Watch Buying Guide

At Ideal World we think you should take your time when selecting the right watch for you or your loved ones. Watches are very personal to the individual and our pieces are for keeps, so we understand that such an important decision takes time, knowledge and personal taste.

We have created this simple watch buying guide to help inform you, ensuring you make the right decision. It will help you understand the various functions available in a watch and explain the different terminology often used. So once you’re all informed on horology, why not shop our extensive range?

Analogue
An analogue watch is not digital, but traditionally indicates the time by the continuous motion of two or three rotating pointers or hands pointing to numbers arrayed on a dial. The hours are marked in Arabic numerals, Roman numerals or baton markers; sometimes these are combined for fashion purposes.
ATM
This stands for ‘atmosphere’ and indicates how water resistant your timepiece is. 1 ATM is equal to 10 metres of water; so 3 ATM means the watch is water resistant to 30 metres.
Bezel
This is the ring around the outer edge of the dial, which, on sports watches, sometimes features markings and moves so it can be used to measure time or speed.
Chronograph
A chronograph watch has both timekeeping and stopwatch functions. These are available in the following analogue and digital formats:

  • Digital chronographs use a digital display for timekeeping and stopwatch functions
  • Analogue chronographs have an analogue face (see above) with a separate digital display
Chronometer
A chronometer has a high quality Quartz Movement (see below) that has been tested and certified to operate within a certain standard of accuracy by the COSC (Controle Officiel Suisse des Chronometres).
Crown
The crown is the button on the end of the spindle that is used for adjusting the time and/or date on an analogue watch. Also known as the ‘winder’.
Digital
A digital watch displays the time as a number, rather than with hands. It shows the time in hours, minutes, seconds and even fractions of seconds
Dual Time
A digital watch displays the time as a number, rather than with hands. It shows the time in hours, minutes, seconds and even fractions of seconds.
Kinetic
These watches use the movement of your body to keep them going. Kinetic movement is converted into electrical energy. This is great as you don’t need to change the battery, however, the battery could run down if the watch is not worn for some time. Some have a ‘sleep’ mode, which conserves energy when the watch is not in use.
LCD/LED Display
These are used to display the time on digital watches. LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display and LED stands for Light Emitting Diode.
Lens
The face of the watch is the lens. Cheaper watches may have plastic lenses, while more expensive models often feature mineral crystal or sapphire glass, which are more durable.
Movement
This is the mechanism that measures the passing of time and displays the current time. It sometimes displays other information, such as date, month and day. Movements can be mechanical, electronic or a blend of both. Many modern watches have electronic movements, with mechanical hands on the face to indicate the time. There are three main movements to opt for when buying a watch: automatic, quartz or mechanical. You will also need to consider other details such as battery changing, time accuracy or even winding.
Quartz Movement
One of the most precise forms of timekeeping, Quartz vibrates thousands of times per second. Many modern watches use a Quartz crystal movement, rather than a mechanical clockwork operation. Electronic movements often incorporate no moving parts and are battery driven. Thus, Quartz watches will need battery replacements from time to time.
Radio Controlled
These watches receive radio-controlled signals from a satellite transmitter, making them highly accurate.
Shock Resistant
Great for sports, these watches can withstand gentle jolts.
Splash-proof
If your watch is splash-proof, it can withstand splashes of water, but should not be submerged in water.
Tachymeter
A tachymeter measures speed, making it ideal for sailors and athletes.
Water-resistant
Water resistance is the measurement of how a watch withstands water splashes. Water resistance ratings are listed in depths or pressure, usually metres, which appear on the watch dial. This is only a guide, as watches are not normally tested in the sea, but in a laboratory.

  • 30m: Will resist moisture and can be submerged, no swimming
  • 50m: Can be worn while swimming in shallow water
  • 100m: Can be worn while snorkelling and swimming
  • 150m: Can be worn in the water, but not suitable for scuba diving
  • 200m+: Suitable for standard scuba diving
  • 1000m: May be worn for deep sea diving