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Navigating the Watch Market: Brands to Steer Clear From and Why

August 5, 2023
4 mins read

Key Takeaways:

  • Not all watch brands deliver the quality they promise, and some are best avoided.
  • Certain fashion brands offer watches that lack durability and craftsmanship.
  • Understanding the different types of watches can help make an informed purchase.
  • Brands like Seiko, Fossil, and Timex offer affordable, reliable alternatives.

The Evolution of the Wristwatch: From Necessity to Statement Piece

Despite the ubiquity of smartphones and other digital devices that prominently display the time, wristwatches have managed to maintain their appeal. In the past decade, the role of the wristwatch has shifted from being a mere functional accessory to a statement of personal style and, in some cases, luxury. Despite this evolution, the craftsmanship, durability, and overall quality of a watch remain vital considerations for buyers. This article will guide you through some watch brands to avoid and provide alternatives that deliver quality at a reasonable price.

The Golden Rule of Watch Buying

When venturing into the realm of wristwatches, one principle should always guide you: prioritize brands that specialize in watches. Various fashion brands have expanded into watchmaking, often sourcing low-quality watches and repackaging them with their brand name. This practice can lead to watches with poor durability and craftsmanship, yet carrying a premium price tag. Notably, this rule has exceptions as some fashion brands manage to produce decent watches, albeit often priced as high as dedicated watch brands.

Understanding the Types of Watches

To make an informed purchase, understanding the different types of watches and their mechanisms is essential. Here, we delve into the four most common types of watches:

Digital Watches

These timepieces, primarily associated with sports and military use, require regular battery replacements but demand no maintenance.

Automatic Watches

Automatic watches harness the wearer’s movements for power, eliminating the need for batteries. However, they require regular wear to keep accurate time.

Quartz Watches

As the most popular type of watch, Quartz watches require minimal maintenance and run on long-lasting batteries, making them a reliable choice.

Mechanical Watches

Considered the most luxurious, mechanical watches are known for their craftsmanship and accuracy. However, they need regular winding and can be expensive.

Brands to Avoid and Why

In an industry saturated with options, identifying which brands to avoid can be a daunting task. Here, we list five brands that have been noted for their subpar quality:


Although MVMT watches boast modern and sleek designs, the materials and mechanisms used do not match the high price tag.

Swiss Legend

Despite its name, Swiss Legend does not live up to the Swiss watchmaking reputation. The watches are of low quality and fail to deliver the durability associated with Swiss watches.


Invicta has been known to imitate reputable brands and misrepresent the origins and features of their watches, coupled with low build quality.


Stuhrling also misrepresents itself as a European brand, while employing similar strategies to Invicta, including design plagiarism and inflated pricing.

Daniel Wellington

Daniel Wellington watches have been criticized for their short lifespan and usage of cheap materials, despite their attractive designs and high prices.

Guide to Deciphering Watch Marketing Gimmicks

In the universe of watches, marketing and branding play a considerable role in product positioning. Sometimes, the brand’s name or the geographical reference could be used as a misleading element to entice potential customers. “Swiss Made” or “European Craftsmanship” might be included in product descriptions, creating an illusion of unparalleled quality and craftsmanship. In reality, these claims can be deceptive and might not indicate any superior quality or precision in timekeeping.

Take Invicta for example, which is notorious for selling watches with borrowed designs from reputable brands like Seiko and Timex. They use the terms “Swiss” and “Swiss Made” labels to create a sense of prestige, even though their watches may not have any connection to Switzerland.

In the same vein, Stuhrling, a Brooklyn-based brand that misleadingly claims to be European, often inflates prices on its website, making the deals on resellers appear highly lucrative.

Therefore, it is crucial to cut through the marketing gimmicks and assess a watch based on its build quality, materials used, reliability, and price-to-performance ratio.

Picking Quality Over Aesthetics

While it’s tempting to judge a watch by its face value, it’s essential to look beyond the surface. Brands like MVMT and Daniel Wellington are often praised for their sleek and modern designs, but the reality under the hood paints a different picture. They use cheap materials and movements, resulting in watches that lack durability and longevity.

Paying a premium price for a good-looking watch might seem justifiable, but when that watch fails after a short period, the initial appeal fades away quickly. Instead, it would be wise to consider brands that strike a balance between aesthetics and quality, ensuring the watch’s longevity and its appeal.

Harnessing Asian Craftsmanship

A common misbelief in the watch market is that European watches, particularly Swiss, are the epitome of quality and craftsmanship. However, Japanese and Chinese manufacturers have been making significant strides in recent years, creating products that rival Swiss precision at much more affordable prices.

Seiko, a Japanese brand, manufactures all their watches’ movements and offers models that are affordable, reliable, and durable. Similarly, Fossil, while designing its watches in Switzerland, employs movements from China and Japan, indicative of the impressive improvements in Asian watchmaking.

Consequently, disregarding a watch because of its Asian origin could mean missing out on high-quality and high-precision timepieces that won’t break the bank.

Avoiding the Fashion Brand Pitfall

While it might be tempting to trust a big-name fashion brand for your next watch purchase, the reality is that many of these companies are not watch specialists. Brands like Armani, Michael Kors, and others typically purchase inexpensive watches from manufacturers, rebrand them, and sell at a premium price, with little regard for the watch’s quality or longevity.

Therefore, when shopping for a watch, it’s generally advisable to opt for a brand that specializes in watchmaking rather than a fashion brand venturing into watches.

Closing Thoughts

Navigating the sea of watch brands can be a daunting task. However, by steering clear of misleading marketing gimmicks, prioritizing quality over aesthetics, considering the rise of Asian craftsmanship, and avoiding fashion brands with questionable watchmaking credibility, you’ll be better equipped to find a timepiece that not only looks good on your wrist but also stands the test of time.

Remember, a watch is more than just an instrument to tell time; it is an expression of personal style and a symbol of craftsmanship and tradition. So take the time to choose wisely, and you’ll be rewarded with a timepiece that you’ll cherish for years to come.

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About Levi Keswick

LeviKeswick serves as a vibrant hub for diverse individuals to share their stories, absorb and contribute to emerging fashion trends, lifestyle concepts, and innovative ideas. We offer valuable insights and advice, amalgamating information painstakingly curated by experts in the field, alongside fashion connoisseurs and influential social media personalities.