Advice & Guides
Choosing a watch can be overwhelming with so many designs and styles available. Watches have progressed immensely since the days of the classic mechanical movement watch, with cutting-edge technology featuring in today’s options.
Whether you’re looking for a classic, luxury timepiece or an innovative, tech-fuelled watch, we’ve put together a guide on key features to look for, to help you decide which option is perfect for you.
One of the first things you should do when looking for a watch is to identify your budget. Knowing this will allow you to establish what you can get based on how much you want to invest. It’s said that, for some, a watch is like buying a car, with design taking precedence, whereas, for others, it's all about simple practicality. At Browns, the price of a watch can range anywhere from around £15 to upwards of £125,000.
If you’re on a budget of below £250, fashion brands, like Daniel Wellington, Olivia Burton, Cluse, Armani, Hugo Boss and more, offer a stylish selection of pieces We stock a vast range of watches from the likes of these brands, often costing around the £100 mark or less.
If you have a taste for luxury brands, like Rolex or Omega, but have a smaller budget, there are plenty of more accessible watch brands that boast similar swiss style, such as Roamer of Switzerland, Bulova, Victorinox, Citizen and more.
If your budget allows for four figures then you can set your sights on the likes of high-end brands like Omega, TAG Heuer, Breitling and Rolex. These brands famously use hand-crafted mechanical movements, made with high-quality materials built to last a lifetime.
Top tip: If you spot two very different watches at a similar price, it's a good idea to find out what movements they have. As mechanical movements are usually more expensive, if you opt for a quartz movement, you can often get more functions in for your budget.
Described as the heart of the watch, the movement is the powerhouse behind any timepiece. Traditionally, a watchmaker pours most of their time on interior of the watches design, carefully crafting a mechanism that will define a watch. Here are the different watch movement types.
The mechanical movement is the original of the timepiece systems, with its components working around a mainspring. This type of mechanism needs winding by hand daily in order to work. While this older system experienced a dip in popularity what with the birth of new movements, it has regained resurgence in the last 25 years.
An automatic movement is similar to the mechanical movement, in that it works around a mainspring. However, this system cleverly uses the natural movement of the wearer to energise itself so it does not need to be wound-up.
Powered by battery, a quartz movement is known for its accuracy and low maintenance. An electric current intelligently powers the watch’s hand through vibrations. This style of movement became very popular during the 70s and 80s, which at the time stopped many people buying mechanical watches. Being a fairly lower value option, quartz movements are often found in fashion watches.
A solar movement can be powered by both artificial and natural sunlight, continuously allowing the battery to recharge over time. As you can imagine, this is the most environmentally-friendly choice which is prevalent in today’s society.
The kinetic movement is simply powered by the flick of a wrist. This swift movement is converted into electrical power and then stored in a self-charging battery. This requires very little effort from the wearer.
Perhaps you’ve always had a benchmark watch brand in mind and you’re waiting for the right time to buy it, or, you may still need to do your research to find the right one. We’re proud to stock watches from some of the most on-trend fashion brands, to some of the most desired and specialist watch brands in existence.
While a brand’s reputation and style points are likely to dominate your final choice, it’s important to consider which brands have the features you’re looking for.
If you like to keep up with the latest trends, fashion watch brands will fulfil your needs with designs inspired by the catwalk. We stock watches from a range of designer fashion brands, including Tommy Hilfiger, Lacoste, Calvin Klein and others. These options successfully combine style and affordability.
At the upper end of the scale, luxury watch brands are known for their prestige which often aligns with the owner's lifestyle choice. Combining innovative technology and exquisite designs, we have a spectacular range of watches from the most indulgent brands. Here’s more about some of the most iconic watches available:
Omega is not only known for being the official Olympic timekeeper, working with sporting elites like Rob McIlroy. Omega’s Speedmaster watch was worn by astronaut Walter Schirra during the ‘Sigma 7’ mission in 1962, making it the first watch brand to go to the moon. It later became officially certified by NASA for all manned missions. With the most technically advanced mechanical movements in the watch industry, Omega is a true frontrunner.
