5 Signs of a Quality Watch

by Brett & Kate McKay on December 23, 2009 · 142 comments

in Accessories, Dress & Grooming

Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Xiaoli Li. Mr. Li is a contributing editor at DefinitiveTouch.com and TheShoeBuff.com. Extensively experienced in writing for broadcast and print, Xiaoli is a graduate of the University of Toronto, with majors in Drama and English.

My father and I never had a great relationship. He was gone a lot for work, for extended family, for a variety of reasons that don’t really matter. Conversations were distant and typically stilted. He hoped I would follow him into finance, so when I went for a Humanities degree, the gap between only us grew larger.

It was my Junior year at University, just before classes started, and it was unseasonably warm for September. Mom was back in the old country, and dad and I were coming home from dinner. He pulled the car into the Hart House parking lot. Putting the car into neutral, he told me there was something for me in the glove compartment. He said something about the distance between us and about about me growing up and how I was expected to take responsibility now as a man.

I reached inside the glove compartment and picked up a cold, hefty piece of metal. It was my late grandfather’s Rolex Speed King.

The Wristwatch

If you want to be academic about it, the watch is something of an engineering marvel. Watches have hundreds of minuscule parts, meticulously assembled by artisans who can trace their craft back to the watchmakers under Elizabeth, Peter, and Napoleon. Before the Great War, these artisans were focused on making pocket watches, a true gentleman’s accessory. But during the First World War, soldiers found that the small, easy to maintain wristwatches were an asset in the wet trenches. When the war ended, young well-dressed men wanted to emulate the gallant heroes of the war, and wristwatches became a must-have.

Today, however, watches are often neglected, and with the proliferation of cell phones, considered  an outdated novelty to some.  But a good watch is so much more than a timepiece – it’s an accessory for all occasions, it’s a status symbol, it’s an investment, and if you choose to pass yours on, it’s a legacy. For those of you who want to take their timepieces a bit more seriously, here are five sure signs of a quality watch.

Sign One: Weight

‘Heavy is good. Heavy is reliable. If it doesn’t work, you can always hit him with it.’ Guy Ritchie may have been talking about guns when he wrote that, but weight is a sign of reliability for watches, too. The truth is that a quality watch should feel like a quality watch. The components and pieces that make up a watch are extremely complex and take up a good deal of space and weight. When you put it on, it should feel like a real watch, and not a toy. We’re looking for something with a bit of heft behind it, so when you pass your watch down, your grandson won’t be asking where the rest of it is.

Sign Two: The Movement (The Sweep)

You’ve probably heard people go on and on about the “sweep” or talk about how top quality watches don’t make that tell-tale “tick-tock.” For all intents and purposes, these people are right. When you pick up a Cartier or Chopard, the tiny hand measuring the passage of seconds glides effortlessly, like a toothless hockey player. In actuality, all wristwatches tick-tock. However, in a true quality watch, the internal mechanism (the movement) is so finely tuned and so well constructed, that these ticks happen as often as nine times a second, producing a flawless sweep. This is the difference between a five-dollar movement and a movement costing hundreds of dollars.

Sign Three: The Name & The Tradition

As crass as it is, a watch with a name will go a lot father than a watch without one. Tradition, legends, and reputation go a long way to turning a regular watch into an extraordinary watch. For example, during the second World War, captured British officers had their wristwatches confiscated. When Rolex founder Hans Wildorf discovered this, he offered watches to Allied prisoners on an order-now, pay-when-you-win-the-war basis. Over 3,000 watches were shipped under this program, and Rolex’s reputation soared. A watch is something whose legend should outlive you, and it’s seriously unlikely that anybody at your funeral will be fighting over who gets your Casio.

Sign Four: Swiss Branding

Counterfeiting, globalization, and marketing have done their part to confuse and overwhelm the consumer, but the Swiss government has gone to great lengths to ensure that only watches meeting their stringent standards are branded as Swiss made. Legally, only clocks and watches whose movements are assembled, cased and inspected in Switzerland are allowed to carry the ‘Swiss Made’ branding. Those made using Swiss movements and assembled elsewhere carry the words ‘Swiss Movement’. While companies outside of Switzerland may carry strong watchmaking traditions of their own, the surest sign of quality and reliability are two simple words: ‘Swiss Made.’

Sign Five: Accuracy

As obvious as it is, a watch should be able to keep time reasonably well. While watches running on a quartz movement are kept accurate through the oscillation of a carefully cut quartz crystal, the less accurate mechanical watch is still the standard for luxury. These watches run on the precise movements of a complex series of gears and springs. Kept running through either the movement of a self-winding pendulum or a manually-wound mainspring, these watches inevitably lose seconds a day. The most precise watches in the world undergo rigorous testing, and are called chronometers. Swiss-made watches are tested by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, and are accurate to within ten seconds daily. Certifications such as these can mean the difference between a watch that stands the rigors of time, and watches that your grandchildren will need to have serviced weekly.

Fakes

The sad reality is that a lot of these signs can be, and are faked. While legal precautions are in place to prevent people from forging watches and brands – quite frankly – the counterfeiter doesn’t care. The Malaysian gangster etching the words ‘SWISS MADE’ onto the face of a fake Rolex isn’t particularly scared of whatever legal precautions the EU has taken. It’s on you then, to be careful.

Buy only from reputable dealers, and get a trained watchmaker to inspect anything you have your doubts on. There are some men out there who don’t mind wearing a fake, if it’ll save them a few thousand dollars. But as someone who has compared the two, let me assure you that once the two are side by side, the difference is like night and day. The hands glide effortlessly across the face, the detailing is subtler and more refined, and the watch just feels right.

Have any tips on picking a quality watch? What sort of watch do you wear? Tell us in the comments!

{ 141 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Josh Epperson December 23, 2009 at 3:01 am
2 Daniel December 23, 2009 at 4:26 am

I wear an Omega Seamaster Cosmic 2000 Automatic that I inherited from my granddad when he passed away a couple of years ago. I wear it almost daily and it’s a nice reminder of him. This watch is my most precious possession.

3 Groover_1972 December 23, 2009 at 5:23 am

Nice piece about…timepieces that is. I have an Zenith Sporto watch made around 1950, and its given to me by my great grand father. Its still working, but its very light without the quality weight that you say. In everyday i’m wearing a Sector Expander watch wich i own for almost 15 years without a problem and its heavy. The Zenith its been used when i dress with a suit for more formal nights….

