Advice for selecting and buying a luxury watch in London
December 21, 2010 5:28 AM   Subscribe

[London Shopping Filter] I'd like to buy an expensive watch in the New Year. Budget is up to £2,500 so I'm looking for advice on the best places to browse a wide range of makes and models and then (once I've picked something) the best place to buy it.

My current watch has just fallen apart and, on the basis that I wear a watch every single day, it's really my only luxury item, I'm getting older and I can afford it, I thought I'd splash out on something which will last me for the next 10 years at a cost of about 69p a day.

I'm not really sure what I want. Probably Seiko, Tag Heuer, Omega or something of that ilk - although to be honest I'm pretty much open to any chronometer as long as it looks nice, works with a suit (as well as casually) and, most importantly, doesn't look stupidly oversized on my rather small wrists. Budget is up to £2,500 but if I can get something that I like for less then I'll be happy. I don't expect to spend less than £400.

Given my indecisiveness, I'm going to have to do some serious browsing of all the available models from all the major manufacturers - however I'm unsure where the best place would be to do that. I've been to Westfield, is that the best place there is? If not, where else can I go in London?

In addition, once I know exactly what I want, where would be the best place to buy it from to get the most out of my money? Happy to consider online as long as the store is reputable.
posted by mr_silver to Shopping (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I forgot to add, any websites that you can recommend which helps me negotiate through the minefield of (expensive) choices to come to a decision on what I would like to buy would also be appreciated.

On the flip side, advice on shops, sites or areas not to go to would also be helpful.
posted by mr_silver at 5:31 AM on December 21, 2010

It seems obvious, but Harrods has a pretty extensive selection. Burlington Arcade has a few watch dealers too.

Also, I think Panerai watches are lovely and worth a look [Dealer is in Chiswick, by the way].
posted by MuffinMan at 5:58 AM on December 21, 2010

This is exactly why Watches of Switzerland exisits. Have fun being treated like a high roller!
posted by dmt at 6:30 AM on December 21, 2010

I can recommend Mappin & Webb in Regent Street but have not been there for a few years.
Also Watches of Switzerland, they have several branches.
posted by lungtaworld at 6:30 AM on December 21, 2010

These places are not cheap. If you want to get best value for your money, pre-owned might worth a look - somewhere like this, maybe.
posted by Segundus at 6:36 AM on December 21, 2010

My husband spent a lot of time researching watches a couple of years back (will get him to post an update later, if possible) and decided on a Christopher Ward, which I understand to be as good, if not better than, a lot of the high end brands but significantly cheaper. The downside is that they're only available online, as far as I know.
posted by dogsbody at 6:40 AM on December 21, 2010

If I could get any new watch in your price range, I would get a Omega Planet Ocean. Simple, classic, will look good in 30 years and your kids will fight over who inherits it.

If I could get any watch in your price range, I would get a vintage 1960s Tag Heuer or Omega, with the knowledge it will take some maintenance.
posted by 2bucksplus at 6:47 AM on December 21, 2010

I second the motion to take a trip to Switzerland - why not? Maybe also try the luxury magazines of the Financial Times or some other newspaper that caters to business people. They are always advertising high end watches.
posted by msk1985 at 7:53 AM on December 21, 2010

Get on a plane and buy outside the uk. Will save a fortune, I saved 1k doing this. Some stores will even tKe phone orders and ship it out, saving even more.

If you decide to purchase a watch from a smaller manufacturer try And deal with them direct.
posted by moochoo at 8:48 AM on December 21, 2010

Selfridges watch dept have a pretty huge selection. They are 2 blocks up from New Bond st / Old Bond st where you will find practically every other fine watch company.

For that money consider the idea of getting two watches, a thin watch for wearing with a suit and a bigger chronograph for casual wear.

The quality watch shops sell everything at list price, discounts are pretty rare. They are charging you for their service so just make sure they earn it by finding you exactly the right watch. is a useful (if rather obsessive) watch forum if you want a real military watch
posted by Lanark at 3:29 PM on December 21, 2010

I just want to point out that regular quartz watches are all more accurate than mechanical chronometers. There are quartz chronometers though. Just wanted to point that out.

Best of luck!
posted by I-baLL at 12:05 PM on December 22, 2010

Great answers from everyone, thanks very much.

So far I've had a couple of very large bills come through (including a re-mortgage) which has meant I've not gone out buying yet. However I'm leaning towards the Omega Planet Ocean.

The Christopher Ward watches do look quite nice too, but if I'm going to spend that sort of money, I want to be able to hold them in my hands and try them out first.
posted by mr_silver at 2:02 PM on January 20, 2011

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