Before Buying a Watch Online, Read This.

As a consumer it can be very difficult to distinguish a high quality watch from a low quality watch. Many brands have stunning photography, great marketing, and high prices; but poor quality watches.

We have spoken with many consumers who had spent their hard earned money on low-end watches from well known brands, simply because they didn't know any better! Well, after reading our 5 tips below, you should have a much better understanding of how to find a great watch for a great price!

Tip #1: High Price Does not mean High Quality

The retail price of a watch is typically determined by the following:

  • Cost of materials, labor, and factory margin markup
  • Retail price markup: which is determined by the number of middlemen between the factory and the consumer. (Will it be sold in stores, or online direct to consumer)?
  • Brand positioning – is this brand considered high end, luxury, cheap/fast fashion, etc.

However, at the end of the day the retail price of a watch usually has nothing to do with the actual cost of making the watch; which is crazy because the manufacturing cost IS what determines the quality!

If you browse the internet, or scroll through Instagram, you are almost guaranteed to see a watch ad. Many of these watch brands are selling watches for over $200 when it only cost them $10-$15 to make.

They get away with selling these poorly made watches at a high price because the consumer is often confused on what actually makes a high quality watch.

Here is where it gets interesting!

Tip #2: Sapphire Crystal vs. Mineral Crystal

The crystal is the see through material covering the watch face. It is often referred to as “glass”. Most watches today are made from Mineral or Sapphire Crystal.

Mineral Crystals are cheap to make and are used in lower-end watches. They are extremely easy to scratch and break. If you accidentally drop your watch, or brush up against a wall, there is a good chance your mineral crystal will have a permanent scratch on it.

Mineral crystals are significantly cheaper than sapphire crystals, which is why they are used on lower end watches. 

Sapphire Crystals are The highest quality and most expensive of watch crystals. These crystals are second in hardness only to diamonds and are therefore nearly impossible to scratch. All SOFTLI Paradigm watches are equipped with Domed Sapphire Crystal.

Check out the video below of us trying to scratch our SOFTLI Paradigm 40mm with a knife! 

Whether a watch has Sapphire Crystal or not is a good indication on the overall quality of the watch! Watches with Sappire crystal will still look great after many years of use. 

Tip #3: Research The Movement

The movement is what makes your watch tick and hopefully keep time correctly. However, not all movements are made equal. A high quality movement will keep time with precision; a badly made movement will have inconsistent tick speeds causing time to be lost.

Swiss and Japanese movements have the best reputations. German movements are less common (in the US) but are also known for their high quality. Swiss made watches and movements have a history of being the best in the business, which is the reason why you always hear the terms “Swiss Made” and “Swiss Movement”.

All SOFTLI Paradigm Watches are made with Swiss Movements from the Swiss Movement maker, Ronda.

Tip #4: Check the Leather Straps!!

This is often overlooked by consumers simply because the terminology for leather quality can be confusing. Leather is usually described as “Full Grain”, “Top Grain”, or “Genuine Leather”. Do NOT settle for anything less than Full Grain Leather!

Look at the difference in color and texture between the SOFTLI Paradigm 40mm Italian Full Grain Leather Straps and the Genuine Leather Straps from the other brand:

The Full Grain Leather SOFTLI Straps are soft and natural. The Genuine Leather straps are hard, smooth, and don't feel like leather at all. 

Full Grain is the highest quality leather available and means that it has retained the hides top layer. The top layer of the leather is the most durable. Full Grain leather is known for its appearance, texture, and durability. You can expect your watch straps to be soft, comfortable, and last for years!

Top Grain leather is one step down in quality from full grain. The top layer of the hide has been removed making this leather less durable. Top Grain leather watch bands can be good quality, but they typically won't last as long as full grain leather bands. They are not as comfortable either.

Genuine leather is the lowest quality of leather available on the market! It is also the most common leather used for watch straps. Many consumers simply think the term “Genuine Leather” means that the leather is real and therefore high quality.

In actuality, genuine leather is what is left behind after the full grain and top grain layers of the hide have been removed. This results in weak leather fibers that will disintegrate, split/crack, and rip very easily. Genuine Leather is also less comfortable than the other two options above.

Tip #5: It's All About the Details

Many watch brands cut corners when it comes to the details!

Custom Watch Case and Design: The more research you do on watches, the more you will start to see the exact same watch cases and designs appear over and over again. The only difference will be the logo that is printed on the face of the watch.

Below is a screenshot from one of our SOFTLI Watch Design Engineers. We have crossed out all of the mathematics and measurements to ensure our watch case/design stays unique and cannot be duplicated!

Quick Release Straps should be used on every leather band watch. This is a simple feature that allows consumers to change out watch bands within seconds.

Snap On vs Screw On Case Back: Snap on cases are cheaper and harder for the consumer to remove.

If you are buying a plated watch (Rose Gold, Gold, Gunmetal, etc.), check to see if the back of the case is the same color. Plating a watch case costs additional money, and many watch brands try to save a few extra dollars by not plating the back of the case (See image below).

You should now be armed with enough knowledge to make a smart buying decision!

Here at SOFTLI we wanted to create a simple, minimalist watch that looked similar to other popular fashion watches on the market. However, we thought consumers deserved the highest quality materials and focused attention to detail that was mentioned above!

We are also proud to have priced our timepieces fairly at $249

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