A watch is the ultimate accessory for a gentleman. They are a great way to express your personal style, and can also hold sentimental value for some. I personally started collecting watches seriously when I graduated high school and although I have pieces that vary from price points, I tend to love them all equally. A great way to get into the watch collecting game is to purchase an entry-level luxury watch. Entry-Level watches start from $300 and range up to $1000. Despite there being a ton of different brands out there, that are charging an entry-level price point, not all watches are made the same. So here’s a list of qualities that you should look for when purchasing an entry-level watch.
1 | Sapphire Crystal
Entry-Level watches will come with either mineral glass crystals or synthetic sapphire crystals. Mineral crystals are cheaper to manufacture and are often much lighter. Sapphire crystals are definitely the better of the two, as they are extremely scratch resistant, and rarely ever shatter upon harsh impact.
2 | Either Swiss or Japanese Movement
The entry-level price point will generally come in various different origins of movements. The most common types of movements in this price range will be Japanese movement, which can be found in Citizen, Seiko and Casio. Other origins will be Swiss, which is a little more difficult to find at this price point (all though it is a very premium movement). In all cases, avoid Chinese movement watches as these will definitely not mark high quality, and will probably wear down quickly.
3 | Look for actual watch focused brands
Typically in this price-point, you will come across a lot of “fashion” watches by designer brands that don’t necessarily specialize in watch manufacturing. If you’re looking for quality brands, stick to the following recommendations: Bulova, Citizen, Seiko, Birks (if you live in Canada), Shinola, and even Fossil.
4 | Solid Construction & Premium Materials
Focus on getting watches made out of Stainless Steel (316 L), and for the band, stick to steel and leather. Unless a brand uses a specialty style band such as the Bulova Curv (the rubber was an intentional choice, and they used the best quality rubber). Other key signs of solid construction include having a decent weight, not feeling flimsy to touch, embezzled (signed) crowns, buckles or clasps, functioning buttons, and in general – seamless manufacturing with no defects. Additionally, some brands will also add some bling to the watch, so in an ideal situation, you will want a watch with real diamonds (Bulova has a great selection).
5 | Dial Lumination
A sign of a quality watch in the entry-level range is whether or not the dial is illuminated (simplest terms: glow in the dark). If the lumination is weak when it is in the dark, it was most likely an after thought or the manufacture was cutting costs.