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Are expensive watches better than cheap watches?

What makes one watch better than another?

Since most modern watches are pretty much equally reliable in terms of keeping time, how do you pick the best watch for you? Your choice really depends on what qualities you value in a timepiece and what you're willing to spend to get those qualities. Here are a few factors you may want to consider:

  • Aesthetics -- Do you value fine design and intricate machinery? Do you want to look stylish and sophisticated? If so, you may want to opt for a brand-name mechanical timepiece, rather than a humbler quartz running timer. If you're a trust-funder or a lottery winner, you might opt for a $10,000 designer watch with a streamlined stainless steel and gold case, elegant rose gold hands and a black-and-blue guilloche dial [source: Watch Journal]. But for the more frugal, it's possible to obtain a high-quality, elegantly designed watch for around $500 on the Internet [source: Google].
  • Versatility -- If you're a gadget buff or just someone who wants a watch that can do a lot of other things besides tell time, a few hundred bucks will buy you the equivalent of a Swiss Army Knife that you can wear on your wrist. For fitness enthusiasts, there are watches that measure heart rate and are GPS-enabled to track the distance and average speed of your running or walking workout [source: Muston]. There's also the Oregon Scientific weather watch, available for around $50, which actually measures barometric pressure trends and provides forecasts [source:]. There's even a $33 digital watch that doubles as a video and music player and as an FM radio [source:].
  • Durability -- If you're a scuba enthusiast, skydiver or Arctic explorer, maybe your ideal watch is a gadget that'll endure whatever extreme conditions you put it through. And there are watches designed to do just that, such as the Swiss Military "20,000 Feet" wristwatch, a titanium timepiece that's capable of enduring everything from a blast of water from fire hose to being blown up with dynamite. Of course, extreme durability doesn't come cheap -- it retails for $4,400 [source: Fallon].