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A Beginner’s Guide to Fashion Watches

Fashion watches have a bad name amongst enthusiasts, but beginners might not know exactly why. For you, we’re here to explain the ins and outs of fashion watches....

Fashion watches have a bad name amongst enthusiasts, but beginners might not know exactly why. For you, we’re here to explain the ins and outs of fashion watches.

It’s daunting to get into watch collecting for the first time and when you see a deluxe looking watch on The Iconic or something, you might think that might be the place to start. You wouldn’t be wrong but what you might not realise is what you’re actually getting for your money, and it’s not much.

What is a Fashion Watch?

A fashion watches are typically watches from a recognisable brand. Often these watches are produced by fashion brands (hence the name) that typically are known for selling clothes or fashion accessories. These are brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Guess, Hugo Boss, and Emporio Armani.

These aren’t watchmakers, their main aim is to sell cheap timepieces at a highly inflated price. Often these brands outsource a generic shelf model from a factory (often found in China) and then just slap their logo on it.

The Build Quality

These watches aren’t exciting in terms of features or functionality. That’s why the name “fashion watches” is apt, as they aren’t just from fashion brands but function as a fashion accessory rather than a straight up timepiece. I’ve known people who wear fashion watches without the time even being set! I highly doubt you would find an enthusiast doing the same. 

The brands know their audience – the uninitiated. As a result, their quality is lacking. Movements are often just cheap quartz variants made in bulk. The materials are also cheap with cases often made from plastic, aluminium, or average quality steel. As you could expect, the crystal isn’t sapphire either but easily scratched mineral crystal. There’s also little to no water resistance and bad illumination (if it even has it). 

The Marketing Strategy

Don’t be fooled by these brands often aggressive social media marketing strategies. Ever seen an ad for Vincero or MVMT watches? I bet you have. They all claim that their watches are high quality and that their low prices are due to the company’s “cutting out the middleman.” Which here means, selling via an online store rather than traditional brick and mortar stores. But that isn’t exactly true.

Their low prices are more a result of the cheap materials and mass-produced timepiece models they use. It works because the watches are often simple or minimal in design, so the watch works and it looks okay (depending on your taste), it just isn’t put together very well. Some fashion watches don’t even have their hands lining up with the markers on the dial!

Are All Fashion Watches Bad?

The answer is no. Think about this way, if Wrangler made a watch but included sapphire crystal and a stainless-steel case that was well put together and the mark-up price wasn’t huge, that wouldn’t be an issue. The issue with fashion watches is the price for what you actually get which is a cheap watch that you could get for $100 but instead you’ve paid an extra $400 just for the brand name.

Pros of Fashion Watches

  • Experimentation is abundant as these brands aren’t making specialist watches so new buyers can experiment with style at a relatively lower price.
  • Very easy to obtain
  • A decent place to start your collection

Cons of Fashion Watches

  • More often than not, brand names are just stamped onto generic shelf designs
  • Cheap quartz watches with very low specs:
    • Low or no water resistance
    • No sapphire
    • Bad illumination
  • Price could be substantially more than the watch is worth

Speaking of cheap quartz watches, did the Omega x Swatch Moonswatch just change the game


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