The Ultimate Watch Buying Guide: Your Complete Resource

Ultimate watch buying guide

Welcome to the ultimate watch buying guide, your complete resource for everything you need to know before making a purchase. Whether you’re a seasoned collector or a first-time buyer, choosing the perfect watch can be a daunting task. With so many styles, brands, and price points available, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. That’s why we’ve created this comprehensive guide to help you navigate the world of watches with confidence.

In this guide, we’ll cover everything from understanding the different types of watches and materials to evaluating brands and making your final decision. Our team of watch experts has curated the most important information you need to make an informed choice, whether you’re looking for a dress watch, a sports watch, or something in between.

At CALIBRE, we’re passionate about helping watch enthusiasts of all levels discover their perfect timepiece. With our ultimate watch-buying guide, you’ll have all the knowledge and resources you need to make an investment that you’ll cherish for years to come. So, let’s dive in and explore the world of watches together.

Understanding Different Types of Watches: A Comprehensive Overview

When it comes to watches, there are many different types and styles to choose from. From dress watches to dive watches, each category of timepieces has its own unique features and benefits. 

In this section, we’ll provide a comprehensive overview of the most common types of watches to help you make an informed decision.

Dress Watches

Audemars Piguet dress watch

Dress watches are typically elegant and understated timepieces designed for formal occasions. They often feature a thin case and a simple, uncluttered dial with no extra functions or complications. The straps or bracelets of dress watches are typically made of leather or precious metals like gold or platinum. Brands like Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, and Jaeger-LeCoultre are known for their high-end dress watches. Discover more interesting details about these classy pieces in our full guide to dress watches.

Sports Watches

Omega Speedmaster sport watch

Sports watches are rugged and durable timepieces designed for active individuals who need a watch that can keep up with their active lifestyle. They often feature a sturdy case, water resistance, and extra functions like chronographs or tachymeters. Brands like Rolex, Omega, and TAG Heuer are well-known for their sports watches. Learn more about sports watches.

Dive Watches

Rolex Submariner dive watch

Dive watches are designed to be used underwater and are typically water-resistant to at least 200 meters. They often feature a rotating bezel to help divers keep track of their time underwater and luminous hands and hour markers for easy reading in low-light conditions. Brands like Rolex, Omega, and Seiko are known for their high-quality dive watches. Take a look at our full guide to dive watches if you are interested in this style.

GMT Watches

Rolex Pepsi GMT watch

A GMT (Greenwich Mean Time) watch is a type of watch that displays two or more time zones simultaneously. This makes it ideal for travelers or those who need to keep track of multiple time zones at once. The GMT function is typically displayed on a separate 24-hour hand that circles the dial once every 24 hours. The GMT hand is usually colored differently than the other hands, making it easy to distinguish. The watch also has a rotating bezel or an additional subdial that allows you to adjust the GMT hand to a different time zone. GMT watches were originally designed for pilots and other frequent travelers, but they have since become popular with watch enthusiasts and collectors. If this type of watch sounds like it might be up your street, take a look at our comprehensive resource on GMT watches.

Pilot Watches

IWC Schaufhasen pilots watch

Pilot watches, also known as aviator watches, were originally designed for pilots and feature a large, easy-to-read dial with luminous hands and markers. They often have a chronograph function and a slide rule for performing calculations related to aviation. Brands like Breitling, IWC, and Bell & Ross are known for their high-quality pilot watches. Use our full guide to pilot’s watches if you want to find out more.

Field Watches

Hamilton field watch

A field watch is a type of watch that was originally designed for military use. Its primary purpose was to provide soldiers with a reliable and accurate timepiece that could withstand the rigors of combat and outdoor activities. Today, field watches are still popular for their durability, practicality, and classic aesthetic. Field watches typically have a simple and understated design, with a focus on legibility and functionality. The dial is usually clean and easy to read, with large and clear numerals and indices. The hands are often coated with luminescent material for easy reading in low-light conditions. The case is usually made of stainless steel or other durable materials and is designed to be water-resistant and shock-resistant. Field watches have an interesting history, learn more about field watches

Smart Watches

Generic smart watch

Smartwatches are a relatively new type of timepiece that combines traditional watch features with modern technology. They often feature a digital display that can show notifications, fitness data, and other information from your smartphone. Popular brands like Apple, Samsung, and Garmin are known for their high-quality smartwatches.

Understanding the different types of watches can help you choose a timepiece that meets your needs and style preferences. Consider your lifestyle and budget when deciding which type of watch to purchase, and always choose a brand with a reputation for quality and reliability. Our smartwatch resource will help you find out more information on these contemporary pieces.

How to Choose the Right Watch Size and Style for Your Wrist

When it comes to choosing the right watch, size and style are two of the most important factors to consider. 

A watch that’s too big or small can look awkward on your wrist, and a style that doesn’t match your personal taste can make you feel uncomfortable wearing it. In this section, we’ll explore how to choose the right watch size and style for your wrist.

Watch Size

The size of a watch is usually measured in millimeters (mm) and refers to the diameter of the case. Watch sizes can range from as small as 28mm to as large as 50mm or more. The size of the watch you choose should be based on your wrist size and personal preference.

If you have a small wrist, a watch with a case diameter of 38mm or less may be the best option. If you have a medium-sized wrist, a watch with a case diameter of 38mm to 42mm may be a good choice. And if you have a larger wrist, a watch with a case diameter of 42mm or more may be more suitable.

It’s important to note that the thickness of the watch case can also affect how it looks and feels on your wrist. A watch that’s too thick may feel bulky and uncomfortable, while a watch that’s too thin may look cheap and flimsy.

