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Watches Buying Guide

A comprehensive guide that will give you all the information you need on how to buy watches.

Getting Started

Watches have come a long way since their invention in the early 1500s. No longer are they simply used for telling time. A watch can now become an extension of who you are, what you like, and the personality you are trying to convey. At Abt Electronics, our wide selection gives you the opportunity to find what best fits your needs at great prices.

When picking out a watch, there are several things you need to be asking yourself, such as where will I be wearing it? What will my attire be while wearing it? What activities will I be doing while wearing it? All of these are important to consider when picking out your watch.


Watch Face

Watch faces are available with many different features and colors. The most basic face has the hour-hand, minute-hand, and second-hand accompanied by the date. In the more sophisticated watches you will find any combination of the following: a stop watch, a barometer, a meter with the current day/month, a moon phase which will tell you when the next full moon occurs, and many other features.


Depending on the watch, you may see a feature called "Illumination." Illumination or Back Light is the feature of the watch that makes the dial glow. This is useful when it is too dark to see the hands on the watch face.

Movement Types

You may have heard this slogan for a watch brand: "It takes a licking, and keeps on ticking." So what is it that makes a watch tick? Watches rely on several different energy sources to keep accurate time and that second-hand always ticking.

Automatic Watches

Automatic Watches will wind themselves by the motion of the wearer. As long as there is movement, the watch will remain wound and working properly. The benefit of the automatic watch is the ease of use and natural charging. Self-winding watches require the wearer to literally wind the watch's crown, which is located on the right side.

Quartz Watches

Quartz Watches are the result of watch makers' constant quest for accuracy. Prototypes of quartz watches were being developed around 1950. Quartz watches were not available to the public in any real numbers until the 1970s. The power source of a quartz watch is usually a battery. Exceptions exist, but as a rule, quartz watches depend on a battery for their main source of power, hence they are simpler in their operation than a mechanical watch. This frees the wearer of regular maintenance.

Solar Technology

Solar Technology is another way to power your watch. Solar watches rely on the energy from the sun to power them, just like those large solar panels you may see on buildings. There are built-in batteries on these watches as a backup, but their main energy source is the rays of the sun. This source of natural energy keeps your watch working for a very long time.


The face is the most important part when you're showing off your watch, but what would that face be without a strap? There are a few types of straps that are used for most watches- carbon fiber, gold, leather, nylon, plastic / rubber, platinum, stainless steel, and titanium. Each comes with its own characteristics, which are explained below.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber watch bands offer a sleek finish, which typically is dark in color (grey or black). These wrist bands provide utmost durability and style.


Gold watch bands are one of the oldest types of watch bands. They are known as the standard for elegance and luxury, which is why they have always been popular.


Leather straps can be used to dress up or dress down. Most of your really expensive watches come with a leather strap. These straps can come in different types of leather-croc skin, alligator skin, etc.


Nylon straps work well for the active person. If you are an outdoors kind of person, having a nylon strap is perfect for you and the environment you are in. If you are around water, leather straps can become warped and crack over time. If you are a rock climber and wear a rubber strap it can easily get cut. The nylon strap is durable and can absorb water easily.

Plastic / Rubber

Plastic / Rubber straps are great because they give you the comfort of a leather strap plus some extra durability. Plastic / Rubber straps are not as durable as metal straps, but they tend to last around 5 year longer than leather straps.


Platinum adds an additional touch of luxury and elegance to any watch. They offer strength, durability, and style that is not often seen with many other materials.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel watch bands are sleek and stylish. Manufacturers use Stainless steel watch bands due to their durability and strength.


Titanium watchbands are sturdy and strong, which makes them perfect for those who live an active lifestyle and want something a bit nicer than rubber/plastic. Titanium watch bands often times have a protective coating that makes them scratch resistant.

Terms To Know

When purchasing a new watch you may come across a term that is unfamiliar. Consult our list of watch terms to find out exactly what you need to know!


The bezel comes in a variety of different shapes and sizes. It is the ring that goes around the crystal face and holds the glass or plastic of the watch face in place. Bezels can typically rotate clockwise and give you the option of what position you would like to set your bezel at. It is mainly used for security for the watch face glass/crystal to ensure the face doesn't move around.

Case Size

Case size has become an important factor in style when buying a watch. Your two main choices when purchasing a watch is a larger face with a more noticeable bezel and crown or the smaller more subtle face and case. Case size is measured in millimeters and typically the circumference of the entire watch face. Case thickness measurements refer to the width between the case back and the top of the crystal face. When evaluating case thickness, the industry defines 6-8 mm as "thin", 8-12 mm as "average", and 14-18 mm as "thick".

Typically, men's watches have a case width or diameter of at least 35 millimeters, and women's watches usually have a case or diameter of less than 34 millimeters. However, watches are now trending towards larger case sizes for both men and women. Case size is essential when purchasing a watch because you want a watch that is going to be the best possible fit for your wrist.


Watch crowns are a necessary and important part of a watch. The most common functions of a watch crown are to allow you to change the time, to change the date, to wind the watch, and to stop the watch (to extend the battery life). There are many types of watch crowns that you can get to replace your watch crown and they have a variety of different features.

Crystal Type

There are 3 main types of crystal glass that is used to cover and protect the watch face. Since it is exposed all the time to all kinds of blows and shocks, the crystal should be as hard as possible. Mineral or K1 is a step up from plastic and it is hardened glass that resists some scratches but not all. The Mohs scale which determines mineral hardness 1-10 gives mineral a rating of 5. Moving on from mineral you have synthetic sapphire which is hardened glass with a sapphire coating to help resist more scratches than mineral crystal would. The most protective mineral glass your watch can have on the face is sapphire crystal which is scratch resistant, very hard glass with a rating of 9 on the Mohs mineral hardness scale. Sapphire crystal delivers the best possible scratch resistant and shatter proof protection for your watch.


A subdial or subsidiary dial is a small dial placed inside the main dial on the watch face. Watches can typically have as many as four of them and they provide information not provided by the main watch dial. They are usually features of multifunction watches such as chronographs, alarm watches, dial-time-zone watches, and calendar watches. Multi-function watches have become extremely popular and subdials can be useful and display different types of time measurements. Subdials provide your watch with a sportier and more high-tech look, which has become fashionable nowadays even though subdials date back to the 17th century. Subdials have become an important factor in the design of a watch.

What Our Customers Say About Us

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  • After shopping at several places, both on-line and in stores, I had decided to order from a local store that advertised a good price, but found out they were out of stock. ABT had the same price, in stock, with free shipping, and the product arrived on time. The packaging was very good too. Highly recommend!
    June 11, 2020 - Ralph B.
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