Which watch to get?

Annawakes

Member
Apr 25, 2016
1,567
4,948
Hello. I've asked in different threads here and there, but I thought making a new thread might be helpful for me. I'm looking for a "nice" watch that I will wear every day, rain or shine. It needs to be durable and be able to keep time. I will take it off for really strenuous activities, but for the most part, I want to wear it all the time.

I've previously had Michael Kors watches, but every time the battery died I'd put it in a drawer and forget about it. So it seems an automatic watch would work for me, but my husband thinks I wouldn't be able to wear it every day, and hence defeat the purpose of having an automatic. Also, my budget is around $3K, and I haven't found any $3K automatic watches I really like.

I've narrowed down my choices to:
Hermes Cape Cod 23 mm $2,975 - Pros: my favorite in terms of style; Cons: is a fashion watch, I'm leery of the mechanism inside (who makes it??), it doesn't seem too water resistant?
Cartier Tank Solo Small 31 mm $2,480 - Pros: it's Cartier (i.e. a "real" watchmaker), I do like the style; Cons: it's not my absolute favorite
Hermes Apple Watch Series 6 (I've never had an Apple watch) 40 mm - $1,249 - Pros: will keep time precisely; Cons: I have small wrists and I feel like it would look like I'm wearing a TV on my wrist?!

Which one should I choose? Are Cartier watches durable? I really want a watch that is made by a "real" watchmaker. I looked at the Omega AquaTerra, but it doesn't do anything for me in terms of looks. None of the Omega styles really appeal to me. Thank you!

Apple watch.jpg

Cape Cod.jpg

Cartier Tank.jpg
 

Miss Happy

Member
Jul 17, 2017
125
158
USA
Annawakes,

My recommendation for you is to keep looking and thinking. From your post, I do not think that you have found a watch that you will ultimately be happy with long term.

Your analysis of all three watches appears to be spot on. If I had to recommend one of these three, I would recommend the Cartier because of the brand name and quality. However, I am of the opinion that you may find the style to be a bit boring after a while. It is definitely a classic, but it lacks a wow factor.

The double strap Hermes is cute and trendy, but I do not think the style is likely to become a longterm classic. It would probably be fun for a year or two. I think this one is overpriced for what you are getting, but that is just my opinion.

When it comes to technology watches, I am on the fence. They are very useable, but I view them as a wearable smartphone instead of a classic watch or piece of jewelry. Since technology changes so fast, I am of the opinion that this watch would also be a short term choice.

Best wishes with whatever you decide!
 

Euclase

Member
Nov 3, 2011
303
624
I'm a big watch nerd, and I used to work in a jewelry store that carried many Swiss brands, so I have a lot of thoughts to share.

1. If you're dropping up to $3k, and you want to wear this watch frequently, I highly recommend going into a store and trying watches on before deciding.

2. Automatic watches have to be serviced every several years. That can run upwards of hundreds of dollars, and you might have to send off your watch for several days or weeks. If you get a quartz movement, you can make a routine of going every 2 years to your local jeweler and having the battery changed before it runs out; it's easy to do if there's one in a mall or by a grocery store.

3. There are some other brands that I'd recommend in no particular order, and yes, they are all "real," i.e. Swiss made. I've bolded brands I own:
  • Tissot
  • Baume & Mercier (has some tank styles)
  • Tiffany & Co.; see the older Mark Coupe model; it came in auto & quartz and with bracelet and strap.
  • Tag Heuer (not for tank styles though)
  • Raymond Weil
  • Gucci
4. If you want a durable watch, these are my key considerations:
  • Does it have a sapphire crystal? I would never spend more than $300 on a "fashion" watch with a quartz or hardened glass crystal. Synthetic sapphire is a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness so it will withstand 99% of scratches. The description online or the back of the case should say "sapphire." Also if you tap on sapphire crystal with your finger nail, it has a heavier sound/feel than tapping on quartz/glass.

  • Can the case or bracelet be refinished if I don't like how the patina of scratches looks over time? If you have some fancy design on the case, like a satin finish bezel, then polishing off scratches could change that finish. Or if you have a gold plated watch, then that plating could also be removed (eventually) after multiple refinishes.