4 Richard Shelmerdine December 23, 2009 at 6:25 am

I definitely agree that a heavy watch is a good one. It’s worth spending what is a lot to you once than having to spend lots of time buying poor watches and getting them fixed. Just get it done once and for all :)

5 Patrick H. Ouzts December 23, 2009 at 6:53 am

I grew up in a middle class home, where the thought of a 100 dollar watch was absurd and a 5,000 Rolex was just silly.

However, I have realized the importance of a watch. Not so much because of function or style, function is a cell phone, style is fleeting. But because of Legacy.

My family wasn’t big on traditions, but I am learning that the “good life” means having good stories. I want to give my grand children things to remeber me by. In order for my watch to be good enough to make it to those grand kids, it must be quality.

I got my first non Wal-Mart watch as a graduation present when I finished law school. It is a Stuhrling and is beautiful. It was from overstock.com and might not be a luxury watch, but frugal ticks regularly in my family too.

I look forward to one day rewarding myself with the Tag Huer or Rolex, but I look forward more to knowing my grandson will get that watch and feel connected to me.

6 bob December 23, 2009 at 7:47 am

Can’t go wrong with something from Tissot or Certina. Ive had a Tissot Quadratto that was not so expensive and was an AWESOME watch. As long as its got a swiss movement and sapphire crystal, it will be solid.

7 Brian Escamilla December 23, 2009 at 7:58 am

Great post! I’m a bit of a watch collector and I agree with most of the points, but I’d caution a watch purchaser to not put too much emphasis on the “name.” The same quality can be had from lesser known Swiss watchmakers or even independent watch makers. Instead of plunking down the big bucks for a little crown logo or a greek letter, start smaller with something like a SAR from Marathon, a Hamilton Khaki or an Oris Diver – all great automatic watches with some genuine history behind them.

8 Matt Angelucci December 23, 2009 at 8:28 am

I agree with Brian that quality watches, especially vintage watches, can be had for a lot less than the cost of Rolex, etc. Older American companies such as Hamilton, Gruen and Elgin made quite nice watches. Another thing to look for in a quality watch is a stainless steel case & bezel (I don’t know if ‘case’ is the correct term, but basically the watches outer body).

9 Bruce Williamson December 23, 2009 at 8:37 am

I don’t collect watches. I don’t care about brand names. I have a Seiko Kinetic which works fine at what it is supposed to do. Tell me the time. I came back to the electromechanical watches after many years with the “toy” electronics. This past summer I was in the shed and found an OLD Timex. I wound it up and it works!

So to me a quality watch is one that works and shows the time.

Bruce

10 Waltman December 23, 2009 at 8:38 am

My wife bought me a Skagen titanium from Disney World when we went there for our anniversary. Good quality watch, light as a feather. I’ve had the battery replaced on it and the jeweler commented on it being a good quality piece. I told him the price and he couldn’t believe we’d gotten it so inexpensively.

11 Ryan December 23, 2009 at 8:46 am

I think that this was a well written article on the qualities and benefits of the wristwatch. However, I feel that one of the glaring omissions is that the article gives the impression that if you want a high quality watch, it is Swiss or nothing.

I couldn’t disagree more. By focusing solely on the Swiss, you are doing a disservice to the strides and developments made by other manufacturers, namely Seiko.

While Seiko offers a range of watches that is much wider than any of its Swiss counterparts, the high end of the Seiko range is every bit as special, unique and presice as its Swiss counterparts, often at a lower price.

Don’t believe me? Then look at their Grand Seiko line, as well as their innovative “Spring Drive” that has taken the traditional automatic movement and spun it on it’s head.

Grand Seiko Review
http://www.ninanet.net/watches/others03/Mediums/mgseiko.html

Spring Drive
http://www.seikousa.com/products/springdrive/index.html

Credor- the ultimate in the Seiko line
http://www.credor.com/

Credor Sonnerie
http://www.timezone.com/library/rdnotebook/200607314159

12 Stephen Clay McGehee December 23, 2009 at 9:34 am

For wristwatches, I have enjoyed the Seiko watches. I previously had two of their kinetic watches, but both eventually died. They have failed the “legacy” test. My current wristwatch is a Seiko electric. As nice as it is, it too will fail the “legacy” test simply because it requires a battery (that is just my own criteria).

I am now carrying a pocket watch. It has already passed the “legacy” test because I inherited it from my father. My mother gave it to him for their 50th wedding anniversary. I found that wearing a wristwatch can be a real pain when using my laptop, so I switched to a pocket watch. I find it ironic that a computer has prompted me to revert back to a manual-wind pocket watch.

A pocket watch is probably not for everyone, but perhaps it shouldn’t be.

13 Jon-David December 23, 2009 at 9:40 am

I love my Tag Heuer “Twin Time Carerra”, but If I ever become obscenely wealthy my choice will be a Panerai GMT and a Panerai Submersible.

14 Bob December 23, 2009 at 9:45 am

Watches are the one indulgence I allow myself – if I get a bonus or fall into some money for some extra contracting, I will usually reward myself with good watch. I think the important thing to do is to research before you buy, and find something you like. It is hard to go wrong with a Rolex or an Omega, and they will certainly attract attention and be recognized, but there are a ton of quality “real” watches that you will be proud to wear and have the capacity to be family heirlooms. People spend a fortune on a car and may only spend an hour a day in it, I wear my watches all day long, I have never had to replace one, and in some cases they are more valuable now then when they were purchased.

15 Gregor December 23, 2009 at 10:11 am

All the men in my family wear/wore rolex submariner watches, as we are all recreational divers. It’s a tradition that each brother pitch in equally for the other brother. Unfortunately, I was the next generation and an only child, without male cousins; so I’m still saving.

16 Toysoldier159 December 23, 2009 at 10:15 am

My family tradition was that when you graduated from high school, you were given a watch. My brother got an Omega Moon Watch like the astronauts wore on the Apollo missions. My parents paid $250 for it in 1972. The same watch retails for over $2,000 now. My brother still has it. He doesn’t wear it, but he still has it. He says it keeps lousy time compared to a quartz. My oldest son will inherit that watch (my brother is a bachelor and will never marry). He will get the stories that go with it. I agree with the posts that say quality watches are about legacy and story. Watches go where we go and they are vehicles for stories and that passing of story is what makes us immortal.

17 RayB December 23, 2009 at 10:40 am

Sweep versus tick is not as correct as should be. Rolex makes a “perpetual” movement which is the sweep. They also make a “quartz” movement which ticks…Both are amazing watch movements and the quartz is actually a much more precise timekeeper than the perpetual movement. I own my father’s Rolex Datejust Quartz which has faithfully ticked and kept virtually perfect time for over 25 years. I also own a Rolex Daytona with a perpetual movement and it is a beautiful timepiece as well. Either movement is still an amazing watch and I’d take either Rolex.

