Buying guides

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BUYING A WATCH

We recognise that choosing a watch can be an overwhelming experience as there are so many things which need to be considered, whether the watch is for yourself or a present for somebody else. The main thing to consider when deciding is when and where you’ll be wearing it, as well as it’s functions, case shape and style.

Our glossary will help explain any technical terms you’re not familiar with when you’re looking at the finer details.

For smart watches, see our Wearable Tech buying guide

Watch movement

Auto & Self Winding Watches

Battery-free and powered by movement, normal daily wear will keep the watch wound up

Digital Watches

Displays time in the form of LCD numbers, and in doing so drains less battery than the dial and hands of an analogue watch

Eco-drive Watches

Powered purely by light, natural or artificial, the watch will sustainably run and recharge itself

Quartz or Battery Watches

Our most popular watch type, its precision timekeeping is unrivalled and will last until the battery needs replacing

Watch Style

Smart & Fitness Watches

Sturdily built and packed with features, these high-tech wearables will help you to stay connected and maintain your fitness goals

premium watches

Chosen often for long-term ownership or as an investment piece, the price tag will reflect the materials used

d

classic watches

Defined by modest and elegant styling, these wristwatches will still look good in years to come

c

Designer Watches

Whatever your taste or budget, our designer collection offers styles as diverse as the people who choose them

Washing machines

STRAPS

Watch straps are commonly available in four styles.
Most watch straps can be easily changed by a jeweller or watch repair shop.

Leather straps

  • Usually calf leather with a printed effect or exotic leather like genuine crocodile or ostrich
  • In rare cases, horse leather called shell cordovan might be used
  • Leather-look synthetic is also common
  • Different types of leather will have varying levels of softness, may be more or less hard-wearing, have a different texture and will develop a different patina (surface finish) over time
  • They fasten with a simple adjustable length buckle

    Shop Leather Watch Straps

Fabric and synthetic straps

  • Add a comfortable and casual edge to off-duty outfits
  • Can be paired with a contrasting high-end luxury watch
  • Usually fasten with a simple pin-buckle
  • Silicon straps are popular for a sporty look and are practical to keep clean

    Shop or Rubber or Silicone Straps

Metal bracelets

  • Composed of links of metal and usually found on dress watches
  • More substantial weight than leather, and traditionally worn slightly looser
  • Length can be adjusted by taking links out, but this requires specific tools
  • Some fashion watches do come with links you can undo yourself
  • Fastens with a deployment or foldover buckle on the inside of the bracelet, concealed when the watch strap is fastened

    Shop Metal Watch Straps | Stainless Steel

Bangle bracelets

  • Made of large, curved links or a solid piece of metal
  • Adds an elegant, jewellery-like feel to a watch
  • Opens and closes with a jewellery clasp or slips over the wrist
  • Measure your wrist carefully before ordering

WATER RESISTANCE

Water resistance is measured in water pressure and represented in units of 10 metres (m), or by Atmospheres (ATM).

10m of water is equivalent to one additional ATM of pressure.

Bear in mind though, that a watch will be tested in a laboratory.  Real world scenarios nearly always involve some sort of motion, whether it’s the motion of the watch, the water, or both combined.

We suggest the following as a guide to water exposure:

30m / 3ATM
Splash and rainproof. Can be exposed to water, but should not be submerged. Remove when swimming, bathing or washing up
50m / 5ATM
Can be fully submerged in water, so can be worn swimming, but may not be completely water-resistant when diving into the pool
100m / 10ATM
Can be worn for all pool swimming and shallow diving
200m / 20ATM
Suitable for pool swimming and most casual diving, but not deep sea diving
300m / 30ATM Suitable for pool swimming and most casual diving, but not deep sea diving
Watch water proof

GUARANTEES

Most of our watches carry a 2-year international manufacturer’s guarantee.
Please check the individual item for details. Remember to keep your receipt or delivery note safe

Manufacturers’ guarantees don’t cover:

  • Issues resulting from excessive physical damage to the watch (such as dropping on concrete or a hard surface)
  • Magnetic damage to the watch’s movement (being worn inside a medical or airport scanner, for example)
  • Damage resulting from improper exposure to water

BRANDS WE LOVE

GLOSSARY OF WATCH TERMS

A

Analogue - a display which uses continuously moving hands to represent the time

Arabic numerals - numerals expressed from 1 - 12

Atmosphere (ATM) - a unit in describing water resistance; 10 metres of water is equivalent to an additional atmosphere of pressure acting on the watch

Automatic - a watch movement which winds the mainspring when the watch is moved, sometimes called a kinetic movement

B

Band - a type of strap; a strip of material to which the watch is attached by the Lugs

Bangle - a jewellery-like bangle with a watch attached which either slips on the wrist, or secures with a hinged closure

Batons - slim, vertical hour markers

Battery - provides the electrical current which a quartz watch movement requires to operate

Bezel - the part of the case which surrounds the watch dial. Some watches feature a Rotating Bezel to measure time or speed.

Buckle - the mechanism which fastens the watch strap

C

Caliber - a specific model of watch movement, with an alphanumeric name

Case - the body of the watch, which contains the watch mechanism and dial

Chronograph - a stopwatch with smaller subdials which allows the user to track two different times simultaneously. Not to be confused with a Chronometer.