  • Will you be showering/swimming/boating with the watch on? If yes, then you definitely want a screw-down crown (and make sure it's screwed tight before contacting water!

  • Metal bracelets are usually more for daily wear than leather straps. The latter is considered a dressier look, and leather straps aren't great if you're exposed to a lot of water. Caveat: metal bracelets can stretch and sag over time from the stresses of daily use. Are all of the bracelet links solid? How does the bracelet connect to the case? If I get tired of the bracelet/strap, is it easy to buy a replacement, from the same brand, or generic? (That said, the "Link" model watch by Tag Heuer is known for having a very durable bracelet because most of its components are internal.)

  • If it has an automatic movement, how often does it need to be serviced, and how accurate is the movement?

With all these watches, assuming they have a sapphire crystal and a quartz movement (typically made by a company named ETA) then you're generally paying for styling and brand identity (no judgement!). If you're buying a quartz Swiss watch, the best value for your money is Tissot. Sometimes Tissot's dressier watches leave a bit to be desired in terms of style, so I own one of their sporty models.

I hope that helps. :smile: Good luck with your search!
 

Annawakes

Member
Apr 25, 2016
1,567
4,948
Annawakes,

My recommendation for you is to keep looking and thinking. From your post, I do not think that you have found a watch that you will ultimately be happy with long term.

Your analysis of all three watches appears to be spot on. If I had to recommend one of these three, I would recommend the Cartier because of the brand name and quality. However, I am of the opinion that you may find the style to be a bit boring after a while. It is definitely a classic, but it lacks a wow factor.

The double strap Hermes is cute and trendy, but I do not think the style is likely to become a longterm classic. It would probably be fun for a year or two. I think this one is overpriced for what you are getting, but that is just my opinion.

When it comes to technology watches, I am on the fence. They are very useable, but I view them as a wearable smartphone instead of a classic watch or piece of jewelry. Since technology changes so fast, I am of the opinion that this watch would also be a short term choice.

Best wishes with whatever you decide!
Thank you so much for your insights. I agree with everything you’ve said. Re: the Cartier, I feel like I’m only interested in it because it’s “Cartier” and not really because I’m in love with it. Re: the Hermès, I think my favorite part of it is the double strap (lol) but I can’t shake the nagging feeling that there are better options out there for $3k. Re: the Apple Watch, I am leaning towards getting a basic model (the SE? <$1k) from Apple, not the newest Series 6 from Hermès.

I think I can try the basic Apple Watch out for now, and see if I even like apple watches, before I splurge on a fancy Hermès version.....or until I find the right “nice” watch.

I will keep looking for “the one”. Thank you!
 

Annawakes

Member
Apr 25, 2016
1,567
4,948
I'm a big watch nerd, and I used to work in a jewelry store that carried many Swiss brands, so I have a lot of thoughts to share.

1. If you're dropping up to $3k, and you want to wear this watch frequently, I highly recommend going into a store and trying watches on before deciding.

2. Automatic watches have to be serviced every several years. That can run upwards of hundreds of dollars, and you might have to send off your watch for several days or weeks. If you get a quartz movement, you can make a routine of going every 2 years to your local jeweler and having the battery changed before it runs out; it's easy to do if there's one in a mall or by a grocery store.

3. There are some other brands that I'd recommend in no particular order, and yes, they are all "real," i.e. Swiss made. I've bolded brands I own:
  • Tissot
  • Baume & Mercier (has some tank styles)
  • Tiffany & Co.; see the older Mark Coupe model; it came in auto & quartz and with bracelet and strap.
  • Tag Heuer (not for tank styles though)
  • Raymond Weil
  • Gucci
4. If you want a durable watch, these are my key considerations:
  • Does it have a sapphire crystal? I would never spend more than $300 on a "fashion" watch with a quartz or hardened glass crystal. Synthetic sapphire is a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness so it will withstand 99% of scratches. The description online or the back of the case should say "sapphire." Also if you tap on sapphire crystal with your finger nail, it has a heavier sound/feel than tapping on quartz/glass.

