How to Spot a High-Quality Watch

You don’t have to be an expert on watches to find a high-quality watch. By learning a few key characteristics of high-quality watches, you’ll be on your way to watch shopping confidently in no time.

If you’re buying a previously owned watch, you will want to view the product in person to verify the watch you’re getting is truly high quality. There are many characteristics that make up a quality watch, so we’ve laid out a few of the most basic components to show you how to spot the difference between a counterfeit watch and a high-quality watch.

What Makes a Watch High Quality?

When shopping for a watch, there are a few telltale signs that the product is high quality or not. Even without seeing the brand name, a watch’s material, water resistance, glass type and movement can tell you the type of quality you’re getting. These characteristics can typically be found on the back of the watch.


A high-quality watch will be made of at least stainless steel. Other high-quality watch materials that can be used, but cost a bit more, would include gold, silver, platinum and titanium. Watches made of these metals will have a smooth and seamless finish. A genuine, high-quality watch will also have a PVD coating to protect the metal and ensure it keeps its color even after continual wear.

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Other than metals, leather can be used as a high-quality watch strap. Calfskin leather is a highly rated leather for watch straps, but other leather types are also available.

Water Resistance

Water is extremely damaging to watches. Luckily, water-resistant watches allow you to go about your day-to-day life without having to take extra precautions to keep your watch working.

Water-resistant watches at their basic level offer humidity protection and safety from rain or other splashes of water. Some watches offer more protection than others. Water-resistant watches will likely have the maximum depth or water pressure they can endure before damage inscribed somewhere on their surface.

Glass Type

One quality watch element that may be overlooked is the type of glass used for the face of the watch. Sapphire glass is the most durable and scratch-resistant glass option. When wearing a watch with sapphire glass, you have peace of mind knowing that your watch can handle whatever gets thrown your way.

Other glass options include mineral glass and acrylic. Mineral glass is decently scratch resistant, but it still can’t hold up to sapphire glass. If a watch has acrylic glass, that is a sign you are dealing with a low-quality watch, as the glass is very easily scratched. Sapphire glass is the highest-quality watch glass you’ll find.


A high-quality watch is going to look nice on the outside and function at optimal performance on the inside. When inspecting a watch you’re interested in, take notice of how the watch hands move. Do they look choppy, or are they moving smoothly? A high-quality watch will always have smooth movement.

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Avoiding Fake Watches

Buying used designer watches is a great way to get the quality watch you want at a more affordable price.¬†Luxury pawn shops¬†already authenticate their merchandise, so you can shop knowing you’re getting the real deal. However, if you’re going to shop from individual sellers or you like to verify authenticity for yourself, you’ll need to learn how to spot fake watches.


One of the first and most obvious signs a watch is fake is it feels too light. A watch made of real, high-quality materials will have some weight to it. Cheaper materials mean an overall lighter watch. If a watch feels too light, you’ll want to pay extra attention to the other watch elements to determine whether the product is real or not.


A fake designer watch may look nice on the outside, but the mechanics inside will give it away. If the watch hands are moving in a choppy manner or you can hear the watch ticking loudly, you’re probably dealing with a counterfeit watch. A true designer watch moves seamlessly.

Spelling Errors

You don’t need to know much about watches to know that a luxury watch brand would not have spelling errors. These misspellings may not be so obvious either, maybe just a letter or two switched or one letter missing.

Research what a specific watch’s engravings should look like. Then, carefully examine all engravings on the watch and pay attention to the quality of the engraving. The engraving should look clean and clear.

The Importance of Watch Appraisal

If you currently own a high-quality or designer watch, getting a professional appraisal done lets you know how much your watch is worth. The value of your watch may change over time, sometimes increasing in value and sometimes decreasing. Knowing how much your watch is worth is important if you ever plan to sell it.

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Of course, if you’re selling a high-quality watch, you will want to be paid appropriately. One way to raise the value of your watch is to keep the original receipt or box to prove the watch’s authenticity. Providing documentation will also help you along in the appraisal process.

Other ways to increase the value of your watch include the following:

  • Clean the watch:¬†Make sure your watch is looking its best. Clean off all dirt and dust with water and a paper towel, and use a leather cleaner for any leather straps.
  • Verify the watch is functional:¬†If you last used your watch a while ago, make sure it is still functioning properly before bringing it in for appraisal.
  • Bring all pieces:¬†If you’ve modified your watch strap to make it fit better, remember to bring in any of the strap links you removed.

On the other side of the watch market are watch buyers. If you are currently looking to buy a used watch, a professional appraisal is the best way to ensure you are buying a genuine product. Appraisals are done by experts who know exactly what to look for to verify designer watch authenticity.

Appraisals also evaluate watch quality. Unless you enjoy collecting watches, you’re going to want the used watch you buy to be in good working condition. Luxury pawn shops like¬†The Vault Jewelry and Loan¬†only sell high-quality items. If we are selling a product, it is because it has been verified as genuine and meets or exceeds quality standards.

Shop High-Quality Watches at The Vault Jewelry and Loan

Find the high-quality watch you want at an affordable price at The Vault Jewelry and Loan. With an expansive selection of designer watches, our experts can help you find a watch suited to you. Our watches have been authenticated so you can shop with peace of mind. With various locations throughout Northern Virginia, find a store near you and have a look at our inventory today.

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