What to look for in a watch

What to Look for in a Quality Affordable Watch

Here at Luco Charles we pride ourselves on two things. The first of these is the undoubted excellence of the watches we create. Take a look at any part of our range and you’ll see a combination of luxury, taste, elegance and minimalist style, all brought together in a package which is designed to weather the passing of the years and the vagaries of fashion.

The other thing we don’t mind boasting about is the value of the watches we offer. As anyone with an interest in traditional watches will attest, it’s possible to spend absolutely enormous amounts of money on a single watch. The kind of figures which people would usually think of when purchasing a car or even a house can be spent on a particularly exclusive watch, and for too long this meant that genuine quality remained out of the reach of most people.

For many years the choice lay between budget watches which would get the job done for a while but would have to be replaced regularly, and the afore-mentioned prestige items which tended to require a lottery win or some other form of independent wealth to even contemplate buying. The gap between these two extremes is now being bridged, however, allowing people with what might be termed a ‘reasonable’ amount of money to treat themselves or a loved one to a watch which meets all the hallmarks of a quality timepiece.

As with most purchasing decisions, a consumer who is new to the market place can find themselves bombarded by all kinds of marketing and hype designed to push or pull them in one direction or the other. The key to making the right decision, and getting the best possible watch for the available budget lies in making sure you know exactly what to look out for. This covers everything from the appearance of the face of the watch to the fabric of the strap and the details of the workings, and the first tip – one which should make every other part of the process that much easier – is to deal with the right watchmaker.

What constitutes the ‘right’ watchmaker? It should start with their commitment to delivering excellence, and the time which they’ve spent honing their offer. They should also have something of a signature style when it comes to their watches. Some variety is to be welcomed, of course, but the basic template around which their watches are designed should signal a certain degree of refinement, in all senses of the word. A quality watch is one in which all superfluous details have been designed and engineered away, and the best watchmakers base their range upon variations of timeless and minimalist elegance. In simple terms, you should be able to identify the work of a quality watchmaker as soon as you see the watch in question.

Component Parts

The hallmarks of quality, as well as being discernible in the ethos of the manufacture, can be identified in several of the component parts of each watch. The first of these is the movement of the watch, the movement being the mechanical workings which actually keep the watch running. In many modern watches the movements have been mass manufactured in China. Whilst this will guarantee a bargain price it often means that compromises have been made in terms of quality. Movements which have been engineered in places such as Japan, on the other hand, guarantee a consistency which will keep the watch running accurately long after cheaper options have lost time or stopped altogether. Luco Charles commits fully to the standards of the Japanese movement and sit among the elite mechanical watches.

The next aspect to consider is the materials used in the manufacture of the watch. Whilst solid gold, silver or platinum may well be out of the reach of most consumers, it doesn’t mean that compromises have to be made. Watchmakers keen on cutting corners will utilise a mix of alloys and cheaper metals which will affect the appearance and durability of the watch. A watch which is crafted from the likes of stainless steel, on the other hand, will keep its good looks no matter how long you wear it for. Single unified metals of this kind are less likely to wear or tarnish through the years, and also make upkeep and cleaning of the watch a simpler process.

The same principles apply when considering what the strap of the watch is made of. Cheaper or artificial leather will crack and mark much too quickly, whilst the best quality leather used by Luco Charles may well age slightly over the years, it will be the kind of ageing which merely adds to the allure of the watch as a family heirloom as well as a practical timepiece. As a side issue, it should be possible to replace the strap of the watch quickly and easily, meaning that the wear and tear of the strap keeps pace with that of the body and movement.

Another aspect to look for is a degree of simplicity. Whilst it’s possible to buy watches with multiple features, ask yourself if a chronograph or stop watch feature is what you really want to be spending your money on. When affordability is an issue, you want to be certain that every penny spent on the watch has been devoted to making the basic, most important aspects of the watch as high quality as possible. As an added bonus, simplicity of this kind will also result in a watch which looks like a quality item, as well as lasting like one.

In some ways, the formula for affordable quality is relatively simple: what is the watch made of, where was it made and who put it together? Find a watch which offers the right answers to these questions whilst fitting into your budget, and the chances are that you’ll have found the affordable, quality timepiece you’ve been looking for. And the good news is that you’ll probably recognise it as soon as you see it.

  • Japanese movement is regarded as one of the best due to consistency
  • Genuine leather straps, cheaper options include plastic or faux leather, genuine leather lasts longer
  • Stainless steel, the higher the percentage the better. Cheap watches use a lot of alloy mixing nickel and cadmium
  • Water resistant, the resistance will be done to the quality of the assembly process and components.
  • Interchangeable straps, having a strap that can be changed can mean a different look at small additional cost
  • Warranty, if a company is confident in their product they will offer a 12 months manufacturers warranty