18 John December 23, 2009 at 10:47 am

Okay, so for someone who doesn’t have at ton of money, but would like a nice mechanical watch, what would you recommend? I have mostly had Seiko’s and I do like the Kinetic that I have, but I would love to have something a little more fancy that has a sweep movement. I can’t afford to spend hundreds or even thousands on a watch at this time as I have three kids who will be going to college soon. Any tips would be most appreciated.

19 Ryan December 23, 2009 at 10:55 am

John-

Quality + low price = Seiko or Orient in my opinion. I dont know what you are looking for exactly or what your price is, but those two brands offer incredible value for the dollar.

Good luck.

20 John December 23, 2009 at 11:09 am

Ryan… looking for something is the Seiko quality/price department, but with an ETA movement (not quartz).

21 Liam Strain December 23, 2009 at 11:11 am

Interesting article. I am fond of vintage american watches from Illinois, Hamilton and others. But own an older Omega Seamaster (that needs a little repair shop love) and a newer Seiko 5 automatic (which, if I’m honest, gets the most wear), and my Accutron hummer movement which has the most glass smooth sweep of any watch I’ve seen (360 oscillations per second, or thereabouts – for a truly seamless second hand movement).

If you know a good repair shop, vintage is a great way to get extremely high quality watches for less. Which is refreshing when many companies are just taking the same swiss-made movement by ETA or Unitas, and then jacking the price up 500% to put their name on the case.

22 Derek D. December 23, 2009 at 11:45 am

I used to think this way. I had an antique pocket watch collection that was stolen from my house that included some legacy pieces handed down from my ancestors. I decided to buy a Rolex with the insurance proceeds from a certified Rolex dealer as a new legacy piece. I was GREATLY disappointed when the watch started moving double-time. I took it to the same dealer to be repaired 26 months after purchase and was told it was out of warranty. It cost me $500 to repair and was told that watches of this caliber require regular maintenance. I had never heard that before. At least I was able to sell it for about the same price as I purchased it. Now I am happy with a lower end Citizen or Swiss Army. Five years – no repairs needed.

23 WJ December 23, 2009 at 11:46 am

Excellent article – I considered all of those things before getting myself a Swiss Amry Chrono Classic this past June. If was a gift to myself for years of hard work (though I am still young at 26). But I also knew I wanted something I’d have for many years to come. Simply, it’s one of the best things I ever bought for myself. It’s not oversized, it’s simple, and has classic style – I like to think it fits my personality perfectly. It’s rare a day goes by that I don’t wear it now.

I’d like to get a Hamilton as well. I love the heritage of the company, as my grandfather was in WWII and I’m from Pennsylvania.

24 Mitchel December 23, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Unfortunately I don’t have a few hundred dollars to drop on a watch, but I’ve always scorned the digital watches in favor of the analog watch. I usually buy a new watch every 2 or 3 years from Walmart. Perhaps someday I will be able to buy a little higher quality watch, but for now I just look for one that won’t break for a few years.

25 Kristin December 23, 2009 at 12:17 pm

http://www.artdecowristwatches.com is a great place to find the old American greats that Matt Angelucci mentioned above – Hamilton, Gruen, etc. They really are beautiful watches and can be had for reasonable prices.

26 Kristin December 23, 2009 at 12:22 pm

The vintage art deco wristwatches are a great way to go… see http://www.artdecowristwatches.com. The gentleman who runs the site sells the old American branks like Hamilton, Gruen, and Elgin.

27 Mark W. December 23, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Unless a watch is a family heirloom in the current economic climate, I feel a new real high end watch such as a Rolex smacks of elitism. In this wonderful economy that we have I came across a real find. A new Citizen Eco-Drive Aviators WR-200 (Normally an $800.00+ Watch) for 50% off. I find it very stylish and have a rugged feel to it. I plan to pass this on to my son.

28 Living with Balls December 23, 2009 at 12:57 pm

I never really had a nice watch until recently when I got a Movado as a gift. I always love the classic look and it tells great time. I would definitely recommend it to others.

29 Bruce Williamson December 23, 2009 at 1:44 pm

After reading the article again, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is mostly nonsense. None of the five points are indicative of a quality watch. I’ll go over the points:
1) Weight – not true. I have a friend that has a Swiss wathc that is thin as a dime and costs $2000. Weight isn’t a factor as watch makers TRY to make watches that are lighter too.
2) Sweep – This came about as the fake Rolex watches didn’t sweep but the real Rolexs do. That doesn’t mean that the second hand on a quality watch sweeps. Because my Timex sweeps.
3) Name & tradition – If we believe this then we can also believe that Kleenex wipes you nose better than Puffs.
4) Swiss Branding – No doubt that Swiss make good watches and Swiss Army knives. But it doesn’t guarantee a good watch. Many cheap watches are made with Swiss movements and many quality watches are made by other countries.
5) Accuracy – modern watches are accurate. Chronometers are tested in several orientations for maintaining accuracy (very important if your are navigating without a GPS). This testing is pointless if the watch is not mechanical or quartz driven. With mechanical watches the most important factor is winding the same amount at the same time of day. The escape movement changes speed slightly depending upon the mainspring tension. So it should be wound at the same time and the same tension. Some watches have mechanisms to prevent over winding the watch (which should have been mentioned in the article but wasn’t). Even then there are adjustments inside to adjust the watch for gain or loss in minutes per day. All watches have this adjustment so the accuracy is dependent upon how much time the company wants to place on making this final adjustment.

I’m not bashing Swiss companies nor am I espousing the favorable attributes of non-Swiss watches. I’m just clearing up the obvious bias in the article.

My father was a machinist and a watch repair man. So, I’ve tinkered with plenty of watches in my days. I’ve even taken some apart and actually put them back together (under my fathers direction).

Bruce

30 BadaBing December 23, 2009 at 1:54 pm

I love Japanese watches. They’re reliable. I love Japanese people. They stay in their own country.

