Analog or digital. There are three basic watch formats digital, analog and analog-digital, each type has their fans, however most of your topline watches tend to be analog. Digital watches as a whole are less expensive, Analog-digital are next with full analog the most expensive. Digital watches have their place. For example, if you need a stopwatch a digital or analog digital may be your best bet. Though true analog watches are among the most expensive budget price analog watches can also be found.
Water resistance: Watches are rated from 30m to 300m water resistant. You may well want a water resistant watch but most of us aren’t divers that need a 300m (or 1,000ft) rated resistance. You should look for a watch with at least 3ATM (100m) water resistance. However; don’t overbuy in this category
Movement: All watches these days are one of two categories mechanical or quartz. Quartz watches can be broken down into automatic, battery or solar powered. Mechanical watches are either automatic or hand winding. Most mid-priced watches will be battery powered. Mechanical watches, and more specifically hand winding watches, once the mainstay of watches have been largely replaced by Quartz models.
Watch Shape. Classic men’s watches are round, square or rectangular, with round being the most prevalent. Women’s can be these same shapes while fashion watches can be of almost any shape. However, the round, square, rectangle classic look can be worn with just about anything, anywhere. Best to go classic for men. Women can buy watches for the outfit but classic are still your best buy for all around wear.
Case and band materials: Case and band materials are typically stainless steel, ceramic or plated base metal. The choice is largely up to the consumer. However stainless steel and ceramic will last the longest without showing wear. Gold-filled is preferred to gold plate, the thickness of the gold filling being 100% greater than gold plate. Gold filled like solid gold and unlike plated gold is non allergenic. Solid gold or silver of course is the ultimate but the price will be high and is most appropriate for dress wear. Let me not leave out Leather bands, they are classy, and usually less expensive to replace. They are very attractive on a dress watch but one should think twice before buying them for strenuous work or play regiments.
Case size: Case size is typically between 40-44mm for men and 36mm or smaller for women. There are exceptions and size is largely a matter of taste. However as a general rule watches should not extend wider than the wrist.
Features: Features are many and should be chosen by need. Most watches have a 12-hour dial, but 24-hour dials can be had. Watches with Chronographer, altimeters, calculators, alarms, backlights, atomic radio controlled and compass are all functions that are available in the marketplace. However one word of caution is the more accessories you pile on a watch, the greater the likelihood of failure of one or more. Buy the functions you need, don’t be for example, and be lured into an altimeter in Kansas.