Watches offer both functionality and a sartorial statement. But navigating the world of watches can be quite daunting, whether because of the varied vocabulary – from the balance wheel to the tourbillon – or the sheer amount of choice.
When it comes to buying a watch, everyone is likely to have a slightly different opinion. Maybe you would prefer something high-end, for example, a Omega? Or maybe you like finding new independent designers, such as Olivier Meylan. And while over the decades some models have been more preferable than others, as a general rule, whatever watch you choose comes down to your personal style.
But, as with any investment, there are a few things to consider. First you’ll want to set your price, luckily there are a number of brands selling models around £100 which are well made and could easily pass for almost ten times that price.
Another important factor is how you want your watch to move – if you want extremely accurate timekeeping you’ll need to choose between quartz (battery powered and most accurate), mechanical (hand-wound watches) or automatic (also a mechanical watch). , but it continues to operate without being manually wound daily). But if you’re investing purely on the basis of aesthetic appeal, that’s not something you need to worry about.
One final design feature we recommend paying attention to is face size. If you’re a man, it’s common to go for a 40mm for something big or 36mm for a smaller dial. Meanwhile, women tend to go for something smaller, usually around 28-36mm.
Above all, your watch should be an extension of yourself. So, to help you in your search for your new daily outfit, here you will find some of the best watch brands in the industry that offer timeless designs. From British designers to Swiss manufacturers, consider this your ultimate guide.
Affordable watch brands
Drawing on his traditional Swiss watchmaking roots, David Meyland founded Olivier Meylan. Despite being a relative newcomer, he has certainly made waves and can already name Russel Kane and England rugby players among his fans. And its list of models includes both men’s and women’s watches.
Our favorite is the Gamer’s Edition (£299, Oliviermeylan.com). It has a Swiss quartz movement at its base and an eye-catching design, complete with a blue face. However, this is a limited run, so you’ll want to get your hands on it now. For women, we think all-black jewelry (£179, Oliviermeylan.com) is elegant and sophisticated and will go with everything.
Larsson & Jennings
Drawing inspiration from modern Swedish designs, Larsson & Jennings is the perfect destination if you’re looking for a classic, minimalist watch. Our favorite from the brand is the mini boyfriend (£199, Larssonjennings.com), its two-tone design gives it a high-end look and we love that the date is displayed on the dial, which isn’t always common with smaller women’s watches.
Founded in 1895, Rotary is a good choice if you’re looking for something reliable, but also affordable. With many different offers for Men and women – including, leather straps (£129, rotarywatches.com), mother-of-pearl faces (£259, rotarywatches.com) and an automatic diver’s watch (£249, rotarywatches.com) – There is something for every taste.
Our favourite? The Windsor women’s watch (£175, rotarywatches.com). It has an elegant, almost vintage look, and it manages to transform even the simplest outfits. Rotary is truly a great destination that is surprisingly friendly.
With a full range of different options, from minimalist to bold statements, Cluse watches are designed in-house. Whether you prefer something traditional like this black leather strap (£76, Cluse.com) or something a bit bulkier, like this steel design (£160, Cluse.com), it has you covered at an affordable price.
It’s yet another affordable brand on a mission to prove that a watch doesn’t have to cost thousands of dollars to look and feel premium. If it’s jewelry you’re looking for, we can’t recommend the brand’s Octagon XS studio gold (£139, Rosefieldwatches.com), it offers something a little different, while still being eye-catching. Rosefield also has a range of more classic designs, such as this duotone ace (£109, Rosefieldwatches.com), which at 33mm is ideal if you’re looking for something a little bigger.
If you are looking for a digital watch, Casio is the brand to know. His vintage designs are hugely popular, our favorite being this simple gold watch, the LA670WEGA-9EF (£49.90, Casio.co.uk). While it’s not the catchiest name, it’s definitely one of the brand’s most classic offerings.
