Have you ever wondered “What’s the perfect watch for me?” Perhaps you framed the question like this: “Which watch should I buy?” Here’s a 10-step plan to help you find the one that’s perfect for you.
1. If you’re just starting out in the world of watches, visit online communities and ask questions. No, don’t ask “Which watch should I buy.” The forum participants don’t know you, so their advice is likely to be off the mark. Instead, ask specific questions about watches to build your knowledge. Ask questions based on the guidelines below. In any online community, keep in mind that the answers may reflect a built-in bias. Regular forum participants may have already formed strong brand allegiances. A site dedicated to a particular brand will be populated by devotees of that brand.
2. Make a list of the features and qualities you seek in a timepiece, prioritize them, and then look for watches that fit your list. Really think about the features. Will you use the watch in the water? Do you need to be able read it in the dark? Do you need a particular complication? Do you need a large date for better legibility? If you like to swap straps, do you need standard lugs? Will you trade overall legibility for a cool look? Are service costs a concern? The list goes on.
3. The more time you devote to the search, the happier you will be in the end. Avoid impulse purchases. Be methodical.
4. If at all possible, do not buy a given watch because you think it will please or impress other people. You can purchase any watch, and people will line up to tell you that you should have purchased their favorite watch instead. Putting your happiness in the hands of others is risky business. Learn to shrug off criticism. Be confident in your choices. The only opinion that counts is yours.
5. Every time you see an image of a watch you like, save it. Try to locate multiple images of the same watch. Don’t focus on professional beauty shots – try to find good live shots. Look at the saved images every day (or more often). Keep a list ranking your favorites. If a watch stays at the top for a while, it may be a winner. On the other hand, once you spot something that bothers you about a watch, you will notice it every time you look at the watch, so you should probably eliminate it from your list.
6. Do your best to pinpoint the two or three things about a watch that really make you like it. Don’t just say “It looks nice” – be specific. Once you do that, you can seek out other watches with those qualities.
7. Be as thorough as possible in your search. Nothing is worse than buying a watch, only to find one you like better the following week. (Though for some, that is a way of life. They are “flippers” or “catch-and- release” collectors who live for the hunt, and this article is not for them.) If you’ve found a watch you really like, visit the watch communities, tell the good people which watch that is, and ask them to recommend similar watches. In this regard, advice from others can prove useful.
10. Once you’ve made a decision, try it on for a few days (the decision, not the watch). Act as though you’ve already purchased the watch, and your search has ended. Any other watch you were thinking of buying is now beyond reach. Are you still happy with your choice?
Finding the perfect watch can be a challenge, but the hunt is part of the fun, and the right choice can bring years of enjoyment.
This article was originally published in 2014 and has been updated.