Watch Guru: 5 Things You Should Know Before Collecting Watches

Watch Guru: 5 Things You Should Know Before Collecting Watches

As an avid consumer of affordable watches with amazing quality, our Watch Guru Joshua Clare-Flagg from the popular watch blog Watch It All About is giving an insight into his thoughts on the watch world.


Thousands of watches have passed through my hands throughout my lifetime. Whether it’s from my personal collection, or for reviewing it for my website WIAA, over the years I’ve stored a few interesting nuggets I’d love to share with you. So, here are my top 5 things you should know before collecting watches!

Swiss Doesn’t Automatically Mean the Best

My number one tip for watch collectors just starting out. Yes, you can’t deny Swiss watches are some of the best created. But, it’s a good idea not to narrow your focus just on Swiss. If you’re interested in luxury timepieces, then Grand Seiko from Japan is a wonderful alternative. So are A. Lange & Söhne and Glashütte from Germany.

However, with the rise of microbrands over the past few years, you can get outstanding quality watches which are made in China.

Some smaller brands manufactured in China can be miles ahead in terms of build quality than a cheap Swiss Made watch costing less than £100.

Did you know that some parts of watches labelled “Swiss Made” are manufactured in China?

For the Swiss Made label, the following rules need to be followed:
  • The movement is Swiss
  • The movement is cased up in Switzerland
  • 60% of the manufacturing costs must occur in Switzerland (which is mostly the casing and cost of the movement)
  • The manufacturer carries out the final inspection in Switzerland
  • Therefore 40% of the watch can be made elsewhere. So if some of the best watch brands trust manufacturing in China, you can be sure that their build quality can be up to scratch.

Depth Charge Automatic Diver's Watch

For instance, this Depth Charge is built like a tank, and features a sapphire crystal, ceramic bezel insert, 200m water resistance, reliable automatic movement - and it’s a ridiculous £179!

Depth Charge Automatic Divers Watch DB106621

The long and short of it is, open up your mind to watches not made in Switzerland as they can match them, even surpass them in terms of build quality!

Do Plenty of Research

If you’re serious about watch collecting, or want to get the best watch for your money, learn all there is to learn about watches!

  • It’s deployant not deployment
  • Mechanical? Auto and hand wind
  • Learn about their various parts
  • Don’t cite one post on insta, fb or a forum as fact. Lots of people like to think they know everything about watches and make it seem like they do, but most of the time, they don’t.
Knuckle down, get your facts right, and you’ll be able to make the best informed decisions you can.

Hamilton Khaki Officer Mechanical Watch

Mens Hamilton Khaki Officer Mechanical Watch H69439933

Seiko 5 Sports Automatic Watch

Seiko 5 Sports Watch SRPD53K1

Understand Your Wrist Size and What Watches Fit You Best

When shopping for watches, it’s important to pay attention to the dimensions and your wrist size. You may only like big chunky watches and buy whopping watches over 50mm, which is fine of course, but if you want to wear a watch that’s comfortable, that looks great on the wrist, then give your wrist a measure.

Here are my top tips regarding watch and wrist sizes:
  • Firstly, you need to give heed to the lug to lug length of the watch. That’s the length from the top to the bottom of the lugs which the straps connect to.
  • Here are some simple sizing guidelines:
  • If your wrist is under 7”, go for 36-38mm diameter and 46mm l2l
  • Around 7” like me? 40-42mm diameter and 48mm l2l is sweet spot, just look at how nicely this Certina fits me at 41mm and this Baume & Mercier at 40mm
  • Over 7.5”? 44mm+ diameter upwards and 50mm l2l
  • If you get a watch that fits your wrist to a tee, trust me, you won’t believe how much of a difference it makes to a more enjoyable wear.

    Note: The Seiko 5 Sports featured in the above video was so popular it is currently out of stock. This Mens Seiko Automatic Watch is the perfect alternative.

Certina DS-1 Automatic Watch

 Certina Watch C0334511605100

Respect the Bigger Boys

The world of watches wouldn’t be the same without the big brands. Don’t just poopoo them as if they’re charging a lot for no reason. Research a brand and understand their history and what they’ve done for the industry.

For instance, Rolex has done so much in terms of innovation and invention.
  • The first waterproof case
  • The first self-winding watch with a perpetual motor


  • Seiko unveiled the Astron in 1969, which was the world's first quartz wristwatch. Imagine if that didn’t happen?!

    Hamilton created the first digital watch; the Pulsar P1 in 1972.

    Without the hard work of these and many other forefathers of the industry, the watches we love to see today wouldn’t be the same.

Be Strong and Like What You Like!

Take me for example. Many serious watch enthusiasts don’t like Hublot. They say they’re too rash, with no heritage behind them. But for me, the Big Bang is one of my grail pieces. I adore that watch, even if it may not go down well with others.

It works in the other direction too. Do you like Rolex? I’m sure you have a measure of respect for them as per my previous point. But do you only want a Rolex because that’s what you think others would be impressed by?

If you only like or dislike a watch because of other people’s opinions, you won’t feel the same about them. Go for watches that you truly like. That’s the main thing.

So, there you go - my top 5 things you should know before collecting watches!