  • Can the case or bracelet be refinished if I don't like how the patina of scratches looks over time? If you have some fancy design on the case, like a satin finish bezel, then polishing off scratches could change that finish. Or if you have a gold plated watch, then that plating could also be removed (eventually) after multiple refinishes.

  • Will you be showering/swimming/boating with the watch on? If yes, then you definitely want a screw-down crown (and make sure it's screwed tight before contacting water!

  • Metal bracelets are usually more for daily wear than leather straps. The latter is considered a dressier look, and leather straps aren't great if you're exposed to a lot of water. Caveat: metal bracelets can stretch and sag over time from the stresses of daily use. Are all of the bracelet links solid? How does the bracelet connect to the case? If I get tired of the bracelet/strap, is it easy to buy a replacement, from the same brand, or generic? (That said, the "Link" model watch by Tag Heuer is known for having a very durable bracelet because most of its components are internal.)

  • If it has an automatic movement, how often does it need to be serviced, and how accurate is the movement?

With all these watches, assuming they have a sapphire crystal and a quartz movement (typically made by a company named ETA) then you're generally paying for styling and brand identity (no judgement!). If you're buying a quartz Swiss watch, the best value for your money is Tissot. Sometimes Tissot's dressier watches leave a bit to be desired in terms of style, so I own one of their sporty models.

I hope that helps. :smile: Good luck with your search!
Thank you so much! Such an informative post of things to look out for. I will definitely be referring back to it many times.

I will definitely check out Tissot and give Tag another look. I haven’t heard too many great things about Tiffany watches, so I was a bit surprised to see that one your list. Is the Mark Coupe model the only one in Tiffany’s lineup you’d recommend?

that’s a great point about auto watches being sent off for service. I hadn’t thought of that. And also preemptively getting the battery changed. I’ve never thought of doing that!

I’m going to research all the ones you’ve mentioned, especially the Tag Link. Thank you!
 

Euclase

Member
Nov 3, 2011
303
624
You are so welcome!

Tiffany is not well-known for watches, certainly not like Cartier. *shrugs* The benefit is that you might be able to get a good value on the resale market for them. I'd argue that the Atlas model is their most iconic. (I've always wanted a gold vintage Atlas, circa late 1980's, with roman numerals on the bezel.) You can find vintage Atlases in a square shape if you want something reminiscent of that Hermes watch.

I bought my Mark ~12 years ago, and it's going strong. It's a dress watch, so I'm not gardening or exercising in it. I wear it for work, or for when I really want to feel put together, and then I'm usually styling it with pearls or other Tiffany jewelry.

I've attached a (bad) photo of my Swiss watches (all quartz movements and well-worn) for you, in order: Gucci (dress up/down), Tissot PRC 100 (sporty), and Tiffany Mark (dressy). I also have a handful of cheap fashion watches in various gold colors. For me a watch completes an outfit as much as a handbag.

Perhaps instead of spending 3K on ONE watch to wear every day, maybe you could spend 3K on a few watches. You'd still be wearing a watch daily, it would better suit your mood/outfit/activity, and if the battery dies, you can always swap it for another in your collection. Just food for thought. ;)

Oh! And there's another brand I forgot: Longines! Good for us small-wrist people. I'm loving their Primaluna and Dolcevita models.
 

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Consumer2much

Member
Dec 28, 2019
262
571
From your choices Cartier, and just because it seems like you want your watch to be a piece of jewellery more than a time keeper. but personally I wouldn’t go for any of it.
 
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mewt

O.G.
Apr 18, 2011
497
1,213
If you're looking for a quartz watch, it doesn't get any better than Grand Seiko imho. It's the nicest quartz finishing (every Grand Seiko is hand-finished to perfection), super accurate and durable, and Seiko (the parent company) made the world's first commercial quartz watch so it's got that heritage too. Secondhand models fall within your budget. Grand Seiko's purpose is to be "the perfect everyday watch", meaning accurate, legible, and durable. Watch enthusiasts collect these for the high quality workmanship and movement.

There's also Credor, another high-end line by Seiko that's more decorative with many models for ladies. It's even lesser known than Grand Seiko outside of Asia (since it wasn't marketed overseas), but the quality stands. Plus you get a lot of unique dials.