Watch Style

When it comes to watch styles, there are many different options to choose from. Some of the most popular styles include:

  • Classic watches are timeless and elegant, featuring simple designs with clean lines and minimalistic dials. They’re often made with high-quality materials like leather and precious metals.
  • Sports watches are designed for active individuals and feature rugged designs with extra functions like chronographs and tachymeters. They’re often water-resistant and built to withstand tough conditions.
  • Dress watches are formal and understated, featuring simple designs with thin cases and leather or metal straps. They’re often worn alongside business attire or for formal occasions.
  • Fashion watches are trendy and stylish, featuring unique designs and colors that are meant to stand out. They’re often made with inexpensive materials like plastic and are designed to be affordable and accessible.

When choosing a watch style, it’s important to consider your personal taste and the occasions you’ll be wearing the watch for. A classic or dress watch may be a good choice for formal events or the workplace, while sports or fashion watches may be more appropriate for casual occasions.

Materials Matter: A Guide to Watch Cases, Straps, and Movements

Watch materials

In this section, we’ll explore the different materials used in watch cases, straps, and movements, and what you should consider when making your purchase.

Watch Cases

The case is the outer shell of the watch and is responsible for protecting the movement inside. Watch cases can be made from a variety of materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages:

  • Stainless steel is the most common material used in watch cases due to its durability, scratch resistance, and affordability. It’s also easy to clean and maintain.
  • Titanium is a lightweight and durable metal that’s often used in high-end watches. It’s hypoallergenic and resistant to corrosion and scratches.
  • Gold is a luxurious and expensive material often used in high-end watches. It’s available in different colors, including yellow, white, and rose gold.
  • Platinum is a rare and expensive material used in only the most exclusive watches. It’s extremely durable and hypoallergenic.

Watch Straps

The strap is the part of the watch that goes around your wrist and holds the watch in place. Watch straps can be made from a variety of materials, each with its own benefits and drawbacks:

  • Leather straps are the most common type of watch strap and are known for their durability, comfort, and style. They’re available in a range of colors and textures.
  • Stainless steel straps are durable and easy to clean, making them a popular choice for sports watches. They can be adjusted to fit any wrist size.
  • Rubber straps are lightweight and comfortable, making them a great choice for sports watches. They’re also water-resistant and easy to clean.
  • NATO straps are made of durable nylon and are known for their strength and versatility. They’re also available in a range of colors and patterns.

Watch Movements

The movement is the internal mechanism of the watch that powers its timekeeping functions. There are two main types of watch movements:

Quartz Movements

Quartz movements are powered by a battery and are known for their accuracy and low maintenance. They’re also more affordable than mechanical movements.

Mechanical Movements

Mechanical movements are powered by a spring and are known for their craftsmanship and complexity. They’re more expensive and require regular maintenance.

Take a look at our guide to quartz movements to help clear the air around the technology, or have a look and see how digital watches work compared to analogue watches.

Evaluating Watch Brands: Quality, Reputation, and Value

Watch reputation and value

When it comes to buying a watch, choosing the right brand is just as important as choosing the right style and materials. The brand you choose can greatly affect the watch’s quality, reputation, and value. In this section, we’ll explore how to evaluate watch brands based on these factors.


The quality of a watch brand is determined by the materials used in its construction, the craftsmanship involved in its production, and the reliability of its movements. Here are some things to consider when evaluating a brand’s quality:

  • Materials: High-quality brands use only the best materials in their watches, including stainless steel, titanium, gold, and platinum.
  • Craftsmanship: Look for brands that take pride in their craftsmanship and pay attention to the small details that make a watch truly exceptional.
  • Movements: A brand’s movements should be accurate, reliable, and durable. Look for brands that use high-quality mechanical movements or precise quartz movements.


The reputation of a watch brand is important because it reflects the brand’s history, innovation, and customer satisfaction. Here are some things to consider when evaluating a brand’s reputation:

  • History: A brand with a long and respected history in the watch industry is more likely to have a good reputation for quality and innovation.
  • Innovation: Look for brands that are known for their innovative designs, materials, and movements. These brands are often at the forefront of the industry and offer unique and cutting-edge watches.
  • Customer Satisfaction: Read reviews and feedback from other customers to get an idea of how well the brand stands behind their products and how satisfied customers are with their watches.


The value of a watch brand is determined by the quality and reputation of its watches relative to their price. Here are some things to consider when evaluating a brand’s value:

  • Price: A brand’s watches should be priced fairly for the quality and features they offer. Look for brands that offer a range of watches at different price points to suit different budgets.
  • Resale Value: A brand’s watches should hold their value over time, meaning that they can be sold for a good price if you choose to part with them.
  • Warranty and Service: Look for brands that offer a warranty and good after-sales service. This will ensure that you’re getting the best value for your money and that your watch will be well taken care of.

When evaluating watch brands, it’s important to consider the quality, reputation, and value of their watches. Look for brands that use high-quality materials, have a good reputation in the industry, and offer good value for their price. Don’t be afraid to do your research and read reviews from other customers to ensure that you’re making the best choice for your budget and personal style. Better yet, why not try to find an affordable Swiss watch?

Making Your Final Decision: Factors to Consider Before Buying a Watch

In conclusion, when making your final decision on which watch to buy, consider the purpose, style, budget, brand, comfort, and features of the watch. Take the time to try on different watches and compare their features and prices. Remember that the right watch is not just a functional timepiece, but also a reflection of your personal style and taste.

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