Luxury Watch Countdown: Exceptional Styles to Give or Get post image

Kate Winslet for Longines


Luxury Watch Countdown: Exceptional Styles to Give or Get

Time flies. Time reveals all things. There’s no time like the present—and there’s no present like a timepiece. If you’re looking for a gift that will stand the test of, well, yes, a luxury watch is the high noon of gifting. Sentimental and practical, watches rest intimately on the wearer’s wrist, subtly reminding her of the day’s hours and the bestower’s generosity.

For generations, companies have excelled at elegantly matching state-of-the-art mechanics and materials with aesthetics. Now, here’s what you should know when shopping for watches (no matter the recipient) as well as our favorite models this season—but their appeal is truly timeless.

Longines watchLongines DolceVita diamond bracelet watch

Things to consider when shopping watches:


How the hands move across the watch face is determined by the movement. There are three classifications of horologic movement: mechanical, automatic and quartz. Mechanical watches are powered by a hand-wound mainspring. You are the custodian of the watch, ensuring it keeps time by your periodic attentions. This can make these designs feel very personal. For some watch enthusiasts, mechanical movement represents the pinnacle of watchmaking and its pedigree.

Automatic, or self-winding, watches are also powered by a mainspring, but do not require manual winding. Instead, a rotor that moves with the wrist winds the mainspring throughout the day. With these watches, if you’re not wearing them daily, you need to store them in a winder to keep them accurate.

On the more affordable, reliable and durable end of the spectrum are quartz watches. These rely on a small battery to determine their movement. Because of their sturdy electrical components, most sport watches are quartz powered, and many modern day dress watches are of this variety now too. But luxury heritage brands continue to make mechanical and automatic watches for the sake of nostalgia, the graceful sound they make (a lulling “tick-tick”) and the esteemed artistry of assembling watch components. It all comes down to personal preference.


In addition to time, many watches gauge additional events such as the date or moon phase. These are the watch’s complications, also found on the watch face. Especially noteworthy is the chronograph. Essentially this is a separate but attached stopwatch. Chronograph watches will have multiple dials (sub-registers) along the side of the watch head, or case; these function as the start/stop and setting controls. Some watches also have tachymeters, which together with the chronograph can allow you to determine speed and distance traveled, for instance.


Women’s watches generally vary in size from 20-44mm. Choose a watch based on the size of your wrist. The only way to really know which size is right is to try on different ones. There is also this handy guide if you’re shopping online or want to get a general idea now before you get too attached to that enormous sundial you’ve been eyeing.


Styles of watches include: bracelet, dive, field, dress, sport and smart. Each of these include further considerations such as what shape of watch case you want (circular, rectangle, oblong), band material, where you’ll be wearing the watch (formal occasions, daily, working out) and what kind of dial display you favor (Roman or Arabic numerals; stones or shapes).

In summary, choosing a watch is a personal journey with a lot of variables. This is what makes watches such thoughtful gifts. But it can also be intimidating, we get it. Here are some suggestions just to get you started.

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