Characteristics of Quality Watches (2023)

Watches come in different styles and flavors. From cheap plastic watches to premium luxury watches made of exotic materials. Picking the right watch isn’t easy.

People often look at price as the sole indicator of quality. We can learn a lot about the watch by knowing how much it costs. But the price alone never tells the whole story. True, a cheap watch can never be high quality, but it gets hard to tell the difference as soon as we get to watches that cost a couple of hundred dollars and up.

We created this article to help you understand what makes a high-quality watch. We’ll look at the different materials used, and which movements are considered premium. We’ll also touch on watch straps and the design of the watch.

All these things determine the quality of the watch. If you know what you’re looking for, you might find the right watch for yourself and save some money in the process. Let’s start with watch materials.


While many watches look similar, they’re actually made of different types of materials. Some buyers don’t bother learning about materials when choosing the right watch. This is a common mistake we see. The material of the watch determines its durability. The better the material, the longer it will last. The material also determines how much care your watch needs. Make sure you pick the watch made of durable and low-maintenance materials.

The most common materials we find in wristwatches are stainless steel, titanium, ceramics, gold, carbon-fiber, plastic, and wood. Kids and digital watches are almost always made of plastic. While there’s nothing wrong with plastic watches, you shouldn’t expect them to last as long as metal watches.

Characteristics of Quality Watches (1)

On the other end of the spectrum, we have ceramic watches. Ceramic is a hardened form of clay. It’s heat and scratch-proof, making it a solid material choice for a watch. Ceramic is a popular choice for luxury watches because of its long-lasting shine. The main downside of ceramic watches is they aren’t as impact-resistant as stainless steel watches. The last thing you need is for your expensive watch to break.

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This brings us to stainless steel, the most popular watch material around. Stainless steel is durable, lightweight, has solid scratch resistance, resists corrosion, and keeps the shine for a long time. We have different finishings for stainless steel watches, with the two most popular ones being polish finishing and brush finishing.

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Characteristics of Quality Watches (3)

But not all stainless steel is made equal. Watches are constructed with different grades for stainless steel, and it’s important we know what different grading means. Stainless steel is classified based on the composition of steel and non-steel materials. Non-steel materials are added to prevent rusting. We classify steel into three distinct categories: 200, 300, and 900-series based on the composition. 900 series are used by Rolex watches.

At Ferro Watches, we use grade 316L stainless steel. This is a great material for wristwatches because it can withstand extreme temperatures and is very resistant to corrosion. It’s also allergy-safe and is even often used to make medical devices.

Another watch element we should mention when talking about materials is the construction of the inner case. Budget watches often use plastic movement holders inside the watch. This isn’t seen to the consumer since the plastic is held within the case. You will have to check the spec sheet to see what kind of material is used for the inner case.

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When you pair premium grade stainless steel case with scratch-resistant sapphire crystal and premium leather straps, you get a durable, great-looking quality watch.

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We can think of the watch movement system as the thing that keeps the watch going. What an engine is for a car, the movement is for the watch. The small parts within the watch ensure that the watch runs smoothly and always shows the correct time. It’s important to note there’s a huge difference between classic watches and smartwatches. Smartwatches use processors, not movements, to run.

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There are different variations of watch movements on the market, but most of them can be divided into three main categories - mechanical, automatic, and quartz.

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Mechanical movements are the oldest watch movements we know. It’s been around for decades. Most modern mechanical watches use the design known as the Swiss lever escapement. In simple words, a mechanical watch works by releasing stored energy from a spring that drives a series of gear that move the hands of the watch.

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What makes mechanical watches interesting is the craftsmanship that goes into making them. That’s why a lot of expensive luxury watches use this technology. And we shouldn’t forget about the wow factor that goes into wearing a watch built on traditional technology. are equipped with Swiss ETA 6498 mechanical movement.

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Automatic watches are very similar to mechanical watches. In fact, the interior mechanism is almost the same. The only difference is how automatic and mechanical watches are wound. Mechanical watches come with a crown that we have to wind, whereas, automatic watches do this automatically while we wear them. They have a rotor that uses oscillating weight to drive the spring.

Automatic movements have also been in use for decades. And they suffer from the same problems as mechanical watches - they aren’t the most accurate. Automatic watches also tend to be thicker than mechanical watches. They are generally more popular because you don’t have to wind them as often.

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The last movement type we need to examine is quartz movement. Seikocreated the first Quartz Watch in the late1960s. Quartz watches use a battery that sends an electrical impulse to the quartz crystal, which begins to oscillate because of the impulse. This oscillation, then drives the gear that moves the watch’s hands.

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This movement is by far the most accurate movement system around. The most precise quartz watches vary less than 5 seconds per year. That’s very accurate compared to two seconds a day in mechanical watches. Why is it then that luxury watches don’t use quartz movement? Well, it’s because they lack the craftsmanship and the tradition that goes into producing a mechanical watch. Call it romance, but true watch aficionados appreciate the labor that goes into traditional watches.

