot watch will typically feature a large, open dial, at least one small sub-dial, an easy-to-read face, and a leather strap. There are many variations available, such as the modern Hamilton Pilot, or the simplistic and traditionally styled Alpina Startimer Pilot.
  • Dress watches

    Fredrique Constant Art Deco watch

    A dress watch is defined by its simple and elegant design, free from any additional features beyond basic timekeeping. These watches typically have metallic detailing in gold or silver, and a traditional dial that simply shows the minutes and hours.

    Dress watches were originally created for men, but in the modern luxury watch market there are a wide array of specially designed women's watches to choose from, such as the Fredrique Constant Art Deco watch.
  • Sports watches

    Sports watches can vary in features and styling, but they are typically the most masculine design on the luxury watch market. They may have a metal bracelet, and often feature a stopwatch and other sub-dials to allow for accurate time measurement. These watches can look bold and complex, but many luxury sports watches, such as the Maurice Lacroix Pontos watch, are sleek and smooth.

Everything else you need to consider

Two Diamond Gems

Style and movement are the most important parts of choosing a luxury watch, but they're not the only things to consider.

The name of the brand can have a huge influence on the price of the watch, whether it's a designer label such as Versace or Emporio Armani, or a dedicated watch manufacturer such as Citizen or Tissot.

Designer watches are more likely to fall under a fashion design, which can mean a wide range of colours, materials and styles are used to cater to consumers' broad tastes.

TISSOT Mechanical Watch

For those looking for a classic luxury watch, the place of origin is important. Switzerland has lead the watchmaking industry for hundreds of years, and continues to produce half of the world's timepieces. Some of the best-known watch brands hail from Switzerland, such as the classic brand Tissot, as well as modern affordable leaders like Swatch.

Citizen Watch

Japan and China are closely following Switzerland, with Japanese Citizen being one of the best known Asian brands. These luxury watches maintain traditional style but utilise modern technology.

Finally, you may want to consider the materials that are used on the watch. How you wear the watch, including the frequency, will dictate how wear-resistant the material needs to be. Precious jewels, such as diamonds, can often be found on women's luxury watches, and might increase in value over time if the watch is treated correctly.

Choosing a luxury watch calls for careful consideration. You should now have a good grasp of the basics of luxury watches, but look at our other helpful guides to learn more about specific watch types in greater detail.