31 Rob Attwater December 23, 2009 at 2:20 pm

Once you have worn a quality time piece, it is like driving a well made automobile. You can feel it. I am not talking about price, but quality. Swiss movements, sapphire crystals, types of scratch resistant cases and bands and all out good craftsmanship in a watch can never go wrong. Stainless and titanium bands look great but scratch really bad and look terrible after a while. Ceramic and tunsten are very scratch resistant. Quartz crystal scratches very easily, sapphire crystal is very durable. Things like that. Doing your homework before purchasing a watch and know what to look for, Don’t always go by what the salesman tells you, I find they don’t know much they just want to sell a watch. There are a lot of expensive “designer” watches that go for a high price that are very poorly made, just as not so well named brands that have excellent craftsmanship. A fine watch will last for decades opposed to a poorly made one lasting a few years, if that. Example. I am kinda like a bull in a china cabinet my wife says..lol.. I always slam my wrist on this one door knob in my hallway while walking into the kitchen. I was wearing a very nice “designer” watch ($400) and cracked the quartz crystal to pieces one day destroying the watch. I have hit the same doorknob (lol) with another of my watches with a sapphire crystal and it didn’t even scratch it. Good materials and craftsmanship in a time piece will never do you wrong and last you a lifetime. Don’ t just look for a brand name and think you got it made, for all brands have higher and lower levels of quality with the prices all over the place. Know what you are looking for craftsmanship wise, you will find better deals on quality watches that way.

32 Brian December 23, 2009 at 2:31 pm

I have two watches, a Bulova pocket watch that I break out for some special occasions and a Fossil that I wear to work or when I am working around the house.

The Fossil will never have any value to anybody else or to my kids even, but it has value to me. Two years ago my wife and I built our own house. Stuck in the links to my watch are some tile mortar and grout that I was never able to get out. The crystal has a deep scratch in it that probably saved my arm from a nasty cut (where it came from I do not know). The crystal also has a slight haze to it from wearing it fishing and hunting. It has no intrinsic value (not even when it was new) but it does have some stories to tell. I promised myself I was going to buy myself a really nice watch when this one dies, but the stupid thing keeps on ticking.

33 Terry Carter December 23, 2009 at 3:39 pm

I enjoyed your piece on wrist watches. How about a follow up piece on pocket watches?

34 Bob December 23, 2009 at 3:43 pm

I’ll stick with my Casio G-Shock. It saw me through ten years as a jet engine mechanic, including deployment to Gulf War 1, a helicopter crash, and two aircraft fires. I got a new one as a gift a few years back, but my first one is still in the dresser, still keeping time.

35 Dennard December 23, 2009 at 4:04 pm

I really enjoyed reading this article. I’m another Seiko fan. My parents gave me one when I graduated high school. I recently bought a Cotoura bracelet watch. Definitely the nicest one I’ve ever owned. I’m never without a wristwatch and I’m thinking of getting a pocket watch soon.

36 Sean McBride December 23, 2009 at 4:11 pm

I have a Search and Rescue dive watch made by Marathon. Marathon is the only official supplier of watches to the US military. At roughly $1000 ($700 for the watch and $300 for the steel band) it is a steal next to the Rolex. It is swiss made, automatic, and has tritium vials marking the numbers. It is waterproof to 1000 feet. They have yearly production runs of sometimes less than 30 watches. Mine is serial numbered 2 of 30 made in January 2007.

For the thrifty – Marathon also offers a battery operated version of the same watch for about $375.

I’m in the military and I occasionally bump into people in some of the crummiest parts of the world wearing a Marathon watch. It starts a good conversation and has introduced me to some really good people.

I got mine from a company in California called County Comm. Google it and the website will come right up.

I hope this info is useful for someone out there.

37 Bill McHale December 23, 2009 at 5:33 pm

I quite enjoy nice watches (Though alas, I can’t afford the really nice ones right now.). Fortunately, you can often enjoy watches without owning them, by researching and admiring.

By and large, I enjoyed the article and many of the comments, but there are definitely some misconceptions.

1. I agree the insistence on swiss made is definitely a bit chauvinism. Granted, the swiss make a good watch, but so does Seiko and a bunch of other companies that make watches outside of Switzerland. After all, most Swiss brands simply buy movements from eta and stick them in their cases (Rolex makes their own movements, but they are definitely in the minority). What I do think is important though is that a brand, whatever its origin, be proud of that origin. Certainly Grand-Seiko watches, though Japanese through and through are among the finest watches on the planet regardless of country of origin.

2. There is something special about mechanical watches. A Seiko 5 costing just a $80-90, with its mechanical auto-wind movement, is to me, cooler than A Seiko Kinetic, Citizen Eco-drive or a Swiss Quartz costing hundreds more. A quartz watch is a time keeping appliance; a mechanical watch is something you interact with.

3. The sweep versus tick thing… I agree this is actually an old school way of detecting a fake swiss watch. Early fakes put cheap quartz movements in a case, and slapped the label on them. Modern fakes generally have asian sourced mechanical movements… some of which are quite good. The fake might keep great time and last for years.. and as long as you never try to sell it, no one may ever know that it is not the real thing (well maybe you will.. it depends if you are that type of person who would knowingly buy a fake).

4. Any quartz watch, even the Kenetics and the Eco-Drives have batteries in them. In time they will need the battery replaced. As long as the battery is still made, no problems, but you never know. If the main spring of a mechanical goes, odds are a good watch maker can make or find a new one, even if the company that made the movement doesn’t exist any more. Its just a matter of being willing to pay enough.

5. Weight, to me does indicate quality in mechanical watches. Yeah, there are some watches that put a premium on being thing.. but I don’t bank on them, regardless of the price, being in good working order 50 years from now. In contrast, there is no reason a mechanical watch, if well maintained, can’t still be running 100 years from now.

38 Farmer Brown December 23, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Interesting article.

I used to think these kinds of discussions were pointless and esoteric, but then, I drove a Honda and wore a Timex.

My perspective changed when I was given an Omega Seamaster 300M Chronometer a number of years ago as a gift. I had never owned a quality watch before, and it had a feel and heft that set it apart. I must admit, I absolutely love wearing it.

Along the way, I married a woman who owned a BMW, and have come to appreciate German cars as well.

Is a nice watch worth it? Quality just looks and feels different, whether it’s watches, cars, or whatever. Whether that’s worth the extra investment is up to the individual.

39 Phil December 23, 2009 at 6:30 pm

Must be nice to drop all that coin on a watch. I’d rather eat.

40 Bill December 23, 2009 at 7:14 pm

Agree with the legacy part. My Dad passed away in 1977 and I inherited his Longines purchased around 1974. I wear it 7-8 times per year for special occasions. For daily wear I have an 11 year old Casio purchased at Wal-Mart for $50. Other than batteries, no maint needed.

41 The Idea Can December 23, 2009 at 7:56 pm

Never underestimate the value of the number of jewels in a watch movement. If money isn’t an issue, Vacheron Constantin or Patek Philippe are probably the two best watchmakers you can buy. Both make Rolex look like a Casio. I can’t afford either of them, so I wear a late cold war era, soviet made 17 jewel wind-up Paketa. However, if I can ever afford it, I’ll be damned if I don’t get a Patty or Vacheron.

