Watches buying guide
Watches are no longer just a timekeeping accessory. With many different features and styles available, what do you want your watch to say about you?
- Dress watches
Elegant and stylish, a dress watch adds the finishing touch to your look. Adding a smart look for day and evening wear, dress watches feature clean styling and sophisticated lines, together with chic bracelets and classic leather straps.
- Sports watches
For the active lifestyle, sports watches not only have sporty styling, but provide specific functionality such as a chronograph or high level water resistance to suit the needs of their wearer. These watches are rugged and have stopwatch features as standard.
- Fashion watches
Fashion never stands still and fashion watches reflect the latest colours and designs off the catwalks in a functional timepiece.
- Kids and character watches
Kids are never too young to learn to tell the time, and coming in a huge variety of bright designs with fun characters these watches make it fun.
The watch you choose needs to be suited to your needs when you intend to wear it.
Water resistance is not the same as waterproof, and only watches marked “divers” on the dial should be used for diving. The water resistant rating refers to still water; moving water such as swimming pools and the sea tend to give the waterproof seals on the watch a firmer test. The table below gives a useful guide to how much your watch can take before its water resistance is compromised.
|Water resistance rating||Suitability|
|Water resistant 30m||Splash-resistant|
|Water resistant 50m||Showering, fishing and light swimming|
|Water resistant 100m||Recreational surfing, swimming, snorkelling, sailing and water sports|
|Water resistant 200m||Professional marine activity and serious surface water sports|
|Diver's 100m/200m/300m||Suitable for scuba diving at depths not requiring helium gas|
|Diver's 300+m helium safe||Suitable for saturation diving in a helium-enriched environment|
Automatic and quartz watches
The movement is the inner workings or assembly of the watch that makes up the main timekeeping mechanism, with most watches having either quartz or an automatic movement.
Automatic movements use a series of gear mechanisms that are wound up automatically by the movement of your wrist throughout the day. Depending on the winding reserve, the movements wind down again within 10 to 72 hours if the watch is not worn.
Quartz movements are battery powered, and will work continuously until the battery wears out.
Watch strap materials
The watch strap material needs to be practical, as well as looking good on your wrist. If your strap is likely to come into regular contact with water or perspiration, a resin or rubber strap will be more practical than leather.
The watch casing
The durability of a watch is often determined by what the case is made from. Stainless steel is very popular as it is both durable and rust resistant, and titanium watches have become popular for sports watches due to their strong and lightweight design.
This glossary provides a brief explanation of the various watch terms:
- Bezel: the upper part of the watch that surrounds the face and secures the crystal in place.
- Bracelet: a metal wrist strap made of steel, gold or other metal.
- Case: this is the shell that holds the moving parts of the watch. This is often partly or fully waterproof.
- Chronograph: a build in stopwatch function, particularly useful in sports watches.
- Crown: this is the small, round serrated knob (or winder) usually located at the 3 o'clock position that's pulled out and rotated to set the time and the date.
- Crystal: the transparent protective covering that fits tightly over the face of the watch. This is held in place by the bezel, and is made from plastic, glass or synthetic sapphire.
- Dial: the face of an analogue watch, which is where the hour markings can usually be found.
- Gold-plating: a layer of gold over a metal surface, being a less expensive and lighter alternative to solid gold, making it more comfortable to wear than a genuine gold watch would be.
- Liquid-crystal display(LCD): a digital display in a liquid layer sandwiched between a pair of clear crystals.
- Nickel: all of our watches meet the British Standards requirements for nickel.
- Quartz: the movement measures the vibrations in a piece of quartz, and is often powered by a battery.
- Stainless steel: a durable material used for higher quality watchcases and bracelets. It is hypoallergenic as it does not contain any nickel.
Your watch needs care and regular maintenance to ensure it remains accurate and in the best condition. It's advisable to refer to the user manual or warranty in order to get the best results.
- Quick Tips
Prevent your watch coming into contact with water, salt water, chemicals, solvents and gas as these can all damage the watches materials.
If water or condensation appears inside the watch face, get it checked by a watch specialist.
Try not to wear your watch in extreme temperatures, as this can shorten the battery life. Extreme cold can cause a watch to gain or lose time.
Although most watches are designed to be shockproof, avoid extreme impact to your watch.
- Battery replacement
Only Quartz watches run on batteries, and these batteries can last anywhere from one to several years before it will need replacing.
- Cleaning your watch
Clean out any dirt in the bracelet or casing of the watch and use a cloth to wipe it clean. Water resistant watches can be washed in warm soapy water, but it is advised to check the manufacturers' instructions beforehand.
- Servicing your watch
In order for your watch to keep accurate time, a watch needs to be regularly serviced by a professional.
- Water resistanct watches
Don't press any of the buttons or pull out the winder underwater, and if the case, glass or seal is damaged it will no longer be water resistant. Batteries should be replaced by the manufacturer so the water resistant seals can be checked and renewed.
- Watch straps
To keep your watch strap looking new for longer, it is advised to avoid wearing perfume and moisturisers around your wrist, as these can erode metal, leather and plastic watchstraps. Keep your watch away from direct sunlight as this fades leather and plastic straps, and finally, loosen your watch strap in the summer to reduce perspiration and to avoid skin rash.