You can read about both Grand Seiko and Credor here: https://www.ikigai-watches.com/grand-seiko-and-credor-the-two-faces-of-the-same-coin/5259

Seiko also has a solid history in mechanical watches, and arguably makes some of the best.

In fact Swiss had a long tradition of holding quality comparisons for different brands of watches, but after Seiko beat all the competition for mechanical watches in 1968 (only quartz was able to beat their mechanical submission!), Swiss stopped holding these contests because they couldn't win anymore... :lol: You can read more about that here if interested: https://www.plus9time.com/seiko-the-neuchtel-chronometer-competition

Here's some examples of vintage Credor I found within your budget (and rectangular preference):
https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/seiko-credor--id17785151.htm


https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/credor--id14309354.htm


https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/credor--id14735538.htm


https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/credor-credor-diamond-emerald-k18-solid-46g--id16998103.htm (this is frickin' beautiful in 18k gold, diamonds, and emerald!)


And here's some Grand Seiko:

https://thegrandseikoguy.com/product/grand-seiko-5645-5010-2/


https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/stgf075--id16526394.htm


https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/stgf0414j52-oa10--id15776850.htm



Unfortunately the Grand Seikos I could find within that budget were mostly rounded, but if you look further you may find some rare rectangular ones. Personally I do prefer round faced watches for easier reading.

In the end buy the watch that makes you feel good, because it's just about the feelings it invokes. I may be bias because I just bought a Grand Seiko from Chrono24 and am still very excited about it. ;)
 

Euclase

Member
Nov 3, 2011
303
624
If you're looking for a quartz watch, it doesn't get any better than Grand Seiko imho. It's the nicest quartz finishing (every Grand Seiko is hand-finished to perfection), super accurate and durable, and Seiko (the parent company) made the world's first commercial quartz watch so it's got that heritage too. Secondhand models fall within your budget. Grand Seiko's purpose is to be "the perfect everyday watch", meaning accurate, legible, and durable. Watch enthusiasts collect these for the high quality workmanship and movement.

There's also Credor, another high-end line by Seiko that's more decorative with many models for ladies. It's even lesser known than Grand Seiko outside of Asia (since it wasn't marketed overseas), but the quality stands. Plus you get a lot of unique dials.

You can read about both Grand Seiko and Credor here: https://www.ikigai-watches.com/grand-seiko-and-credor-the-two-faces-of-the-same-coin/5259

Seiko also has a solid history in mechanical watches, and arguably makes some of the best.

In fact Swiss had a long tradition of holding quality comparisons for different brands of watches, but after Seiko beat all the competition for mechanical watches in 1968 (only quartz was able to beat their mechanical submission!), Swiss stopped holding these contests because they couldn't win anymore... :lol: You can read more about that here if interested: https://www.plus9time.com/seiko-the-neuchtel-chronometer-competition

Here's some examples of vintage Credor I found within your budget (and rectangular preference):
https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/seiko-credor--id17785151.htm


https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/credor--id14309354.htm


https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/credor--id14735538.htm


https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/credor-credor-diamond-emerald-k18-solid-46g--id16998103.htm (this is frickin' beautiful in 18k gold, diamonds, and emerald!)


And here's some Grand Seiko:

https://thegrandseikoguy.com/product/grand-seiko-5645-5010-2/


https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/stgf075--id16526394.htm


https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/stgf0414j52-oa10--id15776850.htm



Unfortunately the Grand Seikos I could find within that budget were mostly rounded, but if you look further you may find some rare rectangular ones. Personally I do prefer round faced watches for easier reading.

In the end buy the watch that makes you feel good, because it's just about the feelings it invokes. I may be bias because I just bought a Grand Seiko from Chrono24 and am still very excited about it. ;)
I never had the opportunity to work with Grand Seiko when I was in the jewelry industry, but I've heard wonderful things about them. They are beautiful and precise watches. :love:

One caveat with some vintage watches though, e.g. the third Credor in this list (with the gorgeous guilloche dial), is that they might have a manual winding movement. That means every day you have to turn the crown (the side knob) several times to get the movement up and running. If you're looking for a no-hassle watch that you can put on without a second thought, then I would advise against a manual wind for daily use.
 