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Swiss, Japanese, and Chinese Movements

Let’s quickly stop and discuss the difference between Swiss and Japanese watch movements. Technically, there’s not a lot that separates the two movements. It all comes down to practicality and luxury. Swiss movements pride themselves on craftsmanship, while Japanese movements are focused on practicality.

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Japanese movements are mostly assembled on automated robotics lines. This almost eliminates the margin for human. Some say that Japanese movements look raw, while Swiss movements are clean and defined. The manufacturing process makes Japanese movements less expensive while providing the same, or better, accuracy.

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The last movement we need to mention is the Chinese movement. It was developed in the 1970s in China as a way to consolidate the technology used in Chinese factories. Today, the movement is mostly used in simple budget automatic watches. These movements are considered inferior compared to Swiss and Japanese movements in every category.

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So, which movement is the best? We can eliminate Chinese movements, but about Swiss and Japanese movements? Honestly, there’s no clear answer here. Both systems are very reliable and accurate. And both will work for a long time. Go with Swiss movements if you care for craftsmanship and go with Japanese movements if you want the best accuracy. In any case, it’s hard to go wrong with any of the two.

Watch Straps

Your watch strap is an important element of your wristwatch. Not only does it dictate how the watch feels on your wrist, but it also impacts the way the watch looks. A cheap strap will make the most luxurious watch look, well, cheap. That’s why you should look at the complete package when buying a wristwatch.

Leather straps continue their reign as the most popular material choice when it comes to wristwatches. The only exception are dive watches, where leather isn’t the best choice. Other popular materials for watch straps are nylon, rubber, and textiles.

Characteristics of Quality Watches (14)

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It’s hard to go wrong with a genuine leather strap that matches the design of your watch. We understand some people have reservations when it comes to leather straps. If you’re vegan or simply avoid animal products, you can opt for premium nylon straps that look and feel premium.

The most important thing is to make sure your watch strap matches your watch.

Aesthetic Design

One of the things that define the watch is the design. Even if the watch uses the finest mechanical movements and is made of the best materials, but the watch’s design looks cheap, everyone will think that the watch is low-quality.

It’s impossible to talk about aesthetics without noting the subjective taste. Everyone perceives what’s aesthetically pleasing differently. What we think is beautiful might not be your favorite.

We at Ferro Watches are huge fans of vintage watch designs. We have motorsport-inspired watches, pilot watches, and classic vintage-style watches. These types of watches never go out of style. They are sleek, minimalistic, and can be used with almost any outfit you’re wearing.

There’s nothing wrong with flamboyant designs and watches that grab our attention, but they aren’t for everyone. And there are only very specific situations when you can wear them. A classic watch will never go out of style. And as long as you take care of the watch, you can wear the same piece for the rest of your life.

You now know enough about watches to make a smart buying decision. If you take everything we shared with you into consideration the next time you’re buying a watch, you will be able to find a high-quality watch without breaking the bank.

Other things you can consider when buying a watch are the water resistance of the watch, the warranty it comes with, and the heritage of the manufacturer. Ferro watches come with two years warranty for manufacturing defects, and we solve all problems even if the warranty expires. Every watch is water resistant, and our brand name is synonymous with quality and reliability.

The best place to start your search for a new watch is on this website. We have a great selection of high-quality watches available for you. Are you a pilot watch guy? Or do you maybe crave speed and want a race inspired watch? How about a classic vintage dress watch? We have you covered. Hop on to our shop and pick your favorite.


What are three characteristics of digital wrist watch? ›

Features such as weather, water and shock resistance, compass and GPS, customizable alarms and reflector displays mean digital watches are dependable and practical companions for anything from hiking to camping to snorkeling.

What features does a watch have? ›

In general, modern watches often display the day, date, month, and year. For mechanical watches, various extra features called "complications," such as moon-phase displays and the different types of tourbillon, are sometimes included.

Who makes the best quality watch? ›

The World's Best Watch Brands, Explained
  • Timex. Your dad probably had a Timex (and his dad, too) but the brand has come a long way since the days of “It Takes a Licking and Keeps on Ticking.” ...
  • Tissot. ...
  • Swatch. ...
  • Casio. ...
  • Seiko. ...
  • Orient. ...
  • Richard Mille. ...
  • Cartier.
Oct 19, 2022

What are the four types of watches? ›

That being said, one of the most popular methods is different types of watches. The 5 most common of them are dress, field, pilot, dive, and racing, each with their own set of characteristics. If you're in the market for purchasing a watch, understanding these categories is an excellent way to narrow your search.

