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The Ultimate Watch Buying Guide


So you’ve found yourself in the market for a new watch...fantastic!  You then start the search only to be bombarded with jargon, technical terms and a list of watch related terminology you’ve never even heard of!  Sound familiar? If so, you’re in the right place. At Lowry Jewellers we understand that buying a new watch can be daunting, but don’t worry, with our jargon-busting guide, we are here to help, leaving you full of confidence when it comes to buying your next timepiece.    


Watch Movements

Let's dive straight in with a word that you may not be familiar with, movements. In a nutshell, movements are what make the watch, well...tick.  Often referred to as the heart of the watch, the movement powers everything from the hands to the date to the chronograph. The two contenders being mechanical or quartz, so let's discuss these a little further below.

Mechanical - Powered by a collection of springs and gears, a mechanical watch is either manual or automatic.  A manual watch requires hand winding, whereas an automatic watch can be wound by the wearers daily movements.  


Quartz -  Powered by battery for accuracy, durability and a more affordable price tag, quartz movement was introduced by Seiko in 1969, with many brands following suit, therefore marking the beginning of the battery-operated watches. 

Top Tip:  A quick way to determine if the watch is quartz or mechanical is to take note of the second hand as it moves.  A quartz watch causes the second hand to move by individual ticks, whereas a mechanical watch has more of a sweeping motion.

Watch Style

As the finishing touch to your outfit, there's something special about putting on a watch.  Not only does it complete your look, but it also signals that you are ready for wherever the day takes you.  Whether it’s an important meeting, a special event or a social gathering, the right watch can empower you. After all, there’s nothing more stylish than confidence.

Chronograph watches - As one of the most popular watches available, a chronograph watch is both practical and aesthetically pleasing.  Capable of tracking hours, minutes, seconds and tenths of seconds, a chronograph watch is invaluable in sporting events where time is of the essence.

Divers watches - Designed for underwater usage, a divers watch is capable of withstanding pressure hundreds of feet below sea level.  Plus with a rotating bezel and large illuminated numbers for easy reading, a divers watch is both durable and dependable.

Dress Watch - The key ingredient to a dress watch is, of course, minimalistic style.  Designed to be worn at important events such as a black-tie, an awards ceremony or any other occasion that requires a touch of elegance, a dress watch is the perfect blend of understated simplicity and glamour.  A fine example of this is the womens sekonda collection.

Fashion Watch - Whether you’re a trendsetter or a trend follower, a fashion watch is your time to shine, so rip up the rule book and follow your heart's desire.  With so many options available, a fashion watch is a perfect way to show your personality. Sparkle, jewels, florals, gold, silver, two-tone or leather, the choice is yours.

Watch Features

By this point, you are probably homing in on the style of watch you like which is great news!  But then you are faced with more decisions when it comes to the features you may want, need or quite simply like the look of, so read on to find out a little more on each of the popular features you might come across.

Analogue - As one of the most recognised watch styles in the world, an analogue watch displays that of a traditional clock face, nothing more, nothing less, just good old fashioned telling the time.  An analogue dial is popular amongst fashion watches, dress watches, and divers watches

Digital - A digital watch displays the time in digits as opposed to hands-on a traditional analogue watch.  Digital watches are particularly popular amongst the sporting world where every second counts.

GPS - Also known as Global Positioning System, GPS is a must for those who love the outdoors.  This clever system enables you to track your exact location and distance travelled using a satellite navigation system which is perfect for runners, cyclists or those who love to explore.

Tachymeter - Quite often used in conjunction with a chronograph feature, a tachymeter enables you to calculate your exact speed based on how far you have travelled, which is extremely useful for training, competitions and lap times in the sporting world.

Perpetual Calendar - This handy little feature keeps you fully informed with the current date and updates automatically each day, so no need to manually adjust or fall behind with the date.

Water Resistance - Especially popular amongst divers and those that like to swim.  Whether it be in the open sea or a swimming pool on holiday, knowing the water resistance is essential for keeping your watch intact underwater.

Solar Powered - Ok, so technically a movement but this is also a fantastic feature too.  Solar power works by converting electrical energy into power which is then stored in a rechargeable cell.  These are a fantastic low maintenance option, with some solar watches staying charged for an impressive 6 months, even when stored in the dark! 

Watch Materials

So you’ve seen a watch you like, but how many of us know what a watch is in fact made up of.  Are the parts durable? Are some brands better than others? What's essential to know? Let's find out . . .

The crystal - You'd be forgiven for thinking that the face of your watch is some kind of tempered glass, but no, it’s actually formed out of super tough crystal, which is there to protect the dial.  There are three types of crystal used:

Acrylic crystal - a synthetic plastic crystal.  

Mineral crystal - up to seven times more resistant than the acrylic crystal, making it the most commonly used.

Sapphire crystal - the top of the pops when it comes to resistance.  Albeit not made from sapphire itself, it is deemed unbreakable, therefore making it a popular choice amongst the most prestigious brands including Rolex, Tag Heuer and Omega.  

The strap - This is where the fun begins and you can choose the look you prefer.  With so many metals available, let's discuss further.

Stainless Steel - By far the most popular and commonly used.  Not only is it hard-wearing but it will not tarnish either, making it a great choice for daily wear.

Rose Gold - Particularly popular with fashion houses and fashion brands for a modern twist on the norm.

Gold Plated - A beautiful example of gold jewellery but at a more affordable price tag.

Precious Metals - Such as solid gold, silver or platinum.  These make the perfect occasion piece or investment for a timepiece that will last a lifetime.

The casing - This is the outer section of the watch that protects the dial, hands, cogs and springs.  An essential part of the watch that requires a certain level of durability. Stainless steel is commonly used thanks to its hard-wearing properties but for high-end brands, it’s not unusual to use precious metals or ceramics to protect the precious inners.  

Swiss?  Japanese?  British? Help!

Is Swiss best?  Are the Japanese ahead of the game with technology?  How do British watches compare? All valuable questions but I think unless you are buying a high-end watch costing thousands of pounds, it’s more important to go on what you like as opposed to what you think you should buy, after all, it’s you that is wearing it.  Don’t be lured into buying a Swiss watch with mechanical movement if a quartz watch will do the trick. So if you like the look of a divers watch but have no intention of diving, that's absolutely fine! The same goes for dress watches, there are no rules when it comes to your own style.

So there you have it, a comprehensive watch buying guide providing you with everything you need to know to choose your new favourite accessory.  So why not take a look at our fantastic collection of Mens watches and Ladies watches where you’ll find a wide range of styles to suit any occasion.  

And don’t forget, we are always here to help, simply call our friendly team on 028 92 670566 who are ready and waiting with expert advice.