5 Worst Watch Brands to Avoid (And Some Alternatives)

Watches are turning into more of a luxury item nowadays. While they were necessary to tell the time up to 10 years ago, smartphones have replaced them mostly. That’s because of how convenient phones are. You always carry yours with you, and they update time regularly.

It’s one less thing to worry about. Watches have batteries and need regulation now and then. Convenience took over, and watches turned into a fashion statement.

However, there are still some people who like wearing watches despite their infrequent use these days. Mostly because they look cool.

In this article, we are going to see what watches brand to avoid, and why you should stay away from their products. You’ll walk away with knowledge on how to buy a watch that works for you.

The Number 1 Rule of Watch Brands

When shopping for a watch, always follow the golden rule. Never buy from a brand that doesn’t specialize in watches.

Why? There are many fashion brands that buy cheap watches from other companies and rebrand them. This is typical with big names in retail like Michael Kors. They care little about the watches’ quality, they just want the manufacturer to follow their designs.

This results in poorly made watches that can’t handle the pressure. But that still cost you a premium because of the brand name. Their craftsmanship is poor and they’ll break after a few months of use. They also depreciate heavily, something that big name brands like Rolex or Breitling don’t.

This rule applies to all brands, not just Michael Kors. If you’re looking for a good watch for men’s or ladies’ wear, make sure it comes from an actual watch brand that specializes in them first.

Editor’s note: There are some exceptions to the rule. Some fashion brands (eg Louis Vuitton) make decent watches. The issue is that they cost as much as actual luxury watches like Omega, but lose their value way faster.

Types of Watches and How they Influence Prices

There are many types of watches out in the market, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

  • Digital Watch

Digital watches are the most common types of sports and military timepieces. They don’t require maintenance, but they do need batteries now and then to keep them running. For this reason alone, digital watches are not as popular today because you constantly have to change their battery after a few months.

  • Automatic Watch

Automatic watches don’t run on batteries but they need to be worn regularly for many hours a day (at least 6), or at least every other day, in order to keep time accurately. This is because they use the wearer’s movement to generate energy to keep running.

Therefore, you’ll find them mostly with people who have manual jobs instead of digital ones – it works exceptionally well with them.

  • Quartz Watch

Analog watches are the most popular type of watch, and they require little maintenance. They don’t rely on batteries or solar power to keep time accurately. Therefore, you’ll find them in almost every home around the world – analog watches are cheap but reliable.

However, there’s a downside to this too: Analog requires regulation. Every analog watch needs to be regulated when it’s new, and then every few months after that. This ensures the accuracy of time because your wrist movements cause them to go off-track.

Quartz is the most popular type of analog watch. They’re very precise once calibrated, don’t require maintenance, and their batteries are long-lasting.

Quartz watches are the most accurate ones, but they need batteries to keep them running. The battery life is much higher than digital watches, though – you don’t have to change it every few months with quartz timepieces.

  • Mechanical Watch

The most luxurious of the lot, mechanical watches are very popular for their craftsmanship. They’re also extremely accurate, but they too need to be worn regularly in order to keep time accurately.

Mechanical watches come with a few disadvantages as well: First, you have to manually wind them up now and then (usually after 40-60 hours of non-use). Second, they’re usually very expensive because of the hard work that goes into building them.

There are many types of watches but most people wear either analog or digital ones – it really depends on your preferences and style choice for which you should buy one.

The 5 Worst Watch Brands to Avoid

Now that we know the golden rule, let’s see which brands to avoid.

MVMT

MVMT watches are beyond awful. They are actually beyond unsalvageable. You’d be better off buying a toy watch for $5 than one of these. At least it’d look funnier and won’t cost you hundreds of dollars. And it’s likely to last as long.

The good about MVMT watches is definitely their design. They look sleek and modern, and that’s how they lure many people into their trap. You think “that is a very nice watch, isn’t it?” and buy it. Too bad the design is the only thing you’ll enjoy about the watch.

So, what’s under the hood? A cheap Chinese case and a quartz watch. While being quartz is fine, you’d expect something a little more exciting in a brand with such high price tags. And the case’s quality is—as mentioned—extremely cheap.

Swiss Legend

Swiss Legends is a company that makes watches. They come with a host of red flags that should make you stay away from them.

First off, they’re not actually Swiss. They are using the good name of Swiss watchmaking to sell their products. Second, they’re not even close to the quality of an actual Swiss watch brand like Omega or Rolex.

Swiss Legend watches are all quartz and have a very low standard of craftsmanship. They use cheap materials—which might be fine on its own if there was more effort put into them—and have poor build quality. Don’t expect them to last any longer than a few months of light use.

They still charge a fat premium though. You can check for yourself here or here. You’re getting a terrible deal when you buy from them.

Invicta

Invicta is one of these companies you should absolutely avoid. Why? Because they lie about basically everything. And they’re also big thieves.