42 solid gold pocket watch December 23, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Im happy to find your site. Love the info I am a watch lover. In fact I love them so much that I created a site all about solid gold pocket watch.

43 MIchael Fields December 24, 2009 at 12:02 am

For me also style and look come into play, as I want something that I can go out on the town with a pretty woman, and also play some football with the guys with and not worry about it breaking. That is a reason I like Relic, they look nice, not to nice to have your hand cut off while visiting some third world country, and are strong that if you hit it, the band or watch will not break.

44 Scott Miller December 24, 2009 at 7:18 am

I’ve been wearing a Chase-Durer Blackhawk Mach 3 pretty much 24/7 for about 10 years now. I’ve had to replace the battery a few times and the rubber wristband a few times as well, but the watch still keeps perfect time (I believe it has a Seiko movement in it), and there is not a scratch on the crystal or the case.
The watch retails for $299, and the company makes a full line of various styles – military and civilian, women’s and men’s. Most of their other watches have Swiss movements in them. I don’t know if my watch is “legacy worthy”, but I think that it would probably still be running long after I am.
I also have an American Waltham pocketwatch that dates back to 1897 – that has been passed down through the generations, and will continue to do so I suppose.

45 Soren Rasmussen December 24, 2009 at 8:32 am

Great article. I’ve set my mind on an Oris Artelier Chronograph, so now all I have to do is to begin the saving, so I can get a watch truely worthy of passing down to my son, and hopefully generations to come.

46 Drake December 24, 2009 at 9:13 am

What those who bash rolex And omega as no better than timex or seiko, and say brand means nothing are forgetting is resale value.
Take care of a good watch and it takes care of you.

47 Bharat Patel December 24, 2009 at 10:38 am

Though I’ve been drooling over the JorgGray JG6500-11 model (http://www.jorggray.com/jg6500-11.html) I must admit I rather love my simple Casio watches, I’v had 4 all still working, two digital calculator watch models and two analog models very simple ones. I gave one away to a good friend of mine, another I regrettably lost, one I wear, and one I just got for the holidays because I wanted new one. The calculator ones always give you extra geekary points, and I was able to change channels when sitting at a bar heh, and a surpizing amount of times it’s been a conversation starter with the ladies, plus they are totally functional. Though I do want something nicer, for getting the job done they work wonderfully, and I don’t have to worry about inevitably scratching them.

Maybe in due time when I can afford it I’ll get myself a nice show piece for my wrist, but probably more for the sake of having a nice piece to pass down, I feel like that’s why most of us consider a fine watch a worthwhile investment/purchase, legacy.

48 Mr Miyagi December 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm

I think the problem with finding good quality watch today is that most being sold are not really used for telling time anymore. They’re styled to be fashion accessories. Stay away from watches that have diamonds or don’t even have numbers. Those are strictly for style. Also I’ve noticed that consumer brands like Timex and Casio have actually been producing some higher quality made watches over the past few years that compare and even look nicer to the luxury brands, so don’t knock them down.

49 Chip December 24, 2009 at 3:02 pm

As much as I love a good wristwatch, if you’re looking for accuracy in telling time, a digital watch from the dollar store could probably beat a Rolex. You don’t have to pay much to know what time it is… but quality has emotional value. When my grandfather offered me a choice, I passed up his working Casio for his broken pocket watch.

50 Paul December 24, 2009 at 4:54 pm

I inherited my father’s Breitling Navitimer (the old version, from the early 70s) when he died only a few years after receiving it as a birthday gift from my mother. It’s a beautiful watch (if you like the complicated dial and circular slide-rule look, which I do) and keeps excellent time, but it’s also quite a fragile thing. It’s not waterproof at all, it needs regular servicing every 4-5 years and Breitling in Grenchen now regard it as a ‘vintage’ model – meaning they can gouge on the parts and servicing, and it can sometimes take more than 6 months on holiday in Grenchen before it comes back after a major service. Because the parts are now quite rare, Breitling often won’t supply them to independent watchmakers, so a trip to Switzerland is often the only way to get the watch serviced or repaired. For a while in the 80s I did actually wear it every day – for maybe 5 years or so – but these days it’s a special occasion piece. I love it, but it’s too valuable (both replacement and sentimental value) to be an everyday watch. Its everyday replacement is a Citizen eco-drive (solar-powered) Nighthawk which bears an interesting resemblance to the Breitling, right down to the circular slide-rule, but is waterproof, never needs winding and I wouldn’t shed a tear over it if it were destroyed tomorrow. If I ever feel wealthy enough I’ll probably go out one day and find a Breitling B-2 (now a discontinued model) for everyday wear, but until then the Nighthawk will have to do.

51 Matt December 24, 2009 at 9:43 pm

I have one issue with this list. The crystal on a watch should be evaluated. Almost all great watches will have a sapphire crystal, which is one of the hardest minerals in the world and will prevent almost any type of scratch or damage that the watch can sustain to its face. Personally, I got a Tag Heuer Carrera when I graduated from college and I love it. The heft, the beauty and subtlety make it a terrific watch and one I am sure to enjoy for a very long time and hopefully hand down to my eventual children.

52 Octane December 24, 2009 at 10:05 pm

I have a Stauer Noire (sic) which I got from my grandfather. It works well enough and is properly spiffing (though for some reason includes glow-in-the-dark hands but not numbers—one or the other would be nice, but I feel they forgot something here), but, unfortunately, there’s no history behind it.

53 Norfolk Boy December 25, 2009 at 3:34 am

For me, the classic watch is the squaddie standard. Casio Illuminator. Does everything I need a watch to do.

If I wanted legacy stuff, well, My grandfathers Grandfather clock is still going strong. however, I do like pocket watches.

54 An December 25, 2009 at 9:56 am

My preferred watch is the Casio G-Shock. It’s Japanese, made of plastic and resin, and it’s digital. But it’s also the toughest watch I’ve ever owned. It went through nearly 10 years of blunt force impacts, harsh chemicals, extreme weather conditions and it’s still running.

55 Phil December 25, 2009 at 2:10 pm

I can honestly say that I will never spend big money on the watches being discussed. I own a Seiko 5 which I really love. It has a good feel to it and looks great. Maybe it’s the fact that my dad used to own a Seiko 5 when I was young that draws me to this watch, but I count that as a good thing too.

