by Staff Writer
Almost any wristwatch will give you accurate time, but a few timepieces distinguish themselves as luxury watches -- admired for the quality of their craftsmanship and the beauty of their design. Luxury watches have an artistic quality that outlasts fashion trends and are often kept for a lifetime. Sometimes, wristwatches from luxury watch brands are passed on to the next generation. Perhaps the time has come for you to add a luxurious timepiece to your collection of watches. You may have some questions you want answered before you buy a men's luxury watch or women's luxury watch. This luxury wristwatch buying guide offers the information you need to help you sort through the options and make an informed buying decision.
Your choices: There are many men's luxury watches and women's luxury watches available from a range of luxury watch brands. Luxury wristwatches include elegant yellow gold watches with sleek designs that show off the lustrous metal, diamond wristwatches decorated with a multitude of precious gems and well-made stainless steel timepieces with intricate complications that only a few skilled craftsmen in the world can make. Luxury wristwatches often incorporate leather, gemstone dials, unique artistic designs and famous brands.
Making the selection: When you begin shopping for a luxury watch, ask yourself what function you would like the watch to serve. Do you want a high-end chronograph watch to enhance your professional image? Is this timepiece to be a jewelry watch that is worn on special occasions? Will the wristwatch be a gift of opulence to mark a special event? Consider band style, materials, case style, decorations, movement type and brand when comparing luxury watches.
Price range: The price range for luxury watches is actually quite large and varied. You may want to pay several hundred dollars for your luxury watch or invest in a timepiece that costs several thousand dollars. Decide on a price range before you start shopping and then investigate the options in that range; this will help you decide which combination of features, luxuriousness and brand name your new timepiece must have.
Watch materials: Like all luxury goods, luxury watches are crafted of the finest materials available. For many people, a luxury watch is a gold watch, with a bracelet and case made of 18-karat yellow gold. White gold is an elegant choice, especially among women's luxury watches, and rose gold is becoming more common in men's high-style timepieces. Platinum, though rare, is another high-end material for watches and has a silvery white luster. Luxury watches, especially those designed with multiple functions, are also available as well-made stainless steel timepieces. Straps are, in general, more casual than bracelets, but they are popular and can be quite exquisite in their design. On high-end watches, look for hand-stitched straps.
Watch embellishments: If you want some glamour, choose a luxurious watch decorated with diamonds or colorful gemstones. The sumptuousness of jewelry watches adds sparkle to suits and dressy clothes; a slender gold watch with diamonds can replace a woman's bracelet. Make sure the glittery stones on a watch you are considering are real gems. Many watches are decorated with crystals and beads that are pretty, but these timepieces do not have the quality and value of a true diamond watch.
Watch functions: The art of crafting timekeepers is called horology, and for watch enthusiasts, it is the interior mechanics of a watch that distinguishes it from others and determines its value. People who appreciate the skill of watchmaking generally want manual-wind or automatic mechanical movements in their timepieces. In fact, the most elite of luxury watches usually have a mechanical movement, which showcases the talent of a mature watchmaker better than a quartz movement. On the other hand, a quartz movement is more precise than a mechanical one, and you can find beautiful luxury watches that feature quartz movements. Fine watches often have intricate complications that have been developed throughout the long history of watchmaking. A complication is any function other than basic timekeeping, such as the stopwatch on a chronograph. Complications demonstrate the skill and prestige of watch companies, and the presence of handmade complications can significantly increase the price of a watch.
A fine watch is an appropriate and thoughtful gift for celebrating life's important milestones, such as graduations, weddings, significant birthdays and new jobs. Choose a timepiece that complements the gift recipient's personal fashion; a diamond watch suits the jewelry lover while a slender white gold watch is perfect for those with more classic tastes. Check with friends and family to see if the recipient has a favorite watch brand or style.