Why analog watches are better? ›

Mechanical and analog watches contain several features like – a stopwatch, moon phase dial and calendar. It enhances the internal complications in the clock design. In fact, you can also find a separate date display portion inside the dial in the analog timepieces.

What are the three types of watch? ›

There are three main watch movement types: manual, automatic and quartz.

What makes a watch more valuable? ›

A watch with a precious metal (gold or platinum) case is going to be worth a lot more than a watch with a steel or plated base metal case.

What gives a watch value? ›

Evaluating Your Watch's Condition

While brand, age, and rarity are all factors that can impact how much your watch is worth, none are more important than the condition. Timepieces are delicate and when neglected, it can cause damage to the numerous mechanics within.

What makes a watch hold its value? ›

This is due to brand recognition, exclusivity, popularity, quality, etc. The rest of the list contains the other usual suspects — watches that are the safest bets in terms of holding value, but not considered to be as sure things as Patek Philippe and Rolex.

What is the most important part of a watch? ›

One of the most important parts of a watch is the case, which refers to the housing of the watch. Materials can either be plastic, ceramic or metal. In luxury watches, you'll often find stainless steel, gold, silver or platinum casing. The case is the important structure that holds the inner parts of a watch.

What is important about a watch? ›

ACCOUNTABILITY. The whole essence of a wristwatch, the function of it is to tell the time. There are still fields in our industries where wearing a watch and time are extremely important. Pilots, Airline Stewardesses, Businessmen and women, Stock Brokers, Military Men, Home Designers, Caterers.

What is significant about a watch? ›

A WRISTWATCH IS AN ESSENTIAL TOOL that shapes the way its wearer experiences and perceives time. Watches can also serve as a fashion statement, a symbol of wealth, or a grim reminder of impending appointments throughout the up-and-coming day.

What is the most respected watch? ›

Patek Philippe consistently tops the list of best watch brands in the world and is a status symbol like no other. Founded in 1839, the Swiss company is the last family-owned independent watch manufacturer in Geneva.

What are the grades of watches? ›

For example, if, as a general rule, watches can be attributed gradings from 1 to 4 for the case, the dial and the movement, watches of less than 100 years old can be given grading 1 (as new), 3 (in very good condition), or 4 (in good condition).

Which is the No 1 watch in the world? ›

Must-Know Luxury Watch Brands
  • Patek Philippe.
  • Vacheron Constantin.
  • Audemars Piguet.
  • Blancpain.
  • Ulysse Nardin.
  • Jaeger-LeCoultre.
  • Omega.
  • Glashutte Original.

Which watch has the best accuracy? ›

The Google Pixel Watch is billed as Google's “most accurate” heart rate tracking watch (Google owns Fitbit). This model tracks heart rate once per second.

Which country produces best quality watches? ›

The Swiss are practically synonymous with watchmaking. After all, they have been hand-making their elite timepieces for hundreds of years (ultimately overtaking the German and the Dutch, who established the industry).

What are the big 5 watch brands? ›

  • Rolex: Rolex is one of the world's most well-known luxury watch companies. ...
  • Cartier: Cartier is another well-known luxury watchmaker. ...
  • Omega: Louis Brandt started Omega in 1848, and the company has been creating watches ever since. ...
  • Patek Philippe: ...
  • Audemars Piguet: ...
  • Blancpain:

What are the big 3 watch brands? ›

Also known as the 'Big Three', the holy trinity of watches includes Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, and Vacheron Constantin. These brands have been at the forefront of watchmaking, innovation, luxury, and continue to make watch news today.

Why Japanese watches are better? ›

Japanese Movement Watches

Japanese movements are very practical and much more cost-effective since they're typically made on automated assembly lines. But this doesn't mean they are lower quality. Through automation, companies can keep the cost of manufacturing lower while also creating a consistently precise movement.

Why are cheap watches better? ›

Cheap watches are easily manufactured, taking almost no time to produce massive numbers of products, hence their low price. The craftsmanship will be noticeably lower in various areas, such as in the casing, band/bracelet, and the watch hands. Conversely, an expensive watch will look and feel better.

Which is better analog or chronograph? ›

A chronograph watch has additional features aside from letting you know what time of day it is. A regular watch really just tells time in a, well, basic way. On the other hand, a chronograph watch has more complications and functions. It can stop, go, reset, and start again.

Is quartz movement better than automatic? ›

One main advantage of a quartz caliber is accuracy. Quartz movements are far more accurate than mechanical movements. Another benefit is convenience. Aside from a battery change every couple of years, a quartz watch will continue to run without the need to wear it or wind it.

What are watch features called? ›

In horology, a complication is any feature of a timepiece beyond the display of hours, minutes and seconds.

Are mechanical watches better than quartz? ›

ACCURACY. In terms of accuracy, it doesn't get much better than a quartz watch. That's not to say that mechanical watches aren't accurate. To add some context to our first statement, a mechanical watch will lose between 5 and 10 seconds per day, while a quartz watch will lose around 4 seconds per month.