56 Matt December 25, 2009 at 6:22 pm

I have been a big fan of watches for a couple decades. Recently I have been fortunate enough to buy or inherit some beautiful timepieces. My first “fancy” watch was given to me as my college graduation gift. Just as my grandfather gave my father an Omega upon graduation (an automatic Seamaster) I received a DeVille. Several years later my wife gave me a Baume and Mercier. As a gift upon graduating from b-school my wife bought me an Omega DeVille Coaxial. I’ve also come into my Dad’s Omega and my grandfather’s circa 1956 mechanical Hamilton. Each has its own story and significance. My younger brother asked me a while ago why I liked watches so much and one of the things I told him was the knowledge I was wearing a precision engineered machine on my wrist. It truly is a thing to see the inner workings of a mechanical watch ticking away.

57 Maximus December 26, 2009 at 2:07 am

I recently bought a Patek Philippe. I’ve been saving for years for my dream watch and I finally got it. It is the most amazing instrument I own and I love its history and movement. I don’t particularly like Rolex because they are made on mass and too many people think its great when it is overrated. In my opinion Rolex is a little too Nouveau Riche for my liking.

58 Ahmad Maaty December 26, 2009 at 7:55 am

I own two excellent watches that are very different but both very high quality, bought for both their legacy value and to suit, between them, most uses/ situations. First was the automatic Omega Seamaster, which has survived a number of motorcycle and automobile accidents, daily wear for about five years so far, diving, swimming, etc etc, which was supplemented by an automatic blackfaced Cartier Roadster, which is far less suitable for daily use given its highly polished and scratches easily, but gives that additional offering of beauty and design/ elegance for the appropriate occasions. That and Seamasters were turning up everywhere I looked!

59 Jonathan December 26, 2009 at 6:21 pm

I would appreciate a blog on how to find a good watchmaker. I have 2 or 3 watches that I would like to repair, but I haven’t had any luck with finding any jewelery businesses being able to repair 2 of them.

60 newswede December 26, 2009 at 7:35 pm

I too saved for an Oris Artelier Chronograph, like Soren Rasmussen wants. I thought I’d warn him that mine died within 4 days. Make sure you find a respectable seller with a clear repair/return policy. I was lucky and got my cash back. I really liked the look of that watch though. Much better in person than in any of their product shots.

I hear great things about Oris (mainly the diving watches) but unfortunately I had a bad one and don’t want to live in fear that it’ll happen again.

61 Alex December 26, 2009 at 11:48 pm

On the subject of spotting fakes… A little over a month ago I found what looks to be a genuine women’s Cartier watch. I turned it in to the police, but since it has been a month, legally it is now mine. Where can I find out if it is real, and if it is, how do you sell a watch that could potentially be worth 10k or more?

62 Tim December 26, 2009 at 11:52 pm

I’ve only more recently become interested in mechanical watches and collecting them. I received my grandfather’s gold Bulova when he died a decade ago. It was his retirement gift from the Steelworkers and I wear it on special occassions. This year my wife and I (she’s into watches too) have added some nice ones, including a (believe it or not) automatic Timex Sport Luxury that is my daily wearer (it’s heavy with sapphire crystal), an inexpensive used Gruen from the 1970′s, an ESQ chronograph (quartz but very attractive), and a beautiful Hamilton Jazzmaster that I gave my wife for her birthday.

All those watches are fairly affordable, but I tried on a Concord Mariner Reveil the other day that listed at $14k CDN. It is one of the few mechanicals that I’ve seen with an alarm and I found love that feature. I’d need to sell a vehicle to obtain that one.

For those interested in something vintage, take a look at Chronodeco, a solitary man in Oregon who assembles NOS parts into attractive pieces. http://www.chronodeco.com

63 Rick Wanamaker December 27, 2009 at 7:39 pm

I bought a Rolex Oysterdate Precision watch in 2004 and wear and enjoy it everyday.
In public it gives me a feeling of high esteem and rewarded myself after 20 some
years working at Kodak. Its like a friend that I manually wind once every morning
and rely on. It is probably the last watch I will ever want or need and plan to leave
as a legacy to family someday.

64 Creep December 27, 2009 at 11:12 pm

Seiko for me. I have an SKX779 “Black Monster.” Automatic movement, built like a tank. I had it customized through MKII to my specifications. Heirloom material for sure.

65 Clayton December 28, 2009 at 11:07 am

There is no depth to this post whatsoever and the concept of a heavy watch equaling a quality timepiece is absolutely absurd. Check out Ariel Adam’s http://ablogtoread.com/ as a significantly better and educated resource for learning more about (haute) horology.

And the surest sign of quality is COSC certification, not just “Swiss Made.”

66 Michael December 28, 2009 at 11:10 am

I would also like to know more about how to find a good watch repairman. I have a 1915 Hampden pocket watch from my Great grandfather which needs a new spring, and general servicing. It’s not the world’s fanciest watch, but it’s what my great grandfather used.

67 derrick December 28, 2009 at 12:35 pm

It’s interesting to know that nearly all of the brands mentioned (Oris, Hamilton, Swiss Army, Marathon, Breitling, Longines, TAG Heuer, DOXA etc.) all use the exact same stock movements from a handful of companies, ETA SA being the most common and Valjoux the second most common. Beyond the movement you’re just buying a case, a band, and a name. This doesn’t apply to Rolex, Omega, Accutron, and Seiko as they make their own movements (but their inhouse movements aren’t different enough from the ETA movement to matter). The ETA 2824-2 movement is used in most mid-tier date window watches, and it’s identical in specification to the Rolex movements (28,800 beats per hour for a smooth sweep, 40 hour power reserve, can be COSC certified to +/- 5 seconds a day). Depending on brand, you’ll pay anywhere from $300 to $3500 for a watch with the exact same movement – you can buy the movement used in a $1500 TAG Heuer Aquaracer from ETA’s catalog for $129! The best value I’ve found in a watch with an ETA movement is an Invicta 9973, where $300 gets you a solid watch with sapphire crystal, a band with heavy solid links, and a transparent caseback. That said, I mostly wear a $40 Casio G-Shock DW5600.

68 Hank December 28, 2009 at 3:05 pm

I have owned two Sea Dwellers and currently own an Aqua Racer and Seiko Divers. My quartz Seiko is bulletproof and has the scars to prove it. I have known many divers as I am a dive instructor and public safety diver, a $ 4000.00 and up dive watch is ridonkulous. I don’t have the time or energy to worry about scratches and having the watch sent in for clean and lube. Give me Seiko and call it good. Add a NATO strap if you plan on working with it!

