A watch does so much more than tell time – it is a commemoration of an event or milestone, a
status symbol, a show of wealth, a lifestyle aspiration.
Buying your first luxury watch can be a leap of faith. This is your watch spend guideline from
Chronoexpert.com – how much to spend on your first watch. It’s a tricky question, but read on
and we hope you’ll find some confidence as a first time buyer.
Look for Value
Say you have $20 thousand to spend on a watch – you could blow it all on a brand new Rolex
Cosmograph Daytona or you could maximize your buying power and find a dressy Cartier plus a
sporty Rolex on the pre-owned market. Why get bored with one watch when you can afford to
mix it up?
Know what you can afford and manage your expectations when it comes to buying your first
watch. They are, after all, a luxury – nobody needs a watch to tell time anymore, do they, not
now we have our Iphones. When deciding how much to spend on your first watch, look for the
best value for your budget.
Perform a quick budget exercise – calculate your monthly income minus your monthly expenses
to come up with a budget for luxury spending, including a new watch. Now that you have a clear
picture, you can begin to set a small amount aside each month for this purchase. Financing can
also be an option to ease your new watch into your monthly expenses.
Now that you have the general guidelines, let’s get to the spend guideline and what you can
expect for different levels of luxury watches depending on your budget.
Buy for Love
There is nothing worse than regretting an impulse buy, a watch that sounded good and looked
good on paper but one that you hate to wear. It’s too big, it doesn’t have the right functions, you
are confused by all the bells and whistles, whatever the reason. No matter your budget, make
sure you love the watch you decide on and that you will enjoy wearing it.
Level 1 – Under $1,000
While there are other hot topics on what goes into a quality watch, these are a few important
things to make sure of with a budget of under $1,000.
1. Crystal – most watches in this price range offer mineral glass or synthetic sapphire
crystals. While mineral crystals are cheaper and tend to crack instead of shatter, they are not as
scratch resistant as synthetic crystals.
2. Construction – make sure the metal is solid rather than folded in the construction of the
bracelet as well as the case. Avoid plastics or hollow construction, which will not be as durable.
Make sure the strap or bracelet fits properly and that the watch feels solid on the wrist, a
smoothly rotating bezel, and no rattling when you move your arm as normal.
3. Movement – Swiss-made movements are known worldwide for their high quality, and
Japan’s movements are of high quality as well. At this price point, it is wise to stick to
movements from these two countries if possible. Expect to find a lot of choices in quartz
movements as well as plenty of mechanical movements from which to choose.
Level 2 – $1000 to $25,000
Save for some special editions, most watches in this budget will be mechanical movements. If it
is quartz, make sure it is a special type like Breitling Professional Emergency, with the
Superquartz movement, guaranteed to be accurate to 5 seconds per year. In addition to the
guidelines for the lower budget watch, at this price point look for:
1. Certification – not all watches in this range have chronometer certification, but those that
do include a reputation for reliability and a higher value. Certification or COSC is a rigorous
testing that a watch is put through in different positions and conditions, testing how accurate the
2. Finishes – watches at this price point will often include an anti-glare coating on the dial,
screwed links in the bracelet, and a fine polish to the finish on the case and all metal parts.
3. Brand – there are hundreds of watch companies out there and some brands are
household names. Rolex, for example, is one such brand. At this price point, look for a brand
with history and reputation for well designed, innovative, iconic styles, or other claims to fame.
4. Market – Rolex, as already mentioned, Breitling, Omega, and other brands are known to
have a lively pre-owned market, most of these models retain their value over time or increase.
Do your homework and get a brand and model with good market potential.
Level 3 – $25,000 and Up
Congratulations if this is your budget – the sky is the limit! Watches in this price range will have
options such as precious metals and natural diamonds and jewels, complication options such as
perpetual calendars, moon phases, multiple time zones, and more. These watches will typically
have the seal of Geneva, as they satisfy the stringent rules of Swiss law to claim high-end
No matter your budget, Chronoexpert.com has the perfect watch to fit your life and your
expectations. The great thing about buying your first luxury watch is that today’s pre-owned
market is lively and exciting, with new buyers just like you ready to take the leap. You can also
find some great deals! Get in touch with our experts and professionals and become a first-time
watch buyer. We’ve have a whole host of happy customers who have benefited from our wide
range & expert advice.