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Gifting a Watch This Christmas? Read This Before You Buy

In a world of Rolexes, Apple watches, and Fitbits, it’s safe to say there’s a watch out there for everyone. However, when you’re not “a watch person” and you want to pick the perfect timepiece, you may feel overwhelmed at all the nuances that set certain types of watches apart from the rest. Yes, watches vary a great deal starting with the material, functionality, features, style, etc. and could cost anywhere from a few dollars to a few hundred thousand (or more). It’s no wonder picking the right one can feel like a daunting task, especially to a beginner.
Christmas Gift Watch
(MonaaHannn / pixabay)
So if you’re ready to buy a watch for your loved one, but have no clue where to start, we’ll help you sort through what you should consider, whether you’re gifting the special someone in your life their first watch or their next. What’s their line of work? Consider your loved one’s occupation when choosing a watch with features that would be a good fit. Watches that have multiple time zones, calendars, and world timer indications could be ideal for frequent travelers or those in business. Watches that feature a chronograph, on the other hand, may be more ideal for those who need stopwatch-type features (think teachers, nurses, or those in sports-related fields). If your loved one is doing hard labor, skip the chunky metal watch. Instead, opt for something that’s made of durable material (such as stainless steel), is light weight, and has a tough strap. What’s their personality like? Is the person you’re buying for super sporty? Consider a racing watch? Do they love gadgets or need to be “connected” at all times? A smartwatch may be best. Do they want something durable yet stylish? Look into field watches. Do they love to dress to impress? Consider a dress watch with a chain bracelet (for women) or fine leather strap (for men). Just make sure the type of metal and/or leather complements their wardrobe. Do they tend to favor gold jewelry or cufflinks? Or do they prefer silver? Coordinate the watch accordingly. A leather strap should ideally coordinate with the leather on the belt or shoes they typically wear. What’s their environment like? Believe it or not, certain environmental factors, like cold, hot, or humid climates, can cause wear and tear to watches. For example, the electronic circuits that propel a quartz movement will be hampered in extremely cold temperatures, while mechanical movements will be just fine. Brands like Omega use oils that keep watches functioning well in extreme temperatures. If your loved one is in and out of the water a lot, even water-resistant watches may not do the trick. Check the ATM (atmosphere) rating and opt for something in the range of 5 ATM (which can handle a quick submersion) or 10 ATM (which can handle extended submersion). Comfort is important, too, so if your loved one is in a warm place, rubber or breathable fabric watch straps do better than leather ones, which don’t hold up well with sweat and can irritate your skin. Metal is a poor choice for warm weather, too, because it can irritate or burn the skin. How can you personalize the watch? The price tag and features aren’t the only thing that add value to a watch. Doing something as simple as having the watch engraved with initials, anniversaries, or other important dates could give the watch sentimental value. If the person you’re buying for has several watches already, this is a sure way to make your gift stand out. Besides that, it can be a meaningful symbol of your relationship. Does the brand name matter? Some people place value on wearing sophisticated brand names as a status symbol. Others are more minimalist and consider wearing name brand items to be too flashy or pretentious. Consider which side of the fence your giftee stands on. If you’re going for a more timeless look that may increase in value, you may consider recognizable brands like Rolex or Cartier. If they’re not into luxury brands but want something practical and reliable, consider Seiko or Casio, which offer a variety of simple and clean designs for a fraction of luxury prices. How much upkeep is required? There are three different types of movements on watches — all of which play a big role in how much upkeep is required. Mechanical watches aren’t battery powered. Instead, they’re powered by a mainspring that needs to be manually wound once the watch stops ticking. Automatic watches need an initial winding but generally stay powered by the movement of the wrist—if your loved one wears it regularly. If they go for a while without wearing it, the watch may need some love in the form of manual winding to get it going again. A watch winder, an electronic casing that stores and automatically winds your watch when it’s not in use, might be a good accessory to help your loved one keep their watch ticking without hassle. The third type of movement on watches is called a quartz. Quartz watches are battery powered and are the most low-maintenance of them all, though they will need periodic battery replacements. New watch or revitalized? While a new watch may be the perfect gift, if your loved one has a lot of defunct watches idling away in a drawer—or if they have one beloved timepiece that is no longer working, consider getting an old watch or two back in working order. Whether it’s Citizen, Armani, or Brighton watch repair, we’ve got you covered. Or maybe it’s a simple Omega or Tag Heuer battery replacement. Times Ticking can get virtually any watch running again.