It is a recognised fact that the wristwatch has evolved from just that gadget that tells us the time, to an accessory to our dressing and in some cases a piece of jewelry that enhances our status.


In a bid to buy a watch that makes the right statement, it is quite easy to get emotional, throw caution to the wind and break the bank. Before doing that though, here are some things to put in perspective.


  1. Watches generally fall into four price brackets:
  • Less than $30 – No name brands and low-level counterfeits
  • $30 - $300 -This is where you find most fashion brands as well as better quality counterfeits. The higher the price the higher the quality
  • $300 - $3000 -Entry level Luxury Brands
  • Above $3000


  1. In general terms, three things contribute to the price of a watch:
  • The watch movement (referred to- in lay man’s terms- as the engine)
  • The accessories (the case and the band).
  • Heritage – brand name and history


It is normal to find vastly different watches (sometimes from different manufacturers) using the same watch movement having a substantial disparity in their prices.


You can easily find a watch that costs $100 having the same movement as a watch that costs $300.00. This is because, a lot of the time, the accessories and the brand name contribute more to the cost of a watch than the watch movement itself.


At below $30.00, what you get will mainly be unknown brands and counterfeit watches. The quality of plating on the accessories here will usually be relatively low. A safer bet would be leather or rubber straps. The likelihood is that the watch will still be working long after the watch has become an embarrassment. This is because the technology behind watch movements has become so common that even the cheap options will work accurately for many years.


Between $30.00 and $300.00, the quality improves considerably. You will find several notable fashion brands having a presence in this segment (though these will usually be on the other side of $100.00) e.g. POLICE, Guess, Tommy Hilfiger watches. The quality of the plating will be significantly better (though the higher the price the higher the quality), the leather/rubber would also be better quality. You will also likely be getting stainless steel as the base metal as against brass or other alloys.


Watches between $300.00 and $3,000.00 are termed as entry level luxury watches. This is where you will usually find the best value for money. High-quality watch movements and accessories will be on offer, the watches will be fashionable and will not go out of fashion for a long time. Many of the best-known brands have a presence in this price bracket.


You will not have to worry about the quality of plating as it is often remarkably high. The brand owners have a reputation to protect and will not mess around with products that could ruin their hard-earned reputations.


Above $3,000.00, you will not necessarily be getting a remarkable improvement in quality compared to the earlier bracket. What you will be paying for will be the accessories. Instead of gold plating, you could be getting a substantial amount of gold deposit, depending on how much you are willing to pay. The stones would also be real diamonds. If you are ready to shell out the money you could get the gold studded with diamonds which could take you as high as the other side of a million dollars.


You will also be paying for the heritage i.e. handmade this and handmade that since 1825 and things like that.


At the end of the day, what you get for watches that are substantially above $3,000.00 is an ego massage… I am wearing a “this” or a “that” and it’s pure gold or the diamonds are so and so carat.


The truth of the matter however is that depending on the circle you operate, these things do have a value and the value could be worth it depending on what is at stake.


Bottom-line, determine how much you have to spend and try to fit your preferences within your budget. It is usually not worth it to break the bank to buy a watch.