The best wristwatches

Written by lauren bailey
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The best wristwatches
Is your wristwatch the best choice for you? (BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Choosing the "best" wristwatch is really a hard call. In today's day and age, most watches serve their purpose well: to tell time. However, some are more favoured than others among watch aficionados.

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Most Expensive Luxury Watches (Men)

These are the brands that most people have not even heard of. They are also harder to find since production is limited. High-end jewellery dealers often have watches of this calibre on back order for years, but once you acquire one it will be valuable forever. The price range for these brands, which include Patek Phillipe, A. Lange & Sohne, Vacheron and Piguet is about £3,250 to £1.3 million, as of 2011. These watches are partially to fully handcrafted and usually have additional mechanical complications like moon phases and obscure calendar functions. According to the Watch Snob on the website Ask Men, Patek Phillipe is "the best mainstream watch company in terms of lasting value, history and tradition" and A. Lange & Sohne is "the best newer watch company in the same vein."

Mid-Range Luxury Watches (Men)

These are the most widely recognised luxury watches, are well-made and fairly timeless. Because they are well-known, these watches let people know that you have money and style. Depreciation is moderate and these watches have lasting durability, making them a solid buy. Brands in this range include Rolex, Breitling and Cartier, with prices ranging from £650 to £13,000 in 2011. These watches are mass-produced, but with excellent fit and a jewelrylike finish. The bands are either surgical grade steel or 14- to 18-karat gold.

"Almost" Luxury Watches (Men)

These watches are considered stylish and will serve you well for a number of years. They lack the longevity or return of the pricier watches, and most cannot claim the same classic value as brands like Rolex. Given that their prices are close to some mid-range luxury watches, yet with a very diminished used value, they are not the most economical of the luxury watches. Brands include Baume & Mercier, Raymond Weil and TAG Heuer with a price range in 2011 of about £325 to £2,600. Despite getting no mention in the Watch Snob's "Best Watch Brands," the Baume & Mercier Hampton City watch is cited by Forbes as one of the world's best fashion watches with a starting price of about £1,170.

Watches for Women

According to Forbes, the world's best women's watches include MW by Michele Deco Diamond, which features the most extensive and colourful strap collection to be found, as well as many precious gem options. Starting price is around £971 in 2011. Another highly rated watch is the Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duetto, which features a classic face for daytime hours and a wilder flip side for night on the town, starting at about £3,347. The Blancpain Flyback Chrono is made for the harried life of the modern woman with convenient features like the "flyback" hand. It retailed at about £7,800, but could be found somewhat discounted.

According to the MadeMan website, the best watches to buy for a woman include the Invicta Women's 5377 Square Angel Diamond Stainless Steel Chronograph; it features a square dial and diamond accents which make it very classy. It sells for about £71. The Bulova Women's 96R19 Diamond Chronograph features a mother-of-pearl dial, a date window and luminous hands, at about £156. The Fossil Women's BQ9364 Crystal is fun and bold with a red leather wrist strap. It sells for about £97.

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