Purchasing a watch can be a stressful investment—you’re going to be wearing this thing for quite a few years, so you want to make sure it syncs with your wardrobe and lifestyle. We rounded up some of the best timepiece tips from the people who know watches best.
Step 1: Decide What You Want It For
It’s essential to know where and when you’ll be wearing your watch—this is the first step in narrowing down your options. The accessories pros at GQ put together a comprehensive watch-buying guide full of insider secrets, including suggestions for the four main categories:
A Watch for Special Occasions: The key word here is “understated.” (Four more key words: “thin, black leather strap.”)
A Watch for Work: Think “sleek yet strong,” says GQ. It should work with a suit as well as your Casual Friday jeans.
A Watch for Play: Opt for a simple, unfussy chronograph to wear on weekends.
A Watch for Sports: This one’s gotta be durable and should be waterproof. You can never go wrong with a top-brand activity tracker, like FitBit or Jawbone.
Step 2: Ask the Salesperson These 5 Questions
According to Forbes, watch salespeople are notoriously hit-or-miss when it comes to their ability to actually help you. To find out if you’ve got a good one, they recommend asking these five questions:
1. When did this watch come out? This is a great way to test the salesperson’s general knowledge—if he or she doesn’t know the answer, find another associate.
2. What movement is inside of this watch? As Forbes notes, the salesperson’s answer may not matter to you, but he or she should be able to respond to it competently.
3. What are some feasible alternatives? Just as you would with a flat-screen or refrigerator, ask what other watches are on par with the one you like in terms of price, features, and appearance.
4. What will it cost to get serviced? Watch repairs and cleanings are only necessary every few years, but it’s good to know how much you can expect to shell out.
5. How does this watch work? And just as importantly: What can you do to keep this watch working?
Step 3: Take Care of Your New Accessory
Once you’ve bought the perfect watch for you, it’s time to wear it, show it off…and not break it. Men’s Health called in the experts at Tourneau to answer nine common questions about mechanical watch issues. If yours starts running fast, for example, the likely culprit is a stuck or maladjusted hairspring inside your timepiece—and you’re going to have to get that repaired by a pro. The Men’s Health Q&A is a handy tool worth bookmarking, should your watch ever start misbehaving.