Breitling is one of the few Swiss watch brands to craft a portion of its mechanical chronograph movements in-house. Favoured by people in a variety of challenging environments, from high-flying pilots to deep-water divers, the practicality of the watches makes the brand very true to its strapline ‘instruments for professionals’.
TAG Heuer is something of a motorsport icon and has set the bar in chronology. Worn by the likes of Leonardo Dicaprio, Cameron Diaz and Steve McQueen, both of the brand’s Carrera and Monaco designs are two of the most famous watch models on the market.
Rolex is the most recognised watch brand in existence, famed for its quality, efficiency and design. This watch brand comes with a string of firsts, including not only being the first watch to self-wind and feature the date, but also the first watch to break the sound barrier when worn by pilot Chuck Yeager in 1947. Rolex has also shown its innovation throughout history, as the first brand to go to a 100-metre depth in water, as well as reaching the summit of Mount Everest.
Developments in technology have allowed watches to move beyond their basic time and date telling features. One of the most important things you need to think about when deciding on a watch is its functionality within your lifestyle. Whether you’ll be wearing in the office every day, or it’ll be accompanying you on an action-packed adventure, identifying what you’ll need a watch to do will help you get the most out of its function.
If sports or being active is an important part of your lifestyle, then it’s worth looking for the following functions in a watch:
A tachymeter cleverly calculates speed over a known distance which is a useful function for sports watches, and those wishing to track the speed of their physical activities, from cycling to sailing.
As well as keeping time, a chronograph watch can be used as a stopwatch, which is ideal for anyone who enjoys running or going to the gym. This type of watch includes a second hand with a flyback function, allowing it to be reset to zero to start timing again. Some chronographs even have split timing with two hands, one that keeps going and one that can be stopped, allowing you to mark lap times.
For those who consider travel or outdoor pursuits a big part of your life you should look out for the following functions:
A barometer is used to accurately forecast weather by intelligently measuring atmospheric pressure to establish how the weather will change. As you can imagine, this is ideal for outdoor quests.
Like a barometer, an altimeter watch is perfect for outdoor pursuits with its ability to measure altitude; a useful function for skiing or mountain climbing.
Water-resistance is an important function to think about if you’re a keen swimmer or diver. This feature means your watch is water-tight and protected in moist conditions, but it’s important to take note of how many metres the watch can withstand. For example, if you’re a scuba diver, you’ll need a watch that can go down to no less than 200 metres. Here’s a scale to help you:
30 metres = Splash-proof
50 metres = Light swimming
100 metres = Snorkelling
200 metres = Scuba diving
500 metres+ = Professional driving
Although a watch may be rated at 30m water resistance, it doesn’t mean it can be immersed at this depth. This is simply the results from manufacture tests in a perfectly optimum environment, however, this is not the same as potential contact with water in real life. Always refer to this chart if unsure.
For wearing your watch in the water, it’s advisable to purchase a watch with a screw-down crown.
Other functions to think about include a built-in compass function, as well as a perpetual calendar. A perpetual calendar is a mechanism that automatically tells you the exact date; adjusting the number of days in a month and informing you of the moon phases.
Though many will look for a new watch, considering a pre-owned watch is a great way to find a top brand on a tighter budget. At Browns, we pride ourselves on our vast collection of high-quality pre-owned watches. With pieces from prestigious brands including Omega, Rolex and TAG Heuer, you may be able to get more for your money than you thought.
Pre-owned Rolex watches are one of our specialities, therefore, we tend to purchase them with complete official Rolex paperwork and box.
All new watches available at Browns will come with their own manufacturer's warranty and paperwork, though if you’ve fallen in love with one of our preloved watches, we provide our own Browns 2-year warranty. That said, all of our preloved watches are professionally serviced when they arrive with us.