They steal designs from actual reputable brands like Seiko and Timex. They muddy their distinction by using “Swiss” and “Swiss Made” labels, when the former means the watch hasn’t ever seen Switzerland. They claim their watches have features they don’t have, like diamond accents and natural sandstone dials. They show crazy prices on their website but then sell on Amazon and other outlets for a fraction of the price to make it look like a bargain.

They a parody of the vilest companies you see in movies. Or worse, a sad and accurate representation. Never shop an Invicta watch. Don’t give them more reasons to continue doing their distasteful deception.

Even if you didn’t care about all that, their watches’ quality is—as expected—abysmal. They have poor build quality, low water resistance ratings and cheap materials. Yet, they cost a premium.

Stuhrling

Stuhrling is a Brooklyn-based (even if it claims to be European to pretend they’re making Swiss watches…fat chance) watch brand. It employs the same pricing strategy as Invicta—inflating prices on its websites to make their watches look like a good deal on resellers.

That’s already a massive red flag, but it gets worse. Just like Invicta, it steals iconic designs from other watchmakers. They have their own version of Rolex’s Submariner, the Omega Seamaster, and even Apple Watch.

They offer watches with different movement types, depending on price. You’ll find Quartz, Asian (a convoluted mechanical type of movement that is actually pretty good) and ETA / Sellita movements on its high-end products.

They use cheap materials for most, if not all, models, so don’t expect them to last any longer than a few months of light use. While some models aren’t terrible and make for a gracious gift, there are much better watches in the same price range.

Daniel Wellington

Daniel Wellington makes watches that will break in 2 years…if you’re lucky. That’s the main issue with their watches, but it’s a pretty terrible one. Inexcusable even.

Think about your grandfather’s watches that still work today. Or vintage Rolex dive watches that are still ticking even after 50, 60 years. That’s the quality you should expect from a watch brand.

Daniel Wellington has nothing to do with those brands. Their products use cheap Japanese Quartz movements and materials just like Invicta or Stuhrling.

If you want a classic looking watch that won’t break in the next few years, don’t buy one from this cheap company. They charge premium prices for their products so you can expect them to be of high quality—which they aren’t.

The only thing that they do well is design. They make some very cool-looking watches. As a brand, they are very similar to MVMT. Cool looking watches that break way too soon.

Great Watch Brands Alternatives

If you’re looking to get a gift to your significant other, or just a nice watch to get into the world of watches, check out these brands instead. They’ll cost just as much as the ones on the above list, or sometimes even less. But they use durable materials and treat you like a paying customer, not a cow to milk until your ribs are visible.

Seiko

Seiko’s watches are great. That’s it. Affordable, reliable, durable. They offer everything you’ll ever need for your daily watch-wearing. You can’t go wrong with any of their models.

They manufacture all of their watches’ movements, and their quartz one are still among the best in the industry. Obviously, when talking about relatively cheap products ($200 and less), you can’t expect perfection.

Sometimes, if you’re unlucky, you might run into misalignment of certain parts. Also, there are some horror stories floating around about their customer service. Overall, though, they’re still something to look for if you want a reliable watch.

Fossil

Many watch enthusiasts are grateful for Fossil’s existence, because most enthusiasts get sucked into the watch world with a Fossil. They aren’t too expensive; they look nice and can even be worn with formal attire.

Their watches are designed in Switzerland, but the movements used inside them come from China or Japan…which used to be a euphemism for “junk” in the past. The situation has vastly improved in recent years, with Asian movements becoming incredibly precise.

Plus, their leather straps are definitely great. And so is their customer service.

Their biggest issue is the lack of waterproofing. If you take a shower with a Fossil on, the glass’ inside is going to become foggy. That’s pretty bad, but you know, when that is your product’s biggest issue, you’re doing pretty well, I’d say.

Timex

Timex is an American company known for their affordability and durability. Their watches are cheap, but they’re also pretty durable.

They have a great selection of classic models that you can wear with anything from jeans to suits. And they offer some smartwatches as well which aren’t too expensive either!

Their movements might not be the most precise, but overall, they are pretty reliable. And you can always get them fixed if anything happens to yours.

Conclusions

There are tens of watch brands out there, and many of them offer subpar products. Many others buy cheap watches from manufacturers, slap a label on them, and sell them for a premium. This is typical of big fashion brands like Armani.

If you’re looking for a nice watch that won’t cost you an arm and a leg, but that is still reliable, stay away from the brands in this article. We prepared a list of other brands with comparable prices and much better specs too. This should guide you towards purchasing a watch that actually works and will last you a bit.

One last thing before leaving: don’t disregard Japanese or Chinese made movement systems. These 2 countries upped their craft in recent times, especially China. You can find Chinese watches that will give Swiss ones a run for their money in precision.

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