What is a quality watch?

The important characteristics of a good watch.

A watch is something personal. Everyone has their own taste in design and style. Therefore, we do not want to say what a good or bad watch is, but what the signs of a quality watch are in general. And how these signs are easily identifiable. A little side note is that we are mainly looking at an affordable watch (up to € 300,-).

See bottom of this page for shortened “Quality Watch Checklist.

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1. MATERIAL OF A WATCH

A quality watch is at least made of Stainless Steel. A titanium or ceramic watch is harder / better, but those watches also have a more expensive price tag. Stainless steel compared to ‘normal’ steel can not be affected by moisture and perspiration. Also, getting skin irritation is rare with an stainless steel watch.

Furthermore, a PVD coating is important to ensure that a watch (rose) gold, silver or black reserves its color. A watch without coating may discolor within a year by frequent use. The used materials are often displayed on the back of a watch. Note: Stainless steel (watch) back indicates that only the watch back is made of stainless steel.

In addition, the weight of the watch may also be a sign of quality. It gives an indication of how solid the used steel is and what kind of movement is used.

Further, the better watch brands use 316L stainless steel, which has a higher purity level. The kind of stainless steel and PVD coating is often not marked on the watch. To make sure the kind of stainless steel, you can always check with the seller. But if it is a more expensive brand you can assume that is will be alright.

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2. KIND OF WATCH GLASS

A quality watch always has sapphire glass. Of course it is depending on the kind of purpose of your watch. Sapphire glass maintains clear and scratch free after frequent (violently) use. Crystal glass or mineral glass will be suffice for an average watch. Furthermore, a watch with this kind of glass will often be € 20,- cheaper, but its also more susceptible to scratches. If use is made of sapphire glass, it appears on the dial or back of the watch.

3. THE WATCH MOVEMENT

A good, affordable watch has a quartz movement or a certified mechanical movement ( COSC ). You will almost always find a quartz movement (watch powered by a battery) in good watches under € 300,-. An major advantage of quartz is that there are less moving parts required. This makes watches more accurate and affordable.

Dutch watch brand Prisma uses Miyota, Seiko and Ronda movements. These brands have proven themselves over time. They are known fro their durability and value for money. These movements have often, if maintained properly, a lifetime of a few decades.

Rarely is a mechanical watch under € 10,000.- handmade. Modern mass production of movements has resulted in a quality that is unbeatable by human hands.

4. WATER RESISTANCE OF A WATCH

10 ATM water resistance is associated with a quality watch.  Almost nothing is more damaging to a watch than water. So waterproofing is inextricably linked to a good watch.  The same as with materials and movements, water resistance also has varying degrees.

10 ATM water resistance means that the watch is resistant to 100 meters (or 10 bar) pressure. This makes it a good watch for swimming. 5 ATM (showering) and 3 ATM (washing hands) are also water resistance degrees. A watch must be at least 3 ATM waterproof to offer some comfort. Also, water resistance is often indicated on the back of the watch.

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THE WATCH STRAP

Above features focused on the watch case. With water resistance, we can make a leap to a good strap. We advise to minimize water contact with a leather strap (which is not waterproof). Furthermore, it is important that the band fits well with the watch case. The seams are meant to be symmetrical and narrow.

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5. ALSO AN AFFORDABLE WATCH HAS A BEAUTIFUL FINISH

Finally, we can say that a quality watch, besides the above mentioned characteristics, has a nice finish. This is the difference between a cheap and affordable watch. It should feel comfortable and nicely finished. The details have to form together a compelling, attractive whole. You don’t see any unusual bumps, loose index or some other form of poor workmanship? Than we can also speak in appearance of a good quality watch.

6. THE NAME AND HERITAGE OF A WATCH BRAND

This is a dangerous topic to write about, as being a watch brand with a rich history. However, we hear too often that someone has bought a watch from a watch brand that no longer exists within two years. This can always happen and it should definitely not stop you from buying the watch.  But if something is wrong with your newly purchased watch, a good brand can just give that extra bit of security to deliver spare parts for example. Please do not hesitate to take a few moments to look into the watch brand.

QUALITY WATCH
CHECKLIST

AFFORDABLE WATCH

Overall, there are five basic features that every quality watch should have, regardless of price.

  • Material is at least (316L) stainless steel (titanium of ceramic) with PVD coating.
  • Scratchproof sapphire glass (for frequent use)
  • 10 ATM water resistance
  • Good quartz movement (Miyota, Seiko, Ronda) or a certified mechanical movement.
  • A nice finish; no unusual bumps or loose parts
INTERESTING TO CONSIDER:
  • A date indicator
  • Glow in the dark index or hands
  • The name and heritage of the brand. Do they still exist in two years to provide any spare parts?

Do you have a watch with a leather strap which is not waterproof or you don’t expect to go swimming with your watch?  In that case, 3 or 5 ATM water resistance should be enough to wash your hands. If you will not easily bump the watch, you can opt for mineral glass or crystal glass instead of scratch-resistant sapphire glass.

SURVIVAL WATCH

Are you looking for an extremely strong watch? Take these extra options with you in a decision:

  • Crown protector
  • Screw crown
  • 10 ATM or 20 ATM
  • Arabic numerals
  • Quartz movement with EOL function
  • Fixed push pins (springbar without collar)

It is also essential that there is a roating bezel applied for a good divers watch. There are many features that are important for a specific purpose (eg GPS function for running). First, think about the purpose of your watch and the decision will be much easier. Ultimately, it will always be different for each person what the best watch available is.

4 replies on “What is a quality watch?

  • carl scutt

    Hey there,

    That’s a really nice checklist and will serve any watch buyer very well. You have inspired me to add a similar post on my blog site dedicated to sourcing affordable watches online.

    Cheers
    Carl

    • Prisma Watches

      Thank you sir for your comment, much appreciated!
      Glad to hear you received some value from this blog post.
      Sharing this link would be awesome :).
      Have a great day!

  • Ridley Fitzgerald

    It’s good to know how to find a great watch. I want to buy my son one for his graduation, but I’ve never really bought quality watches before. I didn’t even know that sapphire glass was a thing, but now I know! Scratches on the screen are a pain, so that glass would be really nice.

  • Callum Palmer

    A watch can make for a fantastic gift, but there is a lot that you have to keep in mind when choosing one. I particularly like that the article reminds readers to choose a watch with high-water resistance. After all, while most people are smart enough to not dunk their watch in water, you still want to protect them in case of an accident.

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