How do you tell if a watch is a good investment? ›

If a watch model is a limited edition, this creates a feeling of exclusivity that adds to the value. If you do manage to get your hands on one, it's likely there'll be someone ready to buy from you — typically for a better price. As a result, limited editions are usually well worth investing in.

What makes one watch more expensive than another? ›

Generally speaking, because of the nature of their movements, mechanical watches are more expensive than quartz watches. However the other components of the watch can also be decisive in terms of price. The production of quartz or mechanical movements is at the cutting-edge of technology.

What type of watches appreciate in value? ›

Luxury watches can appreciate in value, but usually, this only applies to mechanical watches. Rolex, TAG Heuer, Omega, and Breitling watches lead the pack as far as value appreciation goes. When choosing an investment watch, make sure to research the model and materials.

Do watches lose their value? ›

Like cars, watches have also been known to lose their value the minute they leave the showroom. While this is true for most cases, some luxury watch brands still retain their value, and there are some that actually appreciate their original worth.

Which watch does not lose value? ›

Here are a few brands whose watches tend to hold their value quite well on the secondhand market: Rolex. Patek Philippe. Audemars Piguet.

What watch brands increase or retain value? ›

OMEGA Speedmaster, Patek Philippe Nautilus, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak, and Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso are each icons of well established brands. This stability of a model within a stable brand brings more attention to the watch and the more people know a model the more it will retain the value.

Which luxury watch is a good investment? ›

Luxury watches that are suitable for investments

Any guesses? Watches in high demand from established & popular brands generally tend to hold their value or even appreciate over time. Brands such as Rolex, Omega, Patek Philippe & Audemars Piguet fit these criteria.

Why are luxury watches important? ›

Luxury Watches Demonstrate Fine Craftsmanship

On the other end of the spectrum, luxury watches are made by skilled artisanal horologists with years of experience and rigorous quality inspection protocols. Moreover, luxury watches are often Swiss-made, meaning that they have years of history and a reputation to uphold.

What are the essential parts of a watch? ›

Top 10 Watch Parts and Components
  • Dial or Watch Face. The dial is the technical term for the watch face.
  • Sub Dial. On most fashion watches the sub-dial acts as a seconds counter. ...
  • Bezel. The Bezel is the metal ring around the dial. ...
  • Strap or Bracelet. ...
  • Lug Ends. ...
  • Hands. ...
  • Clasp or Buckle. ...
  • Crown or Button.

What does a watch say about you? ›

Regardless of the style of watch, people who wear watches are seen as dependable and reliable. To others, seeing a watch on someone's wrist says that that person is punctual and values not only his or her time but other people's time. After all, time is money, friend.

What is the principle of watch? ›

A mechanical watch is powered by gears and springs. It uses calibrated motion to regulate time. The basic principle behind a mechanical watch is as follows; the user turns the crown of the watch to wind a spring (called the mainspring), and this spring puts force on the first gear in a train of gears.

What are the qualities of Rolex watch? ›

A Rolex watch must work perfectly and maintain its beauty even in the harshest environments. That is why Rolex uses Oystersteel, a steel alloy specific to the brand. Oystersteel belongs to the 904L steel family, which is particularly resistant to corrosion and acquires an exceptional sheen when polished.

What is the most sought after watch? ›

Most Sought After Luxury Watch Brands
  • Audemars Piguet. Since its founding in 1875 in the Vallée de Joux, near Geneva, Audemars Piguet has grown to be considered one of the best watch brands across the world. ...
  • Chopard. ...
  • Cartier. ...
  • Piaget. ...
  • Vacheron Constantin. ...
  • Patek Philippe.
Dec 20, 2022

Are watches still a good investment? ›

A luxury watch on the wrist can have much more value than its style and attractive look. Luxury watch investment has a great ROI if done wisely. Statistics prove that it is the best form of investment nowadays, surpassing real estate, stocks, and gold investments. YES!

Why is Rolex high quality? ›

Rolex is famous for its quality control. The watches get tested at several points during development and production. From water resistance and shocks to aging, everything is tested and optimized. Superlative Chronometer testing is another example.

How much is the cheapest Rolex? ›

How much is the cheapest Rolex? The cheapest Rolex for women is the Oyster Perpetual Reference 276200 that costs $5,300 MSRP. For the men is the Oyster Perpetual Reference 126000 at $5,800 MSRP.

What is the difference between a normal watch and a Rolex? ›

Rolex Watches are High-End, Luxury Timepieces

Rolex watches are not just expensive; they're luxurious. Rolex is a status symbol that many high-end watch brands strive for, but few achieve. Rolex watches are made with hard-wearing materials that can survive everyday wear and tear without wearing them out.


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