What are the features of a quality watch? With so many watch brands out there, it can be tough to find a quality watch, especially at affordable price points.
The components of a quality watch can be broken down into the case material, the type of glass used, water resistance, the type of movement, and the band material.
At a minimum, a quality watch is made from stainless steel. Stainless steel is more resistant to moisture than regular steel (hence the "stainless" name). Another benefit of stainless steel is that it is less likely to cause skin irritation in wearers.
A higher-quality step up from stainless steel is 316L stainless steel (what we use in the manufacturing of Voelen watches). 316L stainless steel has an additional element (molybdenum) than standard stainless steel, enhancing corrosion resistance.
Crystal glass, mineral glass, and sapphire glass are all used in watch construction. Quality watches use sapphire glass due to durability and scratch resistance.
Water-resistance is typically described as "ATM" or "atmospheres." ATM is the amount of atmospheric pressure that a watch can withstand. Note that this is a measurement of "pressure," NOT depth. The ATM rating means that a timepiece that is tested to 5 ATMs can withstand pressures equivalent to about 50 meters (164 ft underwater) PRESSURE.
A quality watch will have an ATM rating of at a minimum of 3 ATM (pressure depths of about 30 meters.) However, in practice, that means that it can survive showers.
Type of Movement
The "quartz versus mechanical" debate has raged for years in the watch-making world.
Voelen focuses on automatic (mechanical) movement watches due to the complexity and craftsmanship of creating fine artistic timepieces. Quartz movements are cheaper to produce (typically in sub - $300 watches), and automatic movements are more associated with luxury timepieces.
Quality watches are typically automatic watches.
A watch is a piece of jewelry, and the band plays a large part. Bands can be leather (of various grades), exotics (alligator or python), fabric (canvases), synthetics, rubber, stainless, or precious metals.
The mark of a quality watch is the thought behind the band pairing, whether with leather, fabric, or metal bracelet. Some luxury brand straps end up double the watch price due to the materials involved in creating the piece.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line on finding a quality watch is to focus on the design, materials, construction, specifications, and if the piece reflects what you want to portray.
It is your show, after all.