Buying a watch from an online retailer can be very challenging at times. Generally, you only have pictures available to make a decision. There are also many other factors that go into the decision: style, quality and of course price.
Before getting started, you need to establish a budget. This is important as it can determine whether you want to purchase a quartz or mechanical watch. Here are some basic features to look for in your quest to finding that perfect watch.
1. The Movement – Swiss or Japanese? The movement is the heart of the watch and it’s important to know where and who manufactured the movement. Watches that bear the “Swiss Made” mark on the dial use Swiss movements, most likely made by ETA or Ronda, and are assembled in Switzerland. Japanese movements, like the popular Miyota, are typically manufactured by companies like Seiko or Citizen.
2. Type of Crystal The watch crystal is the transparent glass that covers the dial of the watch. Most watches will have one of two types of crystals; mineral glass or sapphire crystal. Sapphire crystals are incredibly scratch-resistant and preferred most of the time.
3. Case material The watch should feel solid with good construction and the case material should be made from grade 316L stainless steel. If the watch has a stainless steel bracelet, the links should be solid not hollow. This may be determined by looking at the side of the link. Solid bracelets feel heavier and have pins in the first few links, a hollow bracelet will have a folded piece of metal and feel lighter.
4. Signed Buckle Or Clasp A good watchmaker will often laser engrave or “sign” the watch with their name or logo on the buckle or deployment clasp in addition to the dial. This minor, yet sometimes overlooked detail, completes the watch design for the watchmaker. Another extra to look for are colored engraved rotors found on mechanical watches with presentation (open) case-backs. These small features show the quality and attention to detail of the watchmaker.
5. Buyer Protection Since you are not able to see the actual watch until you receive it, review the return policy and guarantee periods. Most companies provide a 2 year guarantee and a return policy of up to 30 days. However, some companies offer longer periods.