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While Timex has established itself as a great brand for attention to detail and craftsmanship, it also leads the way when it comes to making watchmaking more accessible. The Easy Drive (£54.99, Timex.com) is a bracelet design and has a slim profile and great weight. With many high-end models to choose from, it really is one to remember.
The Swiss manufacturer Swatch has a reputation for designing some of the most affordable watches on the market. For this brand, think fun, bold colors and playful silhouettes. Its latest release in partnership with Omega – the Moonwatch collection – really took the brand to new, out of this world heights. The watches, which take inspiration from Omega’s speedmaster moonwatch, are certainly one of the hottest in the world right now and there are 11 colors to choose from, each named after planets in the solar system.
British watch brands
Flag bearer of British watchmaking, Bremont is one of the favorites. When it was founded, it created pilot’s watches and has since manufactured watches for over 400 military units around the world. But the heart of the brand is that all of its designs are made in England. With luxury collections for men and womenthe ALT1-Z (from £4,695, Bremont.com) is to watch. It was designed for travelers around the world, allowing you to view both local time and world time.
Swiss watch brands
This British-born Swiss watch designer needs no introduction. As one of the “big four” premium watchmakers, it is the most recognized in the world and has a solid range of models, from blingy models to more understated options. Likewise, watches hold up, and sometimes even increase in value.
The Submariner (£7,150, rolex.com) is one of the brand’s most popular designs and we can totally see why. It is made from a particular type of steel developed by the brand to prevent corrosion and is a must. Inside, you’ll find a self-rotating mechanical ticker with a 70-hour power reserve.
Breitling tends to offer more affordable watches compared to Rolex, but of course that doesn’t mean their standards are anything but extremely high. For a real investment though, it’s the Navitimer B01 Chronograph 41 (£6,850, Breitling.com) which showcases the brand’s mechanics and is one of its most recognizable timepieces.
Rich in history, Longines has over 200 years of watchmaking under its belt, so it’s definitely worth knowing. the dolcevita collection is simply stunning, with this leather (£1,160, Longines.com), a small quartz watch serving as a well-priced timepiece that you will cherish forever.
Founded by Rolex-renowned Hans Wilsdorf, you can expect a similar level of expertise here as the high-end designer, but with watches at slightly more affordable prices. For something that will add serious sophistication and glamor to your outfit, it has to be the clair de rose (£2,230, Goldsmiths.co.uk), with an impressive and sleek design, driven by a mechanical self-winding movement.
Worn by everyone from James Bond to the first men to walk on the moon, across brands, Omega is steeped in heritage. The brand has five main collections – seaman, speed master, constellation, globe master and city, or deville, watches. There are few timepieces that rival its Seamaster Diver 300m (£4,840, Omegawatches.com) – it pays homage to the brand’s history and wonderfully demonstrates its know-how.
Although positioned in the high-end market, Tissot offers some of the most affordable prices without compromising on its high quality. It’s a great entry point to dip your toes into luxury watches. One of our favorites is his brand new seastar (£330, Goldsmiths.co.uk), which is a diver’s watch that would put a new finish on the simplest of outfits. It’s fair to say we’re obsessed.
Although it has been associated with all things sporty, the mid-range luxury brand Tag Heuer also offers more contemporary and modest designs. The Tag Heuer Link Watch (£2,250, Tagheuer.com) has a slim 32mm steel case that looks delicate but still quite showy.
German watch brands
Glashütte is known as the cradle of German watchmaking and this is where this brand was founded. Although now owned by Swatch, it has retained its independent spirit and is considered one of the most creative watch brands in the industry. Its movements are entirely manufactured in-house in accordance with the traditions of the eponymous city and in terms of design, there is something for everyone. From fashion-forward sporty options to something you can wear to complement your black tie.
Japanese watch brands
With some of the most affordable yet excellent automatic watches from Japanese brands, Seiko has led the way in watchmaking innovation since its inception in 1881. The large Seiko Quartz Snowflake (£2,000, Goldsmiths.co.uk) features steel links that have a strong yet lightweight feel. Plus, at 37mm, it’s a slightly larger option without being obtrusive.
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