Chronometer - a rare type of watch which has been certified to precision standards by the COSC

Complication - an additional function of a watch beyond standard 12 or 24-hour timekeeping such as a date window, moon phase display or chronograph

COSC. - Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres,  a Swiss group which assesses whether a watch can be considered a Chronometer

Crown - the circular protrusion from the outside of the case, used to set the time of the watch when pulled out or wind the watch when flush with the case

Crystal - mineral or sapphire crystal watch faces have the transparency of glass, but with greater resistance to shattering and scratching; sapphire crystal is used in higher grade watches and can only be scratched by diamond and some artificial carbides

D

Dial - the section of the watch which displays the time, often used interchangeably with face

Digital - a display which uses discretely changing numerals instead of continuously moving hands

Diver’s watch - rugged with a level of water resistance greater than 10ATM, some high-quality watches will be completely sealed against water, with a screw-cap crown to prevent leakage

Deployment buckle - a folding buckle sometimes found on steel bracelet straps that are quick to remove and secure when fastened

 

Dual time -  a watch with a second hour hand that displays two time zones simultaneously

E

Ébauche - an unassembled watch movement

Escapement - a component in the movement which transfers power from the mainspring to the regulator to maintain accurate time

F

Foldover clasp - a clasp which collapses on itself, often closing with a safety catch

G

GMT - Greenwich Mean Time, which provides the basis for determining worldwide time zones

Grand complication - an extremely rare variety of watch with features which may include a chronograph, perpetual calendar and mechanical alarm

Guilloche - decorative engraving technique sometimes used on watch dials or movements on high-end watches

H

Hand-wound - a mechanical watch which requires the user to wind the mainspring

Heartbeat window - reveals the mainspring of the watch, allowing the wearer to see the watch’s mainspring coil and uncoil

Horology - the study of time

I

Indices - the symbols other than numerals used to denote the hour points on a watch face

J

Jewels - industrial rubies with a polished finish, incorporated into the bearings of the mechanism where pieces of metal need to rotate or move over each other smoothly

L

LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) - a commonly-used dial on digital watches, which uses an electrical field to form letters or numerals to regulate timekeeping

Lens - used interchangeably for face or dial

Light - an illumination function incorporated into the dial to enable the watch to be read in low light

Links - these form part of the bracelet and can be removed in order to adjust the length to fit your wrist

Lugs - the “arms” which protrude from the top and bottom of the watch case used to attach the strap

M

Magnetisation - a reduction in the accuracy of a mechanical watch movement, a magnetised watch should be serviced to restore accuracy

Mainspring - the primary spring in a watch where the potential energy is stored until it is is fully unwound

Mechanical - a watch movement that operates without batteries, using only moving parts such as cogs, levers and springs

Moonphase - tracks the waxing or waning of the moon; also a decorative feature

N

NATO strap - a fabric watch strap, that adds a more casual feel to a watch

Numerals - used to denote the hour points on the watch face, traditionally either Arabic (1 - 12) or Roman (I to XII)

P

Perpetual calendar - tracks and displays the day, date, month and year without requiring resetting for shorter months or leap years

Pin buckle - the simple pin-and-hole fastening used on leather watch straps

Physical Vapour Deposition (PVD) - a watch coating that provides an even coverage which is harder and more resistant to abrasion than plated metals

Power reserve indicator - a power reserve indicator records and displays how wound up the mainspring is and provides a warning when it needs winding

Q

Quartz - a watch movement that uses a battery running a current through a quartz crystal and keeps extremely accurate time

R

Radio-controlled - receives radio-controlled signals from a satellite transmitter to ensure highly accurate timekeeping, accurate to within one second

Retrograde - a display which resets back to zero once the cycle has completed.

Rotating bezel - a watch bezel which can be rotated, instead of remaining static

Roman numerals - hour markers of I - XII, associated with more classic-looking dress watches

Rotor - an eccentrically-weighted piece of metal that spins about when an automatic watch moves, providing the distinctive weight and sense of internal movement of an automatic watch

S

Sapphire crystal - see Crystal

Screw-cap crown - used to prevent water from leaking into the seams around the watch crown

Skeleton - a see-through window that allows the movement to be visible behind the hands

Shock-resistant - a watch designed to withstand gentle jolts during sport or leisure activities

Splashproof - a watch that can withstand splashing with water, but should not be fully submerged as water may enter the watch mechanism

Stopwatch - see chronograph

Sub-dial - a smaller dial set inside the main watch dial that might display the second, minute on a chronograph watch

Sunburst - a decorative engraved effect that creates fine lines emitting from the centre of the dial

Swiss-made ­- a legally protected term when describing watches which means that the movement is cased up and inspected in Switzerland; otherwise the watch may be described as having Swiss parts, but may not be described as “Swiss made”

T

Tachymeter - a numerical scale around a watch bezel, which can be used to calculate speed or distance of a moving object

U

Unidirectional bezel - a movable bezel with markings which can be used to measure elapsed time since a starting point, often found on diving watches

W

Waterproof - the International Organisation for Standardisation prohibits the use of the term “waterproof” when describing watches, see Water resistance.

Water resistance – a laboratory-assessed standard that details how well a watch can be expected to resist exposure to water without leaking

Window caseback - a case with a transparent back that allows the interior of the mechanism to be seen when the watch is removed

World time - allows the wearer to switch between time zones with the press of a button, ideal for frequent international travellers.