1. Do your Homework
A man’s purchases split into two main categories. There are those you make on impulse like, say, duty-free booze. Then there are those that you agonise over for days like a new car or your Fantasy Football line-up. A new watch belongs in the latter category. After all, you’ll be living with it for decades to come.
Do your homework and familiarise yourself with different brand offerings by perusing a trusted online source.
2. Get up close
Buying online can make sense in terms of value and selection. But it’s always worth checking out a potential buy in the flesh and actually trying it on.
“The best way to judge a watch is to experience it in person,” insists Adi Soon, editor of watch magazine Revolution. This “live experience” is crucial to get a better feel for the watch and evaluate its size in proportion to your wrist.
“It’s like going on a date with someone you’ve only met online,” Soon says. “You want to be sure of how much the fantasy of your imagination deviates from reality.”
3. Safe not sorry
When making your first serious watch purchase, aim to think long-term. “Playing it safe is always a good strategy,” Soon says. “You want to get something from a reputable brand with a timeless style that you can live with for a long time.”
An understated dress watch or classic diver, for example, offers the versatility to synch with anything in your wardrobe. Once you’ve got the basics covered, you can start to branch out.
4. Optional extras
“Complications are defined as any function of a watch other than the hours and the minutes,” Soon explains. These push up the price dramatically. Chronographs (watches with a stopwatch function) and GMTs (watches with a second hour hand for a different time zone) are among the more basic complications.
Don’t get dazzled by whiz-bang features you’ll hardly ever use. That planetarium function may look pretty cool, but do you really need to know the shifting positions of planets in the solar system as they orbit the sun? “Define what you need from a watch, and look for one that has those complications,” says Soon.