69 Anthony December 28, 2009 at 7:51 pm

I understand by what you mean in the WEIGHT category however, my father gave me a Movado–a respectable timepiece with the Roman numerals not the black back–and I like it for its thin case as the fake ones are thick. Dad has a few good watches, his Breitling stands out the most to me.

70 LeonidasStokely December 29, 2009 at 10:29 am

I was given one of these http://www.couturelab.com/products/BC_S2_White_Watch-2381-0.html by my father on my wedding day. He and his father were both RAF Pilots as am I so the altometer was a great touch. Bremont is a great new company building an incredible reputation with recomendations from Bear Grylls and Jake Meyer, two personal heroes of mine. I wear this watch every time I fly for luck and will give it to my son on his wedding day.
Great post AoM!

71 OkieRover December 29, 2009 at 10:32 am

I “inherited” my father’s watches. Actually no one wanted them. I have several of his but the two I like the most are the Seiko watches. While living on Guam in the 1960s my dad bought lots of things we could not have afforded in America mostly from Japan. The Seikos are awesome. The 1965 model 6619-8070 is a self winding monster. It’s huge too. I also have a Seiko with mechanical alarm. I had them cleaned and repaired by a jeweler in Norman. The repair and cleaning was more than I had ever paid for a new watch. But I now have working MAN WATCHES. And some day I’ll pass them along to my son who will hopefully wear them and not just toss them into a drawer.

72 Sullifrog December 29, 2009 at 11:04 am

Swiss Made!! I love my Omega Seamaster but how about this American Made Timepiece from a Team Guy (Navy SEAL).

I’ve already reserved mine and plan on starting a family tradition and giving to my son.

http://www.rescowatch.com/

73 Dave December 29, 2009 at 6:05 pm

Get yourself a Rolex Stainless Steel Submariner or a Rolex GMT. Preowned is just fine if you dont want to spend $6,000 for a new one. If you’re going to go the preowned route, check out online how to spot fakes and only purchase from well known jewelers.
Rolex is the only brand of watch to own. Nothing else compares. Tags, Omegas and Movados are all nice but they dont say Rolex on them.
Instead of splurging for the new iphone, xbox or other junk that will be outdated in 6 months, save up and treat yourself to a nice watch.

74 fithri December 29, 2009 at 9:39 pm

I wear a seiko 5 and 25 hours. my father use rolex datejust,my brother rolex explorer 2. my father used to owned a rolex explorer 1 but it got stolen. damn thief!

75 OPUS December 30, 2009 at 12:15 am

Way too many people like Rolex here. They are OK…. nothing special though.
Patek Philippe is the best watch if money is no object.

76 Robert K. December 30, 2009 at 1:24 am

Croton is my brand. I have their titanium with carbon fiber face. i also have their automatic with carbon fiber face. Digital watches suck. That said, I teach junior high in an inner city school. Many of my students do not have a dad. I show them the way. I make a huge difference by showing them the way. One of the things I tell them is that to be a man you must wear a watch.

77 Hank December 30, 2009 at 11:46 am

What I find laughable is Rolex Dive watches are worn by folks who never dive and who own Land Rovers that never see the dirt, such a pity! Like everything else there are a few exceptions. As far as the status that goes with a Rolex, you can have it. Check out Marathon SAR watches, they would probably kick a Rolex’s arse in a fight! Another make I would own is Kobold. Bang for the buck, my next Tool(working) watch will be a Marathon SAR and the conversation it would elicit is ” what kind of diving have you been doing” rather than Wall Street palaver. Forgive the diatribe, I will finish with Happy New Year watch lovers everywhere!

78 RMAnderso December 30, 2009 at 3:25 pm

Good points in the related story. I would add that a Sapphire Crystal is also a must for a good mans watch….not Krysterna, not Hardened Mineral Glass/Crystal…..but SAPPHIRE. Its the only way to insure (99.99%) that you wont scratch or shatter the crystal.

The weight of the watch does have plenty to do with a quality movement and case, but also comes from the quality of the bracelet. SOLID links AND end pieces (the one next to the case) along with a quality clasp adds to the durability.

Also, mechanical and automatic watches are more collectible, valuable and ‘art like’, but dont shy away from a good Swiss Made quartz model. Tag Heuer, Tissot, Movado, Omega, etc. and most other well respected Swiss watch makers offer quartz models. Unless the end of the world is coming you will always be able to find a replacement battery for quality Swiss quartz models.

79 Mike M. December 31, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Personally, I like IWC. Understated quality. My normal watch is a Fliegerchonograph – and yes, I’m a pilot.

80 James Withey January 1, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I wear a Luminox 3100 Navy Seal. After my mom died (preceded by my father) I wanted something to show their sacrifice and hard work all their lives and a piece of equipment that would last and could handle anything.

81 kasper January 2, 2010 at 4:35 am

I wear an old Delbana that I bought in the flea-market in Krakow a few years ago. It looks to be either late fifties or early sixties, Swiss-made. It was strange recently because having stupidly dropped it on the bathroom floor, I had to have it repaired, and while I was waiting for that just to have something to tell the time I bought a cheap Swatch. I found it quite disconcerting wearing a watch that didn’t have to be wound- there’s something about having to wind a watch that makes it seem alive, and I found the battery-powered watch quite sinister… like a robot.

82 John Riskas January 2, 2010 at 10:32 am

I have struggled with this debate for a good part of my life.
Now at 55, i can tell you 2 things,
Form follows function,
and the Man makes the watch, the watch doesn’t make the man.
I have had a Rolex President, 2 Submariners, a Cartier Santos Dumont,
and an Omega Sea Dweller.
They all sit in my drawer, and come out for the X-mas party, and New Years.
The rest of the year, I wear a TIMEX.
I travel 11 months out of the year. In and out of Airports, security checks, hotels, and cabs.
TIMEX are dependable, the INDIGLO function is indespensible, and I’m not afraid if it gets stolen.
You won’t be jacked up for your TIMEX waiting at a street light.
One of the subtleties of Manliness, is understatement.
It’s a lost art.
There are 2 things a man should always have, a TIMEX, and a ZIPPO.
See you on the Road….
JJR

83 Eric January 2, 2010 at 9:36 pm

I got a dressy stainless steel Fossil watch for graduation from my father, my first real watch, not like a cheap one. Fossil makes some pretty cool watches and this one has been great. It fits my suit really well too. I suggest checking them out.

84 Tom January 3, 2010 at 10:22 am

Many years ago I received a Breitling embossed with our squadron’s insignia. It has been a great watch as it feels good, looks good, keeps perfect time and is unique. After some water intrusion due to the stem not being screwed all the way down, it cost $500, several trips back to the authorized repair facility and several months to have properly fixed. I’ve decided that for every day use, a high end watch is not worth the expense so I bought a nice Seiko. Good looking watch, horrible time keeper as it gains about 3 minutes per day. Whenever I see someone with the same model I ask them about it and generally they have the same problem. Next mid-line watch I’ll give Citizen a try.

