Investing in a classic watch is a must.
You may typically reach for your smartphone to tell the time, but nothing beats a good old-fashioned timepiece to keep you punctual. They look good, swiftly fix up any casual outfit, and, looked after properly, can last for decades to be passed down through the generations.
The sheer amount of brands, styles and features (also known as ‘complications’ in the world of watches, which itself is known as ‘horology’) on the market can be overwhelming. And when you’re laying out hundreds of pounds on a watch (or even thousands…), you want to make the right decision.
First of all, what makes them tick? On the affordable side of the scale, you’ve got the quartz watch powered by, you guessed it, a piece of quartz and a battery, whilst the automatic watch, which is held in higher regard, is intricately complex, requires expert craftsmanship, and is powered by the kinetic energy gained from moving your wrist. Even the movement of the hands is different - whilst the quartz is similar to a wall clock with a tick per second, the automatic has a more fluid sweep which is more aesthetically pleasing.
Then you’ve got the design to consider. Do you want a dress watch with a leather strap which fits comfortably under your shirt cuff, or would you rather a bulkier masculine design with a metal strap, perfect for upgrading a casual weekend look? Even more so, there’s the endless added ‘complications’ to think about, like the ‘chronograph’, a stopwatch functionality, the ‘GMT’, which shows times in different timezones, or even a simple date display.
So, to help with this convoluted labyrinth of choosing a watch, we’ve rounded up the best in the business that are available to buy now, which we’re sure you’ll be telling the time with for years to come.
Rolex Pre Owned Watch Rolex DateJust Ref 16233
It doesn’t get more classic than a Rolex. Featuring on the wrist of Paul Newman in The Color Of Money, worn by Roger Federer when he broke the Grand Slam record, and given to JFK as a gift from Marilyn Monroe in 1962, Rolex is a brand that will forever be at the forefront of culture from sportsmen, to film stars, to politicians.
This DateJust is a secondhand style, which comes in at slightly less than the RRP today, and looks just as classic with the signature two tone stainless steel and gold strap. If you’d rather a brand new style, you can order one from their website.
Buy now £5499.00, Ramsdens
Omega Speedmaster Moonwatch Professional 2021 Men's Watch
As the first watch worn on the moon by Buzz Aldrin, Omega’s Speedmaster has a rich and interesting history. Having been a part of all six moon landings, the legendary chronograph is a representation of the brand’s adventurous pioneering spirit. This version was introduced in 2021, and is a presentation of how the 150-year-old brand expertly combines flair and timekeeping precision.
Buy now £6480.00, Ernest Jones
Longines Elegant Collection 39mm Automatic Mens Watch
With a Swiss-made automatic movement, classic design, and slim form, this 39mm watch from Longines’ elegant collection is the perfect dress watch for any formal occasion. With a brilliant white face, black leather strap, and sophisticated date window, it will work with any sharp suiting in your wardrobe, as well as a smart casual look for date night. Dating back to 1832, they’re known for their expert craftsmanship and elegant designs.
Buy now £1480.00, Goldsmiths
TAG Heuer Aquaracer Alarm Quartz 40.5mm Steel Watch
Creating watches since 1860, Tag Heuer has a unique bold style that is instantly recognisable. This sports watch is crafted in Switzerland with a quartz movement, sophisticated black dial, and luminous hands that remain visible even underwater - not that you need to be a professional diver for this sleek design to look great on your wrist. With a date window, rotating bezel, and alarm schedule, you’ll never miss an appointment again.
Buy now £1350.00, Mr. Porter
With watches that have been used on no fewer than 46 NASA missions, and a timer that was placed in the ‘sea of tranquility’ on the first moonwalk, Bulova’s history is out of this world (sorry…). Designed to be noticed, their Curv design is gold through and through, from the case, to the strap, to the dial. This five-hand chronograph uses quartz technology, has a skeleton face, and is protected by curved sapphire glass. Water resistant up to 30 metres, you’ll be able to use it anywhere.
Buy now £799.00, Bulova
Certina DS POWERMATIC 80
Dating back to 1888, Certina are associated with explorers and champions, from being the first watch to ascend Dhaulagiri in the Himalayas in 1960, to being the brand of choice for Muhammad Ali. Their DS Powermatic 80 has a classic vintage appeal with a gold face and brown leather strap, and would look just as good on an octogenarian as it would on their grandchildren. With an 80-hour power reserve and 100-metre water resistance, it’ll take you on even the most challenging expeditions - even if that’s just a trip to the pub.
Buy now £780.00, The Watch Hut
Hamilton Khaki Field King Auto Men's Watch
Staying true to the brand’s military heritage, Hamilton’s Field watch has a nod to the vintage army style, and is the perfect everyday automatic timepiece for a great price. Established in 1892, not only have they been worn by countless soldiers, but have also appeared in over 500 major films, from Shangai Express starring Marlene Dietrich to Matt Damon’s The Martian. Now owned by Swatch, they combine American Spirit with Swiss precision, and they do it well.
Buy now £465.00, Beaverbrooks
Perhaps the most iconic affordable watch, a digital Casio with a gold metal strap is a classic. This version is elevated with an analogue display with a white face, and also boasts the same useful features of a stopwatch and an alarm. Ideal for everyday wear, pair it with gold jewellery for maximum impact.
Buy now £34.99, Amazon