A Swiss watch has come to be known as an often expensive, precise, and luxurious accessory. When it comes to Swiss watches, there are a range of choices available, from the plastic Swatch to a luxury item costing hundreds of thousands of dollars. Understanding your budget, the type of watch you want, and how to verify a Swiss watches’ authenticity are all important steps before spending any money.
First, Choosing a Style for Your Swiss Watch
1. Set your budget before starting your search.
Because Swiss watches range so much in price, costing anywhere from thousands dollars to millions of dollars, it is important to know how much you are willing to spend before considering which features you are looking for. Set your budget first and don’t allow yourself to buy a watch you can’t afford.
There are many things that dictate the price of a Swiss watch, and once you’ve set a budget you can prioritize which features are most important to you.
2. Purchase a Swiss Made watch if you are willing to spend more.
Definitely the more expensive option, purchasing a Swiss Made watch means that the movement was manufactured, cased, and inspected by the manufacturer in Switzerland. This label also means that at least 50% of all the watch’s components were made, assembled, and inspected in Switzerland.
- The movement on a Swiss Made watch should be smaller than 50mm in diameter and 12mm in thickness. If your watch exceeds these parameters, it is probably counterfeit.
3. Buy a Swiss Movement watch if you want to save money.
Watches with the Swiss Movement label are often much cheaper than Swiss Made watches, as it means that the only thing Swiss about the watch is the movement. Many watches are mass-produced with Swiss movements, and this does not guarantee that you are purchasing a good watch. If you are buying on a budget, buying a Swiss Movement watch is the way to go.
- These watches can be found for as low as 20 dollars, but could reach as high as thousands of dollars, depending on the brand and the materials that make up the watch.
4. Select a mechanical watch for a classic feel.
Often thought of as works of art, mechanical watches are the classic type of Swiss watch movement and are often more expensive than other movements. Mechanical movements must be wound periodically and are not nearly as accurate as quartz watches, but they are popular because of their beautiful and unique craftsmanship.
5. Get an automatic watch if you are looking for accuracy and simplicity.
Although automatic watches resemble mechanical movements in their beauty and craftsmanship, they take much less effort to maintain. An automatic calibre uses the movement of your wrist to wind the mainspring, which in turn powers the watch, instead of relying on you to wind it every day.
- This is a great option for someone who does not care too much about the classical mechanics of a Swiss watch but is still looking for a high end, expensive watch.
6. Buy a quartz watch if you are on a budget.
Quartz movements are set and regulated by a small piece of quartz and a small battery. Quartz movements are often found in high end street watches because they are accurate and cheap to make.
- Quartz movements are a great choice if the mechanics of the watch are less important to you than a watch’s aesthetic and accessories, as you can save money to put toward more of a flashy watch.
Second, Confirming the Authenticity
1. Make sure the price is reasonable and realistic.
Because Swiss watches are so popular and so expensive, it is common for scammers to sell counterfeit watches. Look at the price right away, and decide if it is reasonable, or too good to be true. Use a search engine like Google to compare the price of the watch to what is typical seen online. If it is much cheaper, it is probably a scam.
- When in doubt, it is better to walk away from a purchase if you think there is a chance you could be buying a counterfeit Swiss watch.
2. Clarify the watch’s markings.
Every Swiss watch, whether it is a Swiss Made watch or a Swiss Movement watch, will have official markings on the dial. These markings will be below the watch’s brand name, and will be in small writing. If you notice that the watch has a variant of one of these terms, such as “Made in Switzerland,” then it is not an authentic Swiss watch.
3. Verify that the watch seller has the watch certificate.
While buying a Swiss watch, ask a shop assistant or store employee to show you the certificate of conformance and health certificate of the watch you plan to purchase. Only authentic Swiss watches will have these certifications and, if the store is unable to show them to you, it is best not to buy the watch.
- If you are buying the watch online, request to have photos of the certification sent via email before you purchase the watch.
4. Find the watch in an online catalog and look for flaws in your watch.
If you have your eyes set on a specific watch, visit the brand’s website and search for photographs of the watch. Many brands will have up close, clear photographs of their watches. Compare these photos with the watch you are thinking about purchasing and search for inaccuracies or flaws. If you find any glaring differences, it might mean it is a counterfeit.
- Look closely to the detail in the dial, the materials used, and things like the stitching on the strap.
- If you find anything that stands out between the two, chances are the watch you are purchasing is a counterfeit, as Swiss watch producers are very consistent.
5. Ask about the watch’s warranty.
Swiss watches have a strict two to three year warranty, no matter what watch you are purchasing. If a store clerk or shop employee offers you a ten-year warranty, chances are the watch is not an authentic Swiss watch but a counterfeit.
Third, Purchasing the Swiss Watch
1. Buy your watch directly from the watchmaker.
Stores like Swatch, which is an authentic Swiss watchmaker, have many storefronts for you to visit, which will allow you to choose a watch in person with the help of a professional company. If you have a brand of Swiss watch in mind, search for their website online to see if they have a store near you.
- Purchasing your watch directly from the Swiss watchmaking company ensures that the watch you are getting is legitimate and that you are speaking with a professional.
2. Visit a department store like Macy’s, Nordstrom’s, or Selfridge’s. Many department stores have a wide collection of Swiss watches, and you can ask a customer service representative to show you which models are Swiss.
Many department stores will have watches with quartz movements, and will have watches priced at the lower end of the Swiss watch market.
- Although buying a watch at a department store limits your chances of customizability, with slimmer options than online, you will be able feel the watch and decide if it is a good fit for you.
3. Purchase a luxury mechanical or automatic watch at a jewelry store. Jewelers like Harold Freeman and Tiffany & Co. will be able to recommend the best, most accurate Swiss watches.
They may also be able to suggest vintage watches that have been repaired and are collector’s items, if your budget allows for it.
- These high-end jewelers also have online stores for you to browse watches before you decide to enter a store, or if there are no stores near you.
4. Purchase your watch online through a classic brand.
Many of the companies that have already been mentioned will have online stores from which you can purchase Swiss watches without leaving home.
This is a great option if a company has a watch you are interested in stock, but there is not a storefront near you.
- The only downside to purchasing a Swiss watch online is that you won’t be able to try the watch on yourself. Be sure to ask if the company has a return policy, and send the watch back if it does not fit properly.
5. Purchase your Swiss watch online from a private dealer or auction.
Websites like eBay are continually auctioning Swiss watches from private dealers, with the price being set by the public.
Many people consider classic mechanical movements to be works of art, and an online auction is a great place to find a used, classic time piece from an independent seller.
- When purchasing from an independent seller, it is very important to clarify the watch’s authenticity, as these private sellers could be selling counterfeits.