85 MC January 4, 2010 at 9:49 am

We all love a vintage (mechanical) watches but if your rational about wearing a watch there is only one: Casio G-shock (pick any model you like, they are all good). They start at $30 and worth every dolar. If in doubt just check http://forums.watchuseek.com/showthread.php?t=57302
That’s way the military use them. There is no excuse to wear a unreliable fake anymore.

86 oddwatchman January 4, 2010 at 8:58 pm

http://www.121time.com is a swiss watch company that makes custom watches for a reasonable price. I bought a sport watch from them after my friend recommended them but I love my vintage omega speed master automatic that I got from family member after he died. Not all swiss watches second hand sweeps. The japanese also make nice movements and watches that are good quality. Nice watches are something that a man keeps to give to his son and then his son gives it to his son like a legacy same as heirlooms for women. It would show that a man had pride in ownership and cared about himself and his belongings, not just spending money any chance he got.

87 Shawn January 5, 2010 at 4:11 am

So if a dear friend gave me a $35,000 A. Lange and Sohne watch that didn’t read “Swiss Made” its just any old watch? Just kidding. Personally, if you buy smart you can spend as little as $150 on a quality and durable watch that will last years without anything other then a battery change.

88 Glenn January 5, 2010 at 10:47 am

A 1999 Rolex submariner two tone. The watch is worth more now than I paid for it at the time.

89 Ken January 6, 2010 at 1:36 pm

If anyone is really interested in watches, you should check out http://www.watchgeeks.net. You’ll find more info from real collectors than anywhere else. I’m not just talking about the really high end brands. You’ll learn about what really makes a great quality watch.

90 cherry January 7, 2010 at 3:38 am

Dreamboxcom.com was established to serve the needs of digital satellite receivers users, and today we are one of the industry’s top Dreambox and digital satellite receivers product retailers.

91 Basil Ransom January 8, 2010 at 1:01 am

Eh, all these supposed signs of quality are an attempt to brainwash people into spending thousands of dollars on something people hardly notice. It is one of the few pieces of menswear, perhaps the only, that is a vulgar demonstration of wealth. Virtually all of women’s fashion and accessories is in this category – items are worn principally because they broadcast the wearer’s wealth. A well-chosen cheap watch (eg, $100 Seiko) can be just as tasteful, durable and reliable as a Swiss watch priced like a used-car.

There is something to be said for a beautiful pair of custom made shoes, or a Savile Row suit. These are evaluated by their appearance, feel, and longevity, not by meaningless details that serve only to differentiate them from cheaper competitors (eg, mechanical vs. quartz, legacy, Swiss branding).

In short, this article is a celebration of status whoring. I’m convinced the entire industry manufactures this “mystique” to justify itself. FWIW, there was a tradition of wearing cheap rugged watches among the American upper crust.

92 James January 8, 2010 at 10:19 pm

I Have a Breitling Super Avenger. It is quite the beauty.

93 Oscar January 14, 2010 at 11:46 am

When you’ve had the chance to own a swiss watch, the article just makes sense. You notice other peoples watches, not because you’re a “status whore”, but because you are genuinely interested.

94 Max January 22, 2010 at 5:36 pm

I like a few others inherited my watch from my father when he passed away, Breitling Aerospace, the pilots watch, which I will never sell and even hate to have sent off for service. It is a very light watch and great with time. My father and I are/were both pilots and I remember the day when I was young flying over Florida in the Beech Baron my father showed me his new watch that mom hadn’t even seen yet, told me “someday this will be yours”. Now when you see someone with a Breitling you never know if they are a pilot or not….. always confuse them with a “so what do you fly” comment.

95 Jack January 25, 2010 at 6:58 pm

omega speed master reduced – i love it and never take it off

96 JOHN February 5, 2010 at 3:29 pm

My father gave me a Panerai Luminor GMT (PAM88) by the roadside, during a motorcycle trip we were taking together. I have had nice watches so he knew it would be special to me, and it is. The legacy part of this story can’t be undervalued, certainly one day I will pass this watch along and it will continue to be a source of pleasure and pride to it’s new wearer.

97 Chris Launder February 8, 2010 at 5:47 am

What a load of absolute nonsense , so are most of the replies ….
Light is no good ? , what about watches costing over $20,000 that are made of ceramic , titanium etc ?
COSC is not a measure of quality , its a measure of accuracy , you can get a $75 Seiko
5 to run within COSC specs if you spend enough time on it .
Quality is the fit and finish of all the gears and wheels , the way the teeth are polished , the finish of the bridges etc and the way the jewels are countersunk , also the finish of the case , absence of sharp edges , fit of the bezel , back etc ….
As for the idiot that said it has to be sapphire crystal if its quality , well , the only mechanical watch certified by NASA has a plexiglass , you clown .
Rolex is the Hummer of watches , not the Aston Martin or Bentley , as for most of the other brands mentioned in the sub $1000 bracket , if I was kind they would be the equivalent of a 1970′s Skoda .

98 Dan February 8, 2010 at 9:22 pm

this article is a start, albeit not a very good one but it barely scratches the surface of quality watches. actually it doesn’t even come close to scratching the surface. this article and the surface aren’t even in the same neighbourhood. it is not a topic that can be brushed aside in 500 words or 5 signs.

99 Skysail Jack February 10, 2010 at 9:03 am

A good quality watch is not a statussymbol. it is a expression of your personality. Not one of this fat gold watches, overload whit diamond and showing a brand of a well known fashion designer. Much more quality, style and functionality. I am wearing a omega seamaster chrono since 35 years and the only watch i would trad this seamaster in is a speedmaster, honestly!
wheter on the opernball or climbing the alps this watch allways works well and fit the circumstances

100 Frank February 16, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Since everyone is weighing in, I’m another military guy who’s got two Suuntos, a Marathon GSAR, and J.Crew Timex.

GSAR is obviously my baby and I wear it when I can, I had the Rolex Submariner debate but I was 23 at the time and couldn’t find a Rolex used so I did some research and found the Marathon. People ask me about it all the time, they’ve never heard of Marathon and that is fine with me. I’ve dived it, jumped it, and braved ‘red out’ dust storms with it, I’ve yet to have a problem.

One day I’ll probably pick up a Patek Phillipe to replace the Timex, but beyond that I feel set.

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