why are watches so expensive

Why are Watches so Expensive?

by Kevin Tunstall
Updated on

So, why are watches so expensive?

Watch is one of the best accessories out there, especially for men.

A good wristwatch can indeed form a very good impression on those around you. They can indeed be pieces of art if designed well. 

However, when you walk into a store and read the price tag that values one at $5000, you might find it quite shocking. Unreasonable, even.

It is just an accessory after all. Why does it cost more than an entire month’s grocery? It is an obvious question, and we have an answer.

why are watches so expensive?


Caliber is the machinery framework that allows a watch to perform its most basic function i.e. keep time. This divides watches into two sections- quartz or mechanical. 

Quartz watches are the basic watches that are available in the market at usually very cheap prices. Yes, they get the job done but they are also very prone to faults. They are also not known to have a very long life.

Mechanical watches on the other hand work with the help of a tightly wound spring. They are accurate and have a comparatively longer life. These intricately designed pieces are much more costly to produce and hence also cost more.

Most big companies have their own movements and it takes a lot of investments of both money and time to develop and to keep improving it.


The final cost of a watch depends on its raw material to a large extent. Even the basic constituent mechanism of a watch can be made differently, according to the brand and its preferences.

Other than that, the material of which the dial and the straps are made also defines the cost. Luxurious brands often use materials like gold or platinum to make the body of the watch.

Of course, this will cost more than a simple stainless steel watch. Not to mention the several more exclusive pieces that come studded with diamonds. 


Ensuring the quality of your watch is a very important part of the process. With a product as intricate as a wristwatch, quality cannot be compromised.

The main mechanism needs to work properly. Each part has to be of good standards to ensure durability. Many companies even put their products through wear and tear stimulators to ensure that the pieces are not too fragile. 


The labor and input cost varies for every company. For example, if a company is producing its products in China, then its production costs will be low because of the availability of cheap labor.

But it would also have a somewhat lower standard of quality. However, if the same company produces the same item in say, Europe, then it would have to spend more on the same.

And given that most top businesses prefer to manufacture technical products such as watches in Europe or the USA, prices are naturally more.

The means of production also influences price. Big companies tend to hire skilled watchmakers to work on their pieces. Machines have a very small role to play. And since each of these workers has to be sufficiently compensated, the watches cost more.


Watches are often designed for specific purposes. For example, not all watches can operate in and around magnetic fields. Similarly, not all watches can operate underwater.

Watchmaking is a complicated process by itself. Add on top of it these special requirements and the workers are looking at days of extra work.

Not to mention the tests that have to be conducted to ensure that the required functions are being fulfilled. These specially designed pieces naturally cost more than the average watches that are available in the market. 


Latest inventions and technologies consume a lot of money in research as well as in building. It comes as no surprise then that their prices are also increased accordingly. 

This industry has seen a lot of creative new innovations. Whether it’s the digital watch or the now popular smartwatches, this arena is ever-changing.

A lot of cash inflow goes into the research and development departments of these companies. Many of these firms even have their own team of skilled researchers who work day and night to gain an advantage over the competition. 

The Brand

If you want to buy a watch from a company that has its own legacy of skilled watchmakers, then you have to be prepared to pay an overhead for the same.

Big brands are well aware of their worth. They mark their watches at way more than what the actual input costs. They do this because they know what their users are willing to shell out.

Especially with the large number of enthusiastic watch collectors who are willing to pay exorbitant amounts for a classic piece, these brands have no reason to offer their services at reduced rates. 


The customer profile of a business also dictates its prices. If a company targets only elite buyers then it will keep its prices high enough so that anyone other than its target audience finds it difficult to afford its products. This is seen among popular high-end watch companies like Rolex, Cartier, etc. Of course, a company whose creations have graced the hands of popular figures like Barack Obama has no incentive to lower their prices. 

How to Avoid Paying Too Much?

It is a very reasonable concern one might have. No one wants to spend too much on a watch of all things. So how do know where to stop?

First of all, never go beyond your budget. While it may be extremely tempting to buy a premium product impulsively, it is not a wise move. You should buy what you can afford. Spending too much on a luxury product will only leave you with regrets (and possibly debt).

Second, beware of cheap imitations and fakes. Many vendors sell popular, self-declared originals at very low prices. It is important to not fall into these traps. This is why you must conduct proper research before you buy a watch. This particular space has a lot of fakes after all.

You must know that even though it might sound good to have a gold watch, in theory, a watch only needs to serve its primary purpose i.e. tell time. So, avoid spending too much on unnecessary things.

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About the author

Kevin Tunstall

Kevin is a Men's dating and image consultant. He writes about relationships and lifestyle-related topics on Dapperclan. He loves helping men improve themselves and to achieve meaningful relationships.


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