One of the most commonly asked questions I face in my work as editor and watch specialist in Sweden is: what should I buy as a first premium watch? Often, they already have their eyes on a few iconic pieces but for different reasons feel an uncertainty connected to the significant investment. This decision is obviously something highly personal but in this article I´ve decided to list a few things that might help you decide on what is the best timepiece for you to start off the collection.
The aspect most important to the majority I’ve spoken to is versatility. The first premium watch you invest in should be something that can transition from the casual Sunday outfit to the office. It needs to feel natural with a cashmere sweater and a pair of blue jeans but at the same time complement the business suit.
A great example of this are the semi-formal category of watches such as the Portugieser. They are traditional in their design with a clean aesthetic dial but still sporty in the sense of a slightly more robust and hefty case. On a black alligator strap, you have a watch that would work wonderfully in any boardroom and still be able to act as a weekend companion. Another great aspect of these type of watches are the interchangeable straps. While the original black strap is the first choice, a light brown calf or suede version may alter the appearance of the watch completely and offer almost two watches in one.
Portugieser Chronograph (IW371491)
Portugieser Chronograph (IW371491)
Ingenieur Automatic (IW357002)
Portugieser Chronograph (IW371447)
Next we have another highly important aspect to consider when you choose between watches. What kind of life, personality and style do you have? While many watches have the versatility, not everyone is in need of a watch to wear with the suit. If you are an active person with the ambition to wear your watch in every part of your day-to-day life, you may require something with a certain kind of specifications. For example, a higher water or shock resistance, making it safe to swim, and exercise with. For such a personality I would recommend a diver watch or a watch on a tropic strap or metal bracelet. This is due to the fact that both these options are much more resistant to water and perspiration than the leather or alligator straps. Two great examples would be the Aquatimer and the Ingenieur.
If you instead have a sartorial style in general and work in a suit on a daily basis, I might suggest a more refined and delicate timepiece to compliment your style. Perhaps the Portofino which is a great dress watch with an elegant profile that fits perfectly under the cuff of your dress shirt.
One question that is just as important as the model itself is the size and fit on your wrist. Everyone has a different perspective on how a watch should fit your wrist and the only one you should listen to is yourself. As a recommendation I would say that I personally favor a watch that sits comfortably without extending the lugs beyond the edge of the wrist. Since everyone’s wrists are different, not just in size but in shape, it is important to always try out the watch you’re considering thoroughly before pulling the trigger. Sometimes you’d be amazed on how different the watch actually feels compared to the official measurements.
While a dress watch can benefit from being on the smaller and thinner side, one can argue that sportier watches have a history of a more generous size for practical reasons. For example, the Big Pilot was first developed for pilots and had to be large, both to fit the pocket watch movement and to offer visibility in a dark cockpit. This has since become the essence of the design and personally I think It is one of the iconic models that needs to wear big.
Pilot’s Watch UTC Spitfire Edition “MJ271” (IW327101)
Pilot’s Watch Chronograph Spitfire (IW387902)
On the other hand, you may find some beautiful watches from the pilot collection that look absolutely brilliant in a smaller version. Not everyone feels comfortable wearing a +44 mm watch, but rest assured, one of my personal favorites is the Pilot 36 with a beautiful brushed bracelet which gives it the perfect balance between sporty and elegant. Especially on a smaller wrist. There is definitely a watch for every person and every wrist, and it is all about finding the right one for you.
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