Last edited:

Christofle

O.G.
Apr 21, 2011
5,009
6,523
Montreal
Hello. I've asked in different threads here and there, but I thought making a new thread might be helpful for me. I'm looking for a "nice" watch that I will wear every day, rain or shine. It needs to be durable and be able to keep time. I will take it off for really strenuous activities, but for the most part, I want to wear it all the time.

I've previously had Michael Kors watches, but every time the battery died I'd put it in a drawer and forget about it. So it seems an automatic watch would work for me, but my husband thinks I wouldn't be able to wear it every day, and hence defeat the purpose of having an automatic. Also, my budget is around $3K, and I haven't found any $3K automatic watches I really like.

I've narrowed down my choices to:
Hermes Cape Cod 23 mm $2,975 - Pros: my favorite in terms of style; Cons: is a fashion watch, I'm leery of the mechanism inside (who makes it??), it doesn't seem too water resistant?
Cartier Tank Solo Small 31 mm $2,480 - Pros: it's Cartier (i.e. a "real" watchmaker), I do like the style; Cons: it's not my absolute favorite
Hermes Apple Watch Series 6 (I've never had an Apple watch) 40 mm - $1,249 - Pros: will keep time precisely; Cons: I have small wrists and I feel like it would look like I'm wearing a TV on my wrist?!

Which one should I choose? Are Cartier watches durable? I really want a watch that is made by a "real" watchmaker. I looked at the Omega AquaTerra, but it doesn't do anything for me in terms of looks. None of the Omega styles really appeal to me. Thank you!

View attachment 4936033

View attachment 4936034

View attachment 4936035
As for Hermès's watchmaking pedigree, the Hermès investment group portfolio includes a stake in Manufacture Vaucher Fleurier, which is the brand they contract out their movement manufacturing to. As for smaller women's cape cod model, I am not entirely sure where they source their movements as the information doesn't seem to be easily available online.

 

mewt

O.G.
Apr 18, 2011
497
1,213
One caveat with some vintage watches though, e.g. the third Credor in this list (with the gorgeous guilloche dial), is that they might have a manual winding movement. That means every day you have to turn the crown (the side knob) several times to get the movement up and running. If you're looking for a no-hassle watch that you can put on without a second thought, then I would advise against a manual wind for daily use.
Whoops, I thought I filtered all the manual winds out! Yeah definitely do not get a manual wind for a daily wearer. I believe ALL Grand Seikos are either automatic or quartz, because following their philosophy of 'the best watch' convenience is a requirement. However because Credor's philosophy is to be 'the best dress watch', manual winds are in quite a few of their watches for the thinness.

There are some absolutely beautiful manual winds out there but I would never buy one because I'm merely a watch enthusiast, not a collector. xD

I love watches. To me they're like jewelry with a heart. :love: I hope you find one that moves you!
 
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Annawakes

Member
Apr 25, 2016
1,567
4,948
You are so welcome!

Tiffany is not well-known for watches, certainly not like Cartier. *shrugs* The benefit is that you might be able to get a good value on the resale market for them. I'd argue that the Atlas model is their most iconic. (I've always wanted a gold vintage Atlas, circa late 1980's, with roman numerals on the bezel.) You can find vintage Atlases in a square shape if you want something reminiscent of that Hermes watch.

I bought my Mark ~12 years ago, and it's going strong. It's a dress watch, so I'm not gardening or exercising in it. I wear it for work, or for when I really want to feel put together, and then I'm usually styling it with pearls or other Tiffany jewelry.

I've attached a (bad) photo of my Swiss watches (all quartz movements and well-worn) for you, in order: Gucci (dress up/down), Tissot PRC 100 (sporty), and Tiffany Mark (dressy). I also have a handful of cheap fashion watches in various gold colors. For me a watch completes an outfit as much as a handbag.

Perhaps instead of spending 3K on ONE watch to wear every day, maybe you could spend 3K on a few watches. You'd still be wearing a watch daily, it would better suit your mood/outfit/activity, and if the battery dies, you can always swap it for another in your collection. Just food for thought. ;)

Oh! And there's another brand I forgot: Longines! Good for us small-wrist people. I'm loving their Primaluna and Dolcevita models.
I do like Longines too! Thank you for the pic; your watches are beautiful. That's a good idea - if I were to get more than one watch, one would be a basic apple watch and another probably a Longines or Tissot. I think it will go for the basic apple watch for now....because I need to have *something* soon....and then keep looking. Thanks!
 
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Annawakes

Member
Apr 25, 2016
1,567
4,948
From your choices Cartier, and just because it seems like you want your watch to be a piece of jewellery more than a time keeper. but personally I wouldn’t go for any of it.
Thanks, I too am leaning towards none of the ones I listed as well.
 

Christofle

O.G.
Apr 21, 2011
5,009
6,523
Montreal
Whoops, I thought I filtered all the manual winds out! Yeah definitely do not get a manual wind for a daily wearer. I believe ALL Grand Seikos are either automatic or quartz, because following their philosophy of 'the best watch' convenience is a requirement. However because Credor's philosophy is to be 'the best dress watch', manual winds are in quite a few of their watches for the thinness.

There are some absolutely beautiful manual winds out there but I would never buy one because I'm merely a watch enthusiast, not a collector. xD

I love watches. To me they're like jewelry with a heart. :love: I hope you find one that moves you!
Grand Seiko has manual wind, automatic, spring drive (combination of automatic with a quartz brain to help regulate it) and finally HAQ (high accuracy quartz). Honestly, with a power reserve of 72 hours, a manual wind watch isn't all that frustrating to wind up every couple of days.
 

Annawakes

Member
Apr 25, 2016
1,567
4,948
This is fascinating, thank you. Those Grand Seiko's are indeed beautiful. I will have to take a look at this website Chrono24....I've never heard of it. Is it like Fashionphile for watches? Thank you for all of this information!

If you're looking for a quartz watch, it doesn't get any better than Grand Seiko imho. It's the nicest quartz finishing (every Grand Seiko is hand-finished to perfection), super accurate and durable, and Seiko (the parent company) made the world's first commercial quartz watch so it's got that heritage too. Secondhand models fall within your budget. Grand Seiko's purpose is to be "the perfect everyday watch", meaning accurate, legible, and durable. Watch enthusiasts collect these for the high quality workmanship and movement.

There's also Credor, another high-end line by Seiko that's more decorative with many models for ladies. It's even lesser known than Grand Seiko outside of Asia (since it wasn't marketed overseas), but the quality stands. Plus you get a lot of unique dials.

You can read about both Grand Seiko and Credor here: https://www.ikigai-watches.com/grand-seiko-and-credor-the-two-faces-of-the-same-coin/5259

Seiko also has a solid history in mechanical watches, and arguably makes some of the best.

In fact Swiss had a long tradition of holding quality comparisons for different brands of watches, but after Seiko beat all the competition for mechanical watches in 1968 (only quartz was able to beat their mechanical submission!), Swiss stopped holding these contests because they couldn't win anymore... :lol: You can read more about that here if interested: https://www.plus9time.com/seiko-the-neuchtel-chronometer-competition

Here's some examples of vintage Credor I found within your budget (and rectangular preference):
https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/seiko-credor--id17785151.htm


https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/credor--id14309354.htm


https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/credor--id14735538.htm


https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/credor-credor-diamond-emerald-k18-solid-46g--id16998103.htm (this is frickin' beautiful in 18k gold, diamonds, and emerald!)


And here's some Grand Seiko:

https://thegrandseikoguy.com/product/grand-seiko-5645-5010-2/


https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/stgf075--id16526394.htm


https://www.chrono24.com/seiko/stgf0414j52-oa10--id15776850.htm



Unfortunately the Grand Seikos I could find within that budget were mostly rounded, but if you look further you may find some rare rectangular ones. Personally I do prefer round faced watches for easier reading.

In the end buy the watch that makes you feel good, because it's just about the feelings it invokes. I may be bias because I just bought a Grand Seiko from Chrono24